Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The never ending adventures of a breastfeeding mother...

On Monday, I started feeling some pain in my left breast. It was sore. I remembered that over the weekend, Exton had seemed to be latching on much harder than usual. At the time I didn't really think about it much but on Monday, I realized he was probably doing this because I might have a plugged duct, and he wasn't getting as much milk as he's used to getting.
Plugged duct! Doesn't that sound like an issue you'd have in your bathroom? And not, um, your breast?
Then, while I was pumping at work, I noticed that I wasn't getting anywhere near as much milk from that breast as I normally do. This isn't the one that had the abscess; my left breast has always done twice as well as the other one. And now I'm only getting about an ounce of milk per session, which is really poor production (I usually get 3-4 ounces from the left side, and 1-2 on the right. Sometimes more on the right, never less on the left).
This comes on the heels of a conversation I had with Exton's daycare teacher, who suggested that we start sending more milk. I currently send him to daycare with five 4 ounce bottles. He almost never drinks the fifth one. But she thinks that he's still hungry (so give him the fifth bottle! But like I said, they never do). So on Thursday, I sent a couple of 5 ounce bottles, and three 4 ounce bottles. He didn't touch the fifth (4 ounce) bottle again. So I'm a little confused. He only got 2 extra ounces of milk that day. Then on Monday, Patrick tried the 5 ounce bottles and said that getting that extra ounce in him took awhile. I don't think he needs more milk. Also, the daycare thinks he's ready for solids, but I totally disagree. For one thing, I've been reading that he needs to be sitting up mostly unassisted. He's not. He's trying, he's getting there, but he's not sitting up yet.

On her advice, though, I let Patrick give it a try while I was at work. He made Ex a teaspoon of rice cereal, mixed with an ounce of breastmilk, and let him taste it. He didn't seem to have any trouble swallowing (it was very, very watery) but boy he did not like the taste.

So in addition to trying to wrap my head around the idea that I now need to produce 20 ounces of milk a day (seriously, that's just not possible, not even on good days), the idea that we need to start solids is freaking me out a little.

Monday night I was still feeling sore, so when I went home, I used heat on my breast and that relieved some of the soreness. I stayed home with Patrick and Ex yesterday and continued the heat while nursing, and now I feel fine. But my supply is still low. I read this on
Plugged duct

Milk supply and pumping output from the affected breast may decrease temporarily. This is normal and extra nursing/pumping generally get things back to normal within a short time.

Occasionally a mom may express "strings" or grains of thickened milk or fatty-looking milk.

After a plugged duct or mastitis has resolved, it is common for the area to remain reddened or have a bruised feeling for a week or so afterwards.
and, I feel a little better about it, knowing that a decrease in production is normal, but I hate seeing a decrease. It really bothers me. It reminds me of the time period leading up to my abscess getting infected, and I hated that! I was just so miserable then.

I was emailing with a friend of mine who has a lot of experience/knowledge about breastfeeding, and she had good information for dealing with the duct. It feels so good to have people to talk to about this stuff! Being home with Exton all day yesterday really helped. I kept thanking him for "helping to make mommy feel better." The soreness was painful! Today I'm back at work, and I plan on pumping every two hours. It's harder to do; even my incredibly generous and understanding boss starts looking for me sometimes, but I need to take care of this.
I emailed Ex's pediatrician yesterday, and she confirmed that 16 ounces of breastmilk during the time he's in daycare is an adequate amount (actually, she said that I could send whatever amount of milk that I can pump easily; 16 ounces used to be easy!). She reminded me that when he starts solids, the amount of breastmilk he needs will decrease, but she also said that I could wait a couple of weeks.
I know what my issue is with solids, though, and I know why I'm dragging my feet. I'll probably write more about it when I get it figured out. I'm working it out in my head first, and I need a little time... and I want to get this production thing back to where it used to be. One issue at a time!

A note about it's an awesome website put together by a lactation consultant. It has answered all my questions (and I have many). I think I visit the site daily. I feel so good about this site that today I ordered a t-shirt to support it.

If you are or you know a breastfeeding mom who doesn't already know about kellymom, please check it out. There is so much good information there, and it's a wonderful resource. Especially during those 3 a.m. feedings when you wonder if you're doing something wrong.

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