Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Breastfeeding 101

Is there a class somewhere that I should have taken? Oh, was that part of those birthing classes that I opted to skip out on since I've already been there and done that? Oops! My bad!

Anyway, I guess that I didn't figure that I needed all of that since I wasn't originally planning on breastfeeding at all...but I had to learn REAL quick what this stuff was all about. And I thought that I was doing good, things were going well, and he was gaining weight. Plenty of weight apparently since almost everyone that sees him makes a comment about what a "big boy" he is...I try not to take umbrage, but it takes a LOT of self-control!

So imagine my surprise when after 4 weeks go by and I publicly congratulate myself on this blog at how well things were going, that I must have jinxed myself. Because sure as shit, this week the shit really hit the fan.

Like I said, things were going well and then all of a sudden he started having problems when feeding. He would fuss and pull off repeatedly at every single feeding. He was also coughing/choking during the feedings. And don't get me started on the spit up. Oh, all the spit up. I was really confused for a couple of days, trying to sort through it all...but being too busy with back to school schedules to put much thought into it.

When I finally caught up on things (sleep, mainly) I realized that this behavior probably wasn't normal. I don't have too many friends that actually breastfed, and barely any family members to turn to, and then it hit me like a ton of bricks...I could call AW! She breastfed all three of her kids, and is on old college friend of mine. I don't know why it took me so long to make 2 and 2 equal 4, I mean, I just saw her a few weeks ago when she and her family came to town and we all had lunch one day. We had several conversations during that lunch about breastfeeding, but still it took me a little long to make the I said, lack of sleep around here lately!

I quickly called her at work to see if she could give me any advice. You see, I was under the impression that one of the advantages of breastfeeding was the lack of spit up involved with feedings. Turns out that I was just mistaken or just misinformed. AW was able to tell me that one of her boys had major spit up problems during his first year and she was able to offer me several tips/advice to try to see if they helped.

The main thing that she advised me to do was to start a feeding journal. To record details of each feeding so that I could try to take notice of any patterns. She suggested this to me, as with lack of sleep she recalls that details get lost in the mix, and she also said that if I ended up consulting a doctor about the problem then I would have the journal for them to notice things that I wasn't seeing. Her other suggestions were more common sense - feed him in a more upright position, burp in the middle of each side - not just in between sides, and stocking up on burp rags! Just kidding, I threw that last one in.

Following her suggestions, I started the journal today. And already it's helped me...I could clearly see that he's mainly having troubles on the feedings when I start with my left side. The feedings that I start with my right side seem to go easier, with less fussing and spit up. But since there was still spit up happening, I did what most people urge you NOT to do...I googled "breastfeeding spitting up" and found a whole world of information.

After reading through several websites and Q&A posts, I found a link that I thought really hit home. And as things like this often happen, that link led to another link, which led to another link. And I finally read something that sounded very familiar. It turns out that some of the other "symptoms" that Jax was having I hadn't even really tied to the spitting up problem and they might all be related. The choking, gasping and fussiness during feedings? Yeah, they can go right along with spitting up if the cause of the spit up is overproduction of milk.

Overproduction of milk? Come again? You mean that making too much milk is a bad thing? Apparently so...

Now that I've read more about this subject, I really think that this could be some of our problems. I tried some of the suggestions on dealing with this to help the feedings easier on your baby at our last feeding and surprisingly enough, it went MUCH more smoothly...with NO spit up at the end. I'll keep you all informed as the days go by, letting you know what works, more about what can cause overproduction of milk, and how we're dealing with things.

Anyone else out there having/have had problems with too much breast milk? I'd love to hear about your experience and what you did to fix the problem - both for yourself and your little one...thanks!

1 comment:

AmandaW said...

Woo hoo! Sounds like you are making progress! I know lots of people who produced too much milk, or it came out to quickly and their babies had the same issues. Sorry I didn't think about that sooner!