intense sadness and jealousy

by Tina

I come from a country where there is almost a "military-style" propaganda as far as breastfeeding goes.

When I was pregnant with my first child, it never occurred to me that I wouldn't be able to breastfeed and I was very determined to do so.

Unfortunately my baby was breech and I had to have an elective caesarian. I was informed by other women who had undergone caesarians that they had experienced difficulty producing milk, but when I queried this I was informed by various medical staff that this wouldn't be the case.

After spending five sleepless nights in hospital and wondering why my baby was screaming after I had had him on the breast for what seemed like hours, I was given a device called a "Lactaid", basically a specimen jar with a tube inserted in the lid which was filled with formula. This was to be inserted into the baby's mouth simultaneously as my nipple and was supposed to encourage greater suckling by fooling the baby into thinking he was getting more milk off of me.

No less than three nurses tried to place the lactaid on me and baby with no success, however I was told to persist. At home, again after several sleepless nights (and I mean absolutely no sleep!) the midwife suggested Blessed Thistle and prescribed Domeperidone after ten days.

All this whilst I was continuing to pump after every feed (including the night ones). After approximately three weeks I was only producing 2mls of milk (and this was at my peak).

My baby was ravenously hungry and had lost so much weight and eventually the midwife finally admitted it wasn't working. We placed him fully on the bottle and my son slept through the night at five weeks old.

With my second son I tried breastfeeding again and once more, after having to have another c-section my milk supply was minimal. After three days he was lethargic and turned jaundiced.

I decided that I would not put myself or baby through this again and didn't delay the formula. In hospital when it became apparent there was no milk I was asked questions such as, "how long did it take for your milk to come on last time?" and "can you feel your breasts getting any fuller?".

I was told by a nurse that if I wanted to feed by son formula I had to ask for it, that the nurse couldn't offer it and even then, in her words "had to sign a piece of paper saying how terrible it is".

I would love to hear from other Mums who have experienced low milk supply after elective caesarians (and indeed I know women who haven't had this problem and were able to breastfeed afterwards).

I still placed my boys on the breast even though they were only getting a teaspoon of milk and indeed even now I find I have trouble letting go.

I feel intense sadness and jealousy when I see mothers exclusively breastfeeding their babies, knowing that for whatever reason I was denied this right.

I also hate reading literature stating that, "only 5% of women can't breastfeed due to low milk supply and this is extremely rare" because this just serves to make me feel more of a failure, more of a freak.

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Feb 13, 2013
Lactation Consultant recommended
by: Shirley

I am so sorry to hear of your disappointing experience and the emotions that you still feel.
I believe that you did the best that you could with the knowledge and support that you had at the time and so you need to forgive yourself, not judge yourself and give yourself time to heal. Your worth as a mother and a person must not rest on your performance.

However, for others reading this, I would urge mothers to get help from an IBLC - an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant at once, if you have any concerns.

...and in those first precious hours and moments, babes MUST be skin-to-skin and feed every 1 and a half hours to get milk supply going. Don't let babies sleep for 3 hours at a time!

Feb 13, 2013
I understand completely
by: Anonymous

I too had a similar experience with both of my girls with hardly any milk supply coming in.

I had this problem and did not have a c-section with either pregnancy. I would put on the breast, pump in between (with after a couple of days I wouldn't have had enough milk to eve give her a bottle of exclusive breast milk.

I stuck with it for my oldest for two months doing this...I saw lactation consultants, took meds to promote the supply, tried mothers milk teak, tried fenu greek, I did everything the doctors and lactation consultants could think of with no rewards.

I understand your sadness and jealousy and then when you hear the stats of only 5% can't produce, it frustrates me that as a mom who really wanted to breastfeed, why was I denied and then there are moms that choose not to, but could, why couldn't they be a part of that 5% instead!!!! Know you are not alone.

Feb 15, 2013
I had low supply trouble too
by: Michelle MOLESWORTH

I also used the lactaid to feed my son after it became clear he was just losing weight with being breastfed.

I did everything to increase my supply, Domperidone, Fenugreek, pumping between feeds. It was difficult to go out - I felt embarrassed to use the Lactaid in public - as though I needed a prosthetic breast to feed my son. I did this for 12 long weeks before moving fully to formula.

I then started trying straight away for baby number two, feeling that I had missed out on a part of motherhood in not being able to feed my first born.

I too feel jealousy at other mums that can breastfeed. I used to feel like a failure but now I look back and am proud of my efforts-much more work than those who can feed easily.

I hope you can look back one day and feel proud of yourself too. I have read everything and made a plan to hope that breastfeeding goes more successfully next time but there are no guarantees.

Now we are having trouble conceiving baby number 2 - trying for a year and a half now. Mothers who can conceive and feed easily don't realize how lucky they are when my journey of motherhood has been filled with lactation and fertility appointments and pain and frustration.

It helps to know that you are not alone. If you want to chat more, please feel free to email me [email protected]

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