perfect latch, huge breasts, insufficient millk!

by Lesley
(UK)

for years I told myself "I'll have a breast reduction after I have children and breast feed them" because my breasts are enormous and inconvenient to me - they get in the way, buying bras is almost impossible and expensive.

I'll be very lucky to avoid serious spinal issues in old age because of the weight of them. I had to make my own sleep bra and just pray that when my milk came in my boobies wouldn't expand too much.

well, at the age of 35 I had my son. Despite the first 24 hours of him in the special care unit and me stuck in bed recovering from the caesarian section, when I got him back he had a perfect latch. And 2 hours later, he was still latched. He even slept while still sucking. And screamed if I unlatched him to try to do anything like switch him to the other breast.

And 3 days later, we were still in the same routine - he'd be latched and sucking all day and was still losing weight. Finally a midwife told me to give him formula. I felt like an utter failure. So I latched him for 3/4 of an hour (and the lactation experts in the hospital checked so many times and said "well, he has a perfect latch!" and "keep at it, your milk will increase!"), unlatched him and had a good squeeze & grope (while feeling bovine - moo!) to check... no milk left in there! So he had a formula feed, and went to sleep happily while I cried. Every feed after that was the same - 3/4 of an hour, then a bottle.

He stopped losing weight. We left hospital. I tried breast pumps. I never did get enough for a full feed, despite spending hours and hours each day with pumps attached. I pumped and poured it into his formula feed because some is better than none, right?

I got prejudice from the boobie police on both sides of the breast-feeding debate. If I breast fed him for a little while (usually a small snack to keep him quiet while someone else got a bottle ready for him) then I got tutted at for "being disgusting in public!" and "can't you do THAT in the bathroom?"; whereas if I bottle fed him I got smug breastfeeding advocates making comments like "don't you know breast is best?" and talking about me like bottle feeding also made me deaf, saying things such as "obviously she doesn't love her son enough to breast feed him!"

- totally insensitive, given that for all they knew it could have been expressed breast milk in the bottle, and they didn't know me so had no clue what I was going through with a minimum of 6 hours a day on a pump to get less than 20ml!

I gave up pumping after 3 months, I just couldn't do it any more for less and less milk... when I was down to 5ml in a day it was just time to admit I'd dried up. I decided that time spent being happy and able to interact with others including the baby was more important.

I've since found out that the medication I'm on could theoretically have reduced the amount of milk I am able to produce - but not one of the experts mentioned that at the time. Just "keep trying, your milk will increase!" and letting me feel like an utter (or udder!) failure while my (already tiny) son's weight kept dropping.

I'm pregant again now... and will try again because I know it is best for the baby, but with bottles, pump, and formula standing by because I suspect they'll be needed again.

and yes, the boobie police from both sides have already started trying to tell me how to feed my child who hasn't even been born yet!

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Aug 08, 2012
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You are not alone
by: Anonymous

Thank you for sharing your story. This site is fantastic as I can read stories like yours and not feel so alone.

My son was losing weight too and i breast fed for three months with a tube in the corner of his mouth to top him up with formula. You did amazing to keep going for so long. We too are now trying for our second.

The one thing we have in common is that we both did not feed our babies straight away. The nurse told me he did not need to breast feed as he had just been born.

She said she would take him so i could get a good nights sleep. I now know that feeding in the first hour where possible is important in setting up your supply and feeding often in the first 24-48 hours is important also.

So maybe that will make a difference for you this time if it is any reassurance to you. I would love to know how you go.

If you get time (with two children!) I would be grateful if you could put another post on here reminding us of your struggles last time and how you go this time. I would be even more grateful if you could email me [email protected] so that I can see how you go and we can both not feel so alone as there are not a lot of people in our Situation.

Aug 10, 2012
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by: Lesley

My son was with me for the first 2 hours, then they took him away because his breathing didn't settle. So I did try to feed him but with me flat on my back due to caesarian and these huge breasts.. well it wasn't happening.

Plus the poor little thing was evicted from my womb early (2 weeks according to the hospital, or 4 according to me, and I know very well when he was conceived!) so that may also have had an influence on him - if he hadn't worked out how to suck yet.

I'll update here if I remember (a 2 year old means finding time to do anything is hard!) when I've had the baby.

Another factor is that I did have PCS, which may also mean I make less milk. Though that seems to have settled down in the last few years.

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