Premature birth and no milk
I am glad to find this site, I am feeling very depressed and alone. My baby came 10 weeks early- it was very sudden and stressful and my inability to breastfeed has been a constant source of pain for me.
When I went into labor, I had not yet produced milk but wasn't worried since it was so early in the pregnancy. I had always planned to breastfeed and since he was premature he REALLY needed the antibodies. In addition, the hospital told me that it "was the only thing I could do for him" so I was very determined.
My water broke without warning and I had an emergency c section after a few days of anti contraction medication. I had complications and lost a lot of blood. The baby was also in critical condition and was taken right to the NICU and I could not see him right away. I was, however, given no medication for the pain so that I could pump and was placed on a three hour pumping scheduled with a hospital grade pump.
After one week my milk still had not come in. I got a few drops occasionally and tried to give all of them to the NICU although several nurses ridiculed me that there "was nothing there to give."
I saw several lactation consultants who all told me that if I "really wanted to breastfeed" it would come. They tried to hand express, but could not get any milk. My breasts did not enlarge or become sore at any point. In fact they shrunk a few days after the c-section to their per-pregnancy size.
Still, I refused to accept that I had no milk- I pumped every 2-3 hours and at the most got a couple of drops in the nipple cups. I was then told to sleep more and relax... Being sick (I stayed in the hospital myself for a month with complications) and having a very ill baby in the NICU (that I tried to stay with around the clock) made relaxing difficult but I tried everything I could- pumping longer, pumping more often, teas, and several herbal remedies.
I had my hormones tested and my thyroid levels checked and met with several lcs. The baby couldn't suckle due to his early birth but I held him on my chest and pumped either by his side or next to his picture.
It was then thought I may have retained some placenta so that was taken care of, despite the fact that I was told that the amount of placenta that could be in there was not enough to stop milk production.
I was then told my milk would come in once I came home with the baby and "relaxed." Once the baby was home, I would "nurse" him at my empty breast, feed him a bottle of formula and then pump (with a hospital grade pump) with the goal of making enough for 1/2 to one feed a day. I did this for 2 months and never got more than 5 ccs a pumping session. My son started getting frustrated and no longer tried to nurse- instead he would scream when placed at the empty breast.
During this time, his pediatrician told me that he "really needed breast milk," that "all mothers can breastfeed" and "if I really loved my child I would find a way."
I was devastated. In order to try to increase my production I took to pumping any time I could for as long as I could. This did nothing to boost my production, but did give me a severe infection. I let the pain go on too long without seeking help because I had false hope that the severe pain was my milk coming in at last. When I cut back on pumping session to address this issue, my milk disappeared entirely.
I am now forced to confront the fact that I will never breastfeed this child who so needs it. It does not help that strangers have lectured me on my "laziness" in stores where I have spotted purchasing formula. Nor does the well meaning advice of friends who tell me that there is no such thing as "low supply" and that there is no excuse for not breast feeding since "in reality everyone's milk comes in."
Thank you for this site- this is the one place I found that didn't tell me this inability was "my fault."