this has broken my heart...hypoplastic breasts
by Erin Allbright
I had my first child when I was 20, and I thought breast feeding was kind of gross, to be honest.
I never even considered anything other than using formula. No one in my family had ever breastfed, and I even remember my grandmother talking about how she thought breastfeeding was unnecessary because formula was available, and babies did just fine on it.
So, I fed my daughter formula, and washed bottles, and paid for expensive formula, and lugged around all the needed bottle feeding supplies, and never thought twice about it. 3 years later my son was born, and I was older and less effected by what my family thought, so I researched breastfeeding, and decided that I wanted to try it.
I remember the first time Benjamin nursed, and how much of a connection I felt with him. I loved everything about breastfeeding. It was convenient, it was good for me and my baby, and I felt like I was more of a woman, more of a mom.
Being new at breast feeding, and because I'd never been around anyone who breastfed, I didn't know what I was doing. When I took Benjamin in for a checkup at 5 days old, he'd lost 15% of his weight. He was dehydrated, had jaundice, and had to go back in the hospital.
A nurse brought me a breast pump so I could pump while Ben was under the lights for his jaundice. I used a hospital grade pump for an hour, and didn't get enough milk to cover the bottom of the bottle. I realized that I had been starving my baby. I felt so much guilt. Benjamin began receiving formula, and I gave up on breast feeding. 5 years later I found out that I was going to have another baby.
This time I educated myself. I read everything I could about breast feeding, I bought an expensive pump, I stocked up on herbs and vitamins that were supposed to help with milk production, and I told my family that regardless of their opinions on the topic, this was my baby and my body, and I was going to do what I felt was best.
I was going to breastfeed my baby this time, I knew it.....I was diagnosed with Hypoplastic Breast 3 days ago.
My son was 5 days old, and I just knew that breast feeding was going to work for me this time. When I took Jackson to the doctor and discovered he'd lost over 10% of his original birth weight, I was shocked. Then the lactation consultant had me breastfeed him, and then re-weighed him. After 15 min of feeding, he'd only taken in 8 cc.
She then examined my breasts and told me that I had Hypoplastic breast, which basically means that I don't have enough breast tissue. I sat their for a minute and listened to what she was saying and then realized I was sobbing.
My grandmother was with me at the appointment, and I thought I was about to hear "I told you so", but she began to cry, and explain to the lactation specialist that I had tried so hard, and that it was so important to me.
I then started thinking about my older son. When I was breastfeeding him, and he became ill due to low milk supply, my friends and family (myself included) joked and said that my breasts were too small and that I was starving him. Realizing that this was somewhat true all along was heartbreaking and embarrassing.
I had tried so hard this time to make breastfeeding work. I'd read every article, I'd bought supplements and a pump, I would let my new baby nurse for ridiculous amounts of time, thinking that maybe it was a problem with the transfer of the milk rather than the supply, and he needed a little more time.
I also wondered why no one had ever mentioned this to me before now. Why hadn't someone said something when Benjamin was so sick? At least I would have known what to do when Jackson got here and wouldn't be going through this again.
I've been supplementing for a day and a half now, and I break down and cry every time I give him a bottle. I continue to pump and let him nurse, but its just not enough to keep him healthy and full.
I never thought I'd be this upset about not being a success when it came to breastfeeding, but this has just broken my heart.
I feel like I'm less of a mom, but I know its not my fault, and that I really did try so hard. I am considering using donor milk, but want to research that more. I just want him to get the best start at life that I can.