One of the many things that make Breastfeeding a challenge is the fact that you really have no idea how much your child is actually eating. Your only gauge that things are going well are by checking the diaper out put and to see if your baby is gaining weight. This can be rather frustrating, and although I thought my guy was doing well in the eating department…some new behaviors left me wondering if my milk supply was depleting. Was I providing enough sustenance for my baby?
Breastfeeding had been going very well thus far. He ate every 2-4 hours. I think my boy is a boredom eater because when we sit around home doing nothing he eats sooner than when we are busy or have guests. But even with out a very good schedule, he was eating well. He would eat for about 10-15 minutes on each side and end up satisfied. Great right? Right! That is until recently when he decided to start some new behaviors.
First, came the fighting on the right breast. He would constantly fight it, and pull off, and go back on. That side became a struggle. Why? Was there enough milk there? I started to worry? The left side was fine, which made me feel at least he was eating something, but in the back of my head I began to worry about my supply.
Soon after that came the marathon feeding sessions. Not all the time, but for some feedings he’d eat for 45 minutes to an hour. Yes, this is normal for some mothers, but for me I was used to 30 minutes at the longest. So the new feeding schedule threw me off. Why did he need to feed for so long. He’d pull off the breast and fight me to go back on. I was switching from left to right, to left to right! I started to get very frustrated. This is when I really started to worry. Another growth spurt? Was I starving my child? If he needed to eat that long my thought was that he wasn’t getting enough!
I then began to pump after every feeding. I was told that this would help to build my supply. But my question is what did women do before pumps? Shouldn’t we just believe that our bodies will do what they are supposed to? I knew that in my head, but I still was worried. The next thing I did was buy some “Mother’s Milk Tea” . It actually didn’t taste too bad. I didn’t stick with this because I started to see that it might have been affecting Christian’s belly. The pumping was my only defense against what could be a depleting supply, but it was becoming exhausting. But it’s not about me anymore right? So I continued.
At Christian’s well visit I asked the doctor what could be going on. She told me he was gaining weight nicely so she wasn’t concerned. She said the fighting could be from over stimulation while feeding. To be honest I do feed with the TV on. My supply? She told me that since I was getting milk still after feeding by pumping that it seemed to be good. She reminded me that the human body will do what it’s supposed to. It’s good to be reminded. Basically, I was told to just go with it.
Being a milk machine is definitely a challenge. A rewarding challenge but one all the same. Is my milk supply really depleting? Who knows. For now was just continue doing what we are doing. Hopefully, the marathon feedings, and the fighting of the breast are just a phase. Fingers crossed!
Update: I wrote this post about a week ago, and since then things have been going so much better. He is back to his normal feeding schedule (although he still fights the right side), and seems to be doing ok. Maybe just a growth spurt? Who knows. I guess this baby will keep me guessing for the rest of my days. Such is motherhood right?