As I mentioned earlier, I had my lactation appointment today.
General conclusion: I’m pretty discouraged.
Details: The lactation lady was really sad for me that things are so hard. She couldn’t believe the damage she was seeing and that it simply wouldn’t heal. She was not as positive as she has been in the past, and that makes me feel like hope is dwindling.
I think I have been going to these appointments with the idea that there will be a prescribed checklist of things to do that will solve my problem. I thought it would be pretty scientific and straightforward. But the whole process seems to be more like a “try everything and hope something works” system.
The lactation lady was really serious this time. She was even throwing around more serious underlying problems with my breasts, surgery and $2,000 hospital grade pumps as potential solutions. But we’re not going to get that extreme, because that’s just ridiculous. I have to draw the line somewhere.
But I do I have a million new things to try after today’s appointment… and we’ll see if something sticks. But if this latest list of suggestions doesn’t solve the problem once and for all, I quit. I can’t do this anymore. Trying to figure this out and suffering through the pain is wearing me down and making me miserable. Feeding my baby can’t be miserable. It has been awful and hard for almost a month now, and I can’t take it. But if I do throw in the towel… dammit, no one can tell me I didn’t try. That’s for sure.
That being said, here’s the final list of suggestions.
- Breast rest continues because my left nipple has not healed. So I will be pumping my left breast exclusively for another week (or until it heals) and breastfeeding with my right breast. Supplementing with expressed milk from a bottle as necessary.
- Going back to the prescription “apno” cream after every pumping session instead of the triple antibiotic ointment.
- Applying gel pads at night time (cannot be used at the same time as the “apno”.)
- Setting the pump to the lowest possible setting that will still allow me to get milk out.
- Reducing the number of times I pump each day to 6 instead of 8 in the hopes that this will allow more opportunity for healing to happen.
- Going back to the ENT to get Lewis’ mouth re-checked to make sure his anatomy isn’t the problem.
- Going to a free clinic to get some baby massage/chiropractic care to make sure Lewis’ body isn’t mis-aligned. Apparently this is a common problem in babies who were delivered by vacuum, and it can cause issues with latching to the breast.
- Follow-up appointment in a week with the lactation specialist.
- Chat with pediatrician at our next appointment (which happens to be Thursday)
- If I don’t manage to heal completely by next week, call my OB to discuss the potential for more serious issues with my breasts.
I also asked the lactation lady about how to stop milk production comfortably if I decide I can’t do this anymore. I told her I needed to know what that option would look like so I’d be prepared if that’s what I ended up choosing. So now I know how to do that if I need to.
I’m going to have a decision by this time next week. Either I’ve healed, tried breastfeeding from my left breast again, and everything is working as it should… or I’m quitting. I can’t drag this out and endlessly problem solve forever. Monday at lactation appointment #6 is my deadline.
P.S. All other moms of young kids I’ve talked to have asked me how Lewis is sleeping and have been extremely jealous that he sleeps so well. I don’t want people to be jealous of me. It makes me very uncomfortable and I wish I could tell them to stop being jealous because my life with a newborn is no cake walk either. But everyone is so fixated on sleep that nothing else seems to count.
So I’d just like to say that every new mom has at least one battle that they have to fight… and sleeping is not my battle. They may be jealous of my sleep, but I’m thoroughly jealous of their in-tact nipples.
Also.. thank GOODNESS I don’t have to fight the sleep battle at the same time as I’m fighting the breastfeeding battle. I am not sure I’d be able to juggle both. As my wise mother says, I think we all get the baby we can handle. Mother Nature knew that I could take on the breastfeeding battle, but knew better than to give me more than that.