I’m happy to report we are back to full time breastfeeding! I’m not exclusive because she is now eating cereal and baby food (she’s about 1 week shy of 6 months and a robust eater) but no more formula. I was a little concerned in the last post (Day 7 Post-op) that we wouldn’t be able to get rid of the formula but my milk increased at day 10 enough that I was leaking and had to start using the breast pads. I never knew I would be so happy to start using those pads again!!
I wanted to take a minute and write the whole journey in one post so everything breastfeeding is here for anyone else who wants to see how it went for me:
My daughter has been exclusively breastfeed from the time she was born till the day I left for surgery in Mexico on 5/11/16. I had a robust milk supply so I pumped and froze enough breast milk that she would be fed that while I was gone for a week. I planned, and succeeded, in pumping and dumping all the breast milk while I was gone to keep my supply from drying up. I had to dump because there was no way to transport the milk home from Mexico or freeze it and ship it. The pumping and dumping was emotionally hard because it seemed such a waste and was more than a little sad. However, it wasn’t physically hard or painful. There was only one day I got engorged and that was the morning after surgery and with everything else going on I just didn’t realize I hadn’t pumped and dumped for over 12 hours! When I took my first shower post-op was when I realized how engorged I was, which was then quickly remedied.
My milk did dwindle right after surgery. I was pumping only 4 oz. total by time I came home, where as before I left I could easily get 8-9 oz. at each pumping. I think the slow down came from several different things but primarily I think it was because of the pumping as opposed to the suckling of breastfeeding. Those are vastly different means of extracting the milk and the body realizes one is not the same as the other. The slow down is also an effect of the trauma of the surgery. I DON’T believe the slow down is cause by the lack of calories or fluids. Bearing in mind that the hospital pumps you full of enough IV fluids that you actually gain 10-15 lbs while you are in there!
After I came home I was a little disappointed that the milk supply didn’t come right back up and I had to learn a little patience with my body. In fact, the supply seemed to dwindle a little more right after I got home till I thought I might have been drying up. For the first couple days home I had to breast feed and then give my daughter 4 oz. of formula so she wasn’t hungry. I did feed her on demand but only gave her formula if she appeared hungry after feeding. As my milk started to increase slowly we cut out the formula during the day but we continued to supplement with cereal and formula for a night meal.
Very happy, as I said above, to now have moved past the formula and onto a breast milk, cereal, and baby food diet again! This was my experience and others may be different but I think patience and perseverance really made it work..
Love and God’s blessings,