Browsing Tag

lactation

Adoption, Parenting

Winding Down Our Nursing Journey

February 3, 2016

Many of you have followed our volatile nursing journey this past year.

We’ve had the highest highs and the lowest lows.

From battling tongue/lip ties in the beginning to multiple nursing strikes and plugged ducts, we’ve nearly seen it all. Through lots of encouragement and medical help, we overcame all our challenges and nursing has been smooth sailing ever since.

Minus that week-long biting episode when she was teething! OUCH!

My little Josephine started out at a wee 7 pound 9 ounces and has grown to a whopping 23 pounds at a year!

But we’re winding (very slowly) things down in our breastfeeding relationship and I want to document that process here for the benefit of others (especially those taking Dom!)

The primary way I induced lactation was by taking a medication called Domperidone, a medication typically prescribed for nausea and vomitting. It elevates prolactin levels, which is the hormone that drives lactation.

I started taking this medication in September 2014 and weaned off of it November 2015, with the hopes of getting my cycle back by January 2016 so we could begin fertility testing and treatment once again. I honestly thought I was going to drop the Dom and my milk would dry up within a few days and that would be the end of it.

Josie caught a cold the week I weaned off Dom and her little nose was crazy stuffed up. This made nursing difficult in general so it wasn’t a shock to me that she began to protest breastfeeding. She would make the sign for “milk” and then I would offer and she would just freak out. Like throw herself onto the floor and roll around while screaming and continuing to make the “milk” sign type of tantrum.

It was ugly.

I thought it must be due to my decreasing supply and I was feeling  very anxious because I didn’t like how our nursing journey was ending. I pumped here and there for comfort and offered every type of milk you can think of in a bottle and sippy cup, all to end up being rejected. I made sure she drank tons of water and had slightly larger meals during the day to make up for the missing calories.

A week later the cold disappeared, Miss Jo signed for milk, I offered and she nursed like nothing had changed. Whew!

I’ve since reduced breastfeeding to 4 times a day, down from 10+ times per day which is very freeing. I need to convince her that she doesn’t need to nurse in the middle of the night anymore but she’s so dang stubborn I haven’t had the energy required!!!

My period returned the first week of January and leading up to it I felt the same old Luetenized Unruptured Follicle (LUF) pain that is my main cause of infertility. So that is back in full throttle, of course. Ugh.

From here on out I plan to keep nursing as long as Jo is interested or until I have to get back on fertility medications that aren’t compatible with breastfeeding. I am more at peace about our journey ending, whenever that day comes. We’ve made it 15 months so far and it’s been one of my greatest accomplishments ever. I will keep treasuring the days we have left!

Thank you to all of you who offered us encouragement! You were my cheerleaders in a difficult time and I will never forget it!

Adoption, Parenting

How and Why I Induced Lactation

December 17, 2014

I’ve lost all our male readers already.

It’s just me and you, ladies….so let’s talk lactation.

First things first. Did you know that women who have NOT given birth can still breastfeed their babies?

Amazing, right?

Well once you understand the physiology of breastfeeding and that it’s triggered by prolactin levels (controlled by the pituitary gland in the brain) it makes sense that a non-pregnant woman can lactate granted she elevates her prolactin.

You may be thinking…but don’t high prolactin levels decrease fertility?

Why yes, indeed it does….so why would this old infertile gal decrease her fertility even further?

That’s something we had to think through. I don’t really have great fertility to start with but to shut my cycle off completely? That was a scary thought at first as I couldn’t imagine not actively trying to get pregnant.

But then I realized I needed a break from my fertility treatment rigmarole.

BIGTIME!

This summer was brutal on my body, mind, and soul. I was finally ovulating but not conceiving. It was rough to see my body ovulate month after month on ultrasound only to yet again not get pregnant. This is due to the fact that my ovaries and insides are likely caked in scar tissue and adhesions. So even though I can “ovulate” it’s not really a good chance I would conceive anyhow.

Knowing this and that it will require physical therapy and/or surgery to remove the adhesions, Jonathan and I decided it was just time for a break. We’ve had spent well over 2.5 years doing crazy intense protocols month after month trying to conceive and it was all panning out fruitless. Suddenly shutting my cycle off so I couldn’t think about conceiving was a welcome idea.

A sanity vacation if you will.

That’s when the research began.

I’ve always known that breast milk is best for babies but I wasn’t afraid of formula per say. I mostly pursued adoptive breastfeeding for the bonding and emotional benefits. I wanted all that skin to skin contact. I wanted to build a nursing relationship with our daughter that no one else would be able to provide her. But the fact that she would be healthier and filled with antibodies via breast milk was a huge additional bonus.

So I got on Facebook and joined an adoptive breastfeeding group. They’ve been and continue to be a HUGE place of support and content for me. It’s where I received guidance and wisdom on how to begin lactation induction. Which brings me to the point of this entire post! 🙂

Below is how I induced lactation:

The above methods were an accelerated and modified version of the Newman-Goldfarb Method for induction. Some women do more, some women do less but the above protocol had me making 8 ounces of milk per day by the end of 7 weeks of pumping and taking the medications/herbs.

All women are different but I was told by my adoptive breastfeeding group that the amount I made was ahead of the usual…which was really exciting to hear!

Many women making that amount of milk at least took some form of birth control pill to prepare their breast tissue for lactation. I didn’t do any of that. I had two months to prepare but I wanted a shot at exclusively breastfeeding Josephine.  By the time she was born, I knew I had quite a ways to go since she would soon need at least double what I was making.

But that is another post 🙂

Stay tuned for next time when I talk about how nursing Josie has been going.

Milk bottles photo in title image by cinderellasg. (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)