Adoption, Parenting

The Nursing Saga Continues: Two Steps Forward and One Step Back

February 11, 2015

I got an overwhelming amount of supportive responses from my first nursing blog post and thought it was time for an update.

Sorry again, fellas.

Where did we leave off last time?

Oh yes, things were looking up, as I was making around 11 ounces a day which was much more than when she was a newborn.

I am happy to say that my supply has continued to increase!

What supplements have I maintained or added to help?

  • Domperidone 160 mg/day
  • Moringa 2 tsps twice a day
  • Shatavari twice daily
  • Brewer’s Yeast every few days mixed in with a protein shake
  • Goat’s Rue 3 pills/day
  • Gaia Lactation Blend 3 pills/day
  • Drinking 90-100 ounces of water/day
  • Breast compressions while I nurse
  • Occasional evening power pump session
  • Occasional 5-10 minute pump session after feeding her
  • Offering to nurse every 2-3 hours during the day

It’s gone up by close to an ounce a week and I am currently sitting around 16-17 ounces per day with high hopes of being able to build a full supply of what Miss Josie needs in the next month or two. That’s a HUGE accomplishment and I am so proud of the ladies! Now, itย willย have taken meย 3-4 months to build that full supply and a bio mom can do it in 3-4 days but hey, who’s counting?

In early January we traveled for about a week to the FOCUS SEEK Conference. I was super nervous about how nursing would go at a conference with 10,000 people present. Where would I nurse her? How would I manage the LactAid device underneath the stupid nursing cover? How would we travel with donor milk and keep it frozen?

The stars aligned and believe it or not we had a fantastic nursing experience. The front desk stored our donor milk in a freezer and we just went down to take out a few ounces here and there when we needed it. Josie nursed really well no matter where we were – in our room, at a talk, sitting in a bathroom, at a pub, during mass, you name it we nursed there.

Amazingly, a majority of the time I didn’t even use the LactAid. I saved those feeds for the evening when we were in the convenience of our hotel room. So that means Josie nursed with MY supply only for most of the day! And she was content and happy! And even gained weight! WAHOO! ๐Ÿ™‚

I couldn’t have been happier with how things were going.

And then when we got home…we had her upper lip tie and tongue ties evaluated by a Pediatric Dentist. He recommended getting them lasered for Josie’s sake – speech, feeding, and oral development are all things that could be compromised by these ties. He said it would also help our nursing issues like my nipple vasospasms and her weak suck.

One week later we had the ties lasered and all hell broke loose.

It was literally torture to watch them hold her down and laser the ties, even though I knew she was numbed up. Josie is just not a gal who likes anyone prying into her mouth and despite being a very laid back baby most of the time, she has STRONG likes and dislikes. I am nearly certain she is partly choleric and prodding in her mouth is a strong dislike. She screamed while they did the ties…so hard that her little head was sweating when I was allowed to pick her back up. She instantly soothed in my arms and I was so glad we were able to be there in the room to comfort her.

We were told she’d be in pain for maybe a day and to just give a little Tylenol.

Yea right.

It was obvious Josie was in a LOT of pain despite Tylenol around the clock. She went on a nursing strike and was refusing to latch again due to the pain. I was back to pumping and using the LactAid 100% of the time, bottle, or syringe to feed her depending on what she would accept at the time. It was truly exhausting.

We also had to stretch the tongue and lip out every 3-4 hours a day for 10 days….which she did NOT like in the slightest. I felt horrible doing it since she screamed through most feedings and then screamed through the stretches too. It was obvious to me at 5 days post procedure that something wasn’t right.

We went back to the dentist and he said her tissues looked inflamed so he had to do Bio-Stimulation laser therapy to help speed along the healing process. Finally things started going better. She was latching again and each time I could tell her suck was getting stronger as she learned new freedoms with her now mobile tongue and lip.

Just as things with her latch began to really take off in a positive direction, all of a sudden she was stricken with extreme gas pains. It wasn’t just usual infant gas. She would pass gas normally during the day. These were like attacks. They would happy around feeding time in the evening and she could’t stop screaming until we helped her pump the gas out using the bicycle leg tactic. This usually took 5-10 minutes and then she’d be able to eat.

Then we started noticing mucous in her stool. AGH!

After researching a variety of things, we think she may have a dairy allergy. So I’ve been cutting dairy out of my diet and from the house. Thankfully we have quite of bit of dairy free donor milk to use while we experiment with this. So far her gas attacks seem to have subsided completely minus the middle of the night gas attack after I ate of bowl of ice cream last week. Whoops! It only confirmed my suspicions even further.

With the nursing strike, nipple pain, suck issues, and allergies behind us…nursing began going REALLY well again. We’re in a groove where my supply is building yet again and Josie’s gaining weight. We still supplement a few feeds a day but a majority of the time she nurses just with my supply and I love those times the most! ๐Ÿ™‚

Now…we peeked in her mouth the other day to check on her healing and it appears as if her ties reattached. ๐Ÿ™

I am literally infuriated as the dentist told me this only happens 1-2% of the time. We go in Thursday February 12th to check and possibly have them re-lasered. I am pretty much against getting it redone since I CAN’T do another 2 weeks of pain, screaming, and nursing strikes. We JUST overcame all of that.

But I also want her to be healed. Being a mom is so hard in these situations where you are weighing choices like this!

So if you can join us in prayer along with Our Lady of La Leche before noon on Thursday (MST) I would MUCH appreciate it. We need wisdom as we are clueless as to what our decision will be on Thursday if the doctor says we ought to re-laser.

Thanks again for everyone’s encouragement and support! We’ve encountered and conquered a LOT of nursing issues in a short 3 months but I am still glad we pursued this journey. I am confident that one day…I will get to write a third post about our nursing relationship and it will be one of redemption and victory!

la leche

Our Lady of La Leche, pray for us.

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  • Reply Joanna February 11, 2015 at 4:49 pm

    You have my prayers!

  • Reply Lauren February 11, 2015 at 6:41 pm

    You have my prayers too! That is crazy, it’s like anything that can go wrong has! Not to be a downer because I am sure you know that. God must know you’re superwoman ๐Ÿ˜€

    • Reply Amanda February 12, 2015 at 9:45 am

      LOL Or God knows I need some serious refining!

  • Reply Becky February 11, 2015 at 7:58 pm

    FWIW, not all biomoms are able to make enough milk or make it quickly. I never made more than 12 oz/day for baby #1. I was being over-treated for a thyroid condition but didn’t get put on the correct (non-pregnant) dosage until it was too late to build a good supply the natural way, and he always preferred the bottle, so … yeah. He also had the cow’s milk protein allergy, so I went dairy-free for him and had to buy the crazy expensive Nutramigen formula to supplement. (He outgrew the milk allergy at around the age of 1, so hopefully, Josie will too–most kids do outgrow it.) Baby #2, contrastingly, refused to take a bottle from the get-go but I didn’t make enough milk for her until she was 6-8 weeks old (and it took a scrip for domperidone and lots of fenugreek to get there). You have been through the wringer, but I hope it’s helpful to know that adoptive moms aren’t the only ones who have trouble making enough milk. Best of luck with the tie issues!

    • Reply Amanda February 12, 2015 at 9:48 am

      Becky – just curious, what thyroid med were you on? I’ve been on synthroid but am weaning off it and unsure how it might impact my supply. And yes, I hope she does outgrow it at some point! ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for letting me know I am not alone in fighting the supply battle and that it’s not only because I am doing induced lactation!

  • Reply Megan February 11, 2015 at 9:12 pm

    I love Our Lady of le leche and have a candle specifically under that name, with that image on it that I will light for you and Josie first thing in the morning. You are doing an amazing job! So impressed!

    • Reply Amanda February 12, 2015 at 9:49 am

      Thank you Megan! I really appreciate your prayers to Our Lady for us!

    • Reply Becky February 12, 2015 at 1:10 pm

      I take synthroid. The nurse practitioner I saw in the late stages of my pregnancy told me, erroneously, that I should continue to take the pregnancy dose (which had gone up to 3x my usual dose) after the baby was born. My first follow-up appointment was with a different endocrinologist, and she was like … no, you should have gone down to your pre-pregnancy dose as soon as the baby was born. My understanding is that either too much or too little can negatively impact your supply–I wouldn’t wean off of it unless your thyroid condition has self-corrected a bit. I’ve actually heard more stories of women having not enough milk because they didn’t know they had hypothyroidism than I’ve heard of women being over-treated like I was.

  • Reply A walk in Faith February 19, 2015 at 4:42 pm

    Hi Amanda!
    I’m a hopeful adoptive mama myself and am really wanting to induce lactation. Did you follow any specific guide or program of medications/supplements? Did you find any organization that was especially good about working with mothers who induce lactation? I’ve done a fair amount of research but I feel like there are a number of different ways of going about it and I’m feeling pretty overwhelmed with it all.
    Thanks so much, God Bless!! ๐Ÿ™‚

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