My name is Glenna. I live in Toronto, Ontario. I had a breast reduction at 19 years of age; I had my baby when I was 27. My reduction was done in the early 90s, when it was a toss-up as to weather the surgeon would try to keep the milk ducts intact or not. I had a total loss of 5 lbs in the surgery. The week before my baby was born, I began to leak colostrum.
My baby was born weighing 9 lb 12 oz and by day 4 it still seemed like she was losing weight, and not starting to climb back up. From day one I took Fenugreek and Blessed Thistle capsules: 3 caps each, 3 times a day for one month.
I tried feeding her with premixed formula via the supplemental nurser tube, since she wasn't getting enough to eat, but found that to be really hard. One of my midwives lent me her electric double pump. I nursed my baby and then tried to pump. Lots of milk! I pumped for about a week, but never got around to feeding any of the pumped milk to my daughter. So we figured that supply wasn't too much of an issue for me.
What was an issue was her latch. She kept sucking in her lower lip which made it hard for her to get what she needed. I had to learn to make sure her lips were properly flanged by pulling the sucked-in lip out with my finger.
I continued to breastfeed my baby, getting her weighed every couple of days, the bottles and cans of formula never far from my mind. Just in case.
I thought that my breastfeeding days were up, when, around 2-3 months, there just wasn't any milk for my daughter to drink. Out came the supplemental nurser again. But through it all, I kept offering her the breast. One day, about 4 days later, I had plenty of milk. All I can guess is that my body was trying to make enough milk to keep up with Persephone's (my daughter's) growth. Once it kicked in, things were fine again.
I have had a truly blessed experience. I was able to breastfeed Persephone exclusively for 5 months (apart from the two times, totaling about 1-1.5 weeks, when we tube fed), and at 14 months, she is still nursing before she goes to sleep, and when she just wants some special cuddle time with Mom.
As an added bonus, all this nipple stimulation has resulted in sensation coming back to the one nipple that lost it, post surgery.
Success is what you make of it, of course. In my case, I think I re-grew the pathways for the milk. (And this was after a really hard recovery. It took fully 2 months before I could walk, get dressed, open the fridge, etc. on my own again) And I know I would not have persevered had it not been for the fabulous support of my doula and two midwives.
To those reading this prior to giving birth: please surround yourselves with positive people who will encourage you to breastfeed as best as you can, and who will not make you feel the tiniest bit guilty for going with formula when that's what's called for.
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