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I am 33 years old and have recently had my third child. I feel compelled to write my story- I feel as though I know so much about what you all are going through because of my range of experiences with BFAR with my three.

I had my reduction when I was 20. Like Aimee, I knew I wanted to breastfeed, but living with my breasts was so miserable, I was willing to risk it. My mother is a lactation consultant, so I felt like I had a leg up with resources, etc. As I now know, there is such minimal knowledge in the medical community that she was not able to get me much info. I want to stress how critical it is to find a pediatrician, like Aimee's, who is supportive and understands the nature of BFAR. Most are incredibly quick to panic and insist you supplement.

With my first child (1998) I had no problems with latch-on, etc., but she dropped more than 10% of her birth weight and didn't have enough wet diapers. I pumped like a fiend and was up most of the night nursing and pumping. I was a stressed, worried mess. I know many of you can identify with that! It was a miserable feeling to want to, but not be able to, give my child what she needed. I was torn between giving her what I had grown to feel was a sign of my failure (formula) and fear of starving her. By month three I knew that I was only giving her a trickle and stopped all together. I think the stress I felt was the worst part of my whole experience- and it certainly didn't help with my milk supply.

While I was pregnant with my second child I discovered the BFAR web site. I remember finding it and hooting and hollering with joy. Finally some women who understood my frustrations and experiences!! I learned about reglan and was able to get a prescription. I had better luck with Sean (2000), but still saw the weight loss and lack of diapers early on. I used a SNS and from the first week was giving him about 1/2 formula and 1/2 breast milk. Pumping did not give me much and I gave up on it after 2 weeks. I had stressful visits to the pediatricians office almost daily for weight check ins. Reglan seemed to help significantly, as I did have considerably better luck than I did with my daughter. I continued to nurse, then bottle him for the first year. I nursed him until he was 19 months old and had a very wonderful, rewarding experience. Still, however, I suffered with feelings of failure and sadness over not being able to give him what most moms can.

This last pregnancy was different because I had Diana's book and the info that it provided. I spoke directly with some of the resource centers/ people listed in the book and read everything available. My mother (the lactation consultant) joked that I knew more about breastfeeding and BFAR than most pediatricians and lactation consultants. The dirth of information is unbelievable!! I had a scale rented and my domperidone, More Milk Plus, and Milk producing tea on hand before my first labor pains. I had friends and friends of friends praying for my breasts. When Shay arrived I began with the tincture and tea. He had plenty of wet diapers and didn't lose the 10% before my milk came in. I felt a definite engorgement and could hear him swallowing like I hadn't with my other two. He gained wait slowly, but steadily, in the first two weeks. I started the domperidone after a few days without gain and continue to take 80 mg a day. I have not pumped at all, but instead put him to the breast often (2 hours at most) and for at least 1/2 hour each feeding. He sleeps for 4-5 hours at night however.

He is now almost six weeks old and gains in spurts, but averaging at least 1 oz a day. His birth weight was 8 lb 6 oz and he is now 10 lb 5 oz. He is happy and healthy. I am a completely different newborn mom. I was stressed, depressed and felt helpless, but I am now relaxed, content and thankful. Diana has written that if I can give him what he needs at six wks, chances are high that I will continue to give him what he needs throughout the breastfeeding experience! I am just ecstatic!

I would like to encourage everyone to give it their best try! I learned a few things I would like to pass on. First of all, prayer to the One who made our breasts and the wonderful idea of breastfeeding is the most important element. Also as I read about in Diana's book, there has to have been significant recanalization. I nursed my second for 19 months and although I also supplemented, continuing to nurse him was good not only for him, but also for my success with my third child. Also, while pumping works well for some, for me it was stressful and time consuming and simply nursing often worked much better for me. I also loved the special time together with him rather than the pump!

So give each of your children what you can, but also consider each experience as an investment in future children. The feeling of being able to feed my third without any supplementing makes me want to have ten (for a fleeting moment anyhow.) Thank you all for your support and thank you to Diana for providing information and support for those of us have an experience that few can understand.

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