My friend and neighbor Chris was here at the house with the other kiddos, and she had assured me I could take as much time away as I needed. So I left the pediatric clinic and went to see Laura, the lactation consultant, whom I had spoken with on the phone last Friday. I have now seen her a total of 4 times! She and I will be great friends by the time this is all over, I'm sure, LOL.
Anyway, my hour with Laura was very informative. We did a before-and-after weight check, allowing Zaden to nurse about a half hour total. As I had observed, he was not taking in much, though his latch seemed fairly reasonable. But the lack of transfer is the problem. After 30 minutes of nursing (about 15 minutes on each side), he had consumed only 1/2 ounce of milk! No wonder he's having issues! Our nursing sessions at home have lasted anywhere from 40-50 minutes...so if he's working that hard and only taking in 1/2 ounce of nourishment, he's expending more calories than he's taking in. :-(
We don't know WHY he isn't sucking efficiently. He can certainly suck a bottle! So, here is our action plan:
- I have my own SNS (supplemental nursing system) to try using with a breast shield. We had not been using the one I'm borrowing because he was not getting a good latch, which was kind of defeating the purpose of using it.
- I will stop nursing him after 25-30 minutes total. Whatever he has not taken in through the SNS will then be given to him in a bottle.
- I will continue pumping, pumping, pumping.
- Laura said there is nothing wrong with my milk...she said Zaden should be fine taking my pumped milk through the SNS or a bottle. However, since Dr. Z specifically said to use formula, I have decided I should definitely give him formula at least every other feeding, with pumped milk on the other feedings, so that I can be sure to follow Dr's orders.
- Tomorrow morning we are going to the chiropractor again. Several people have told me their babies had latching problems that were fixed with chiropractic treatment.
- I take Zaden back on Friday for another weight check.
Having nursed 5 babies before for an average of one year each, I definitely was not prepared for all of this. I have a new found sympathy for moms who have tried to breastfeed only to be thwarted by various reasons in their efforts. I have also received encouragement from many moms who were determined to overcome difficulties and were able to nurse--maybe not 100% of the time, but consistently. It's a very emotionally difficult thing to realize that you can't provide nutritionally for your new baby. I doubt anyone who has not gone through this can truly understand--I know I wouldn't have if I weren't in this exact situation. Our current family dynamics make this even more difficult. If Zaden were my full-time job...i.e. no other kids, no other obligations...I would not feel quite so despairing. I am trying to stay optimistic, but I have to confess, this is extremely draining in all ways, physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.
I truly believe God wants me to nurse Zaden. Why all this trouble, then? I can only trust that He has a perfect plan that includes this trial for my family. And I do mean my FAMILY--I'm not the only one "suffering!" My other children are affected by all this for sure. Poor Lucan's world has turned upside down with Daddy gone and a new squirmy creature taking all Mom's attention. School has been put on the back burner indefinitely. And meals are hit or miss, sometimes with everyone having to fend for themselves.
But since God has set this road before us, all we can do is follow Him. I wish I could know for sure that Zaden would suddenly start getting the hang of nursing and eventually we could get rid of all these other contraptions for feeding time. But I have no guarantee. I may indeed need to do this "hybrid feeding" for the next year. If so, I have to trust that God will provide for all that we will need in order to keep Zaden healthy and growing.
God has already provided...perhaps not the way I want Him to ("Fix it now, God, please!"), but He HAS provided. My mom was here to help through yesterday. Today, my college roomie and dear friend Megan drove down from Michigan with her daughter Sela to help us out through Friday. I have no idea what will happen after Friday. Right now, I just have to take one feeding at a time.