Monday, October 8, 2012

First Two Weeks and Booby Traps

The first two weeks home with Iyana weren't easy but they weren't the hell everyone warns you about either. Every baby is different though so I guess I'm just lucky. In general, everything is well. I'm healing, baby is healthy and gaining, and no one has had a nervous breakdown....yet.

The topic I would like to touch on is Booby Traps. As a paranoid first time mom, I did a lot of research on breastfeeding. I plan to breastfeed at least until my baby is a year old and was worried about low supply or my milk "drying up." The fact that my mother couldn't breastfeed for too long only fueled my fears.

Through research, I discovered that only a small percentage of women actually have supply problems and that it's not a common issue. So why do so many women claim to have supply issues? Why do so many women need to supplement with formula? Asking these questions led me to the term booby trap. Witty isn't it?

What does Booby Trap mean?

When a mother has been booby trapped, it usually means she had been given false advice/information by health care professionals or other, what are supposed to be, reliable sources. By following the false advice/information, the mother interferes with the body's natural process of creating milk based on supply and demand.

Common Booby Traps

  1. Your baby is not gaining weight. In the first few days, it's normal for babies to  lose weight. 
  2. You're not producing enough milk. Until your milk comes in, your breasts produce colostrum  Colostrum is not produced in large amounts where you could literally squirt it out but it's extremely important for your baby. It gives your baby antibodies to help fight infections. During the first few days, your baby stimulates milk production. Milk does not come in until the third to fifth day.
  3. Something goes wrong? The answer is always formula. And it shouldn't be. There are other routes to follow before resorting to formula. 
Through stories and my own experience, Booby Traps aren't as simple as the few I listed above. Even though breastfeeding is widely supported and even recommended by doctors, they throw us into a pit of quicksand and ultimately lay the blame on us.

It's not your fault!!!!

If you can't breastfeed, it's not your fault. Everyone likes to lay the blame on us and our bodies when really, it's not the case. Even with all of the research I had done, and my awareness of booby trapping, I almost fell victim to one myself.

My Booby Trap Story

Before I continue, I'd like to say I escaped this trap out of pure luck.

I delivered Iyana with a midwife, so I gave birth and went home the same day. Midwives go to your house on day 1, 3, and 5 of your baby's life to check up on mom and baby. On the first visit, my midwife found a large bruise on Iyana's head. She had gotten it from birth. My midwife said it was normal but still had to be monitored. She sent me to my doctor's clinic so they could check up on it. 

The doctor did a routine check up as well. Iyana was weighed and had lost 200g. The doctor wasnt concerned. I had to return to the clinic a few days after that so they could monitor the bruise. This time I saw a nurse practitioner (if you've read my earlier posts, you'll know who I'm talking about when I saw it was 'that' nurse practitioner). 

**Side note: she was a lot nicer this time around....sort of.

So they did another check up, bruise was fine but Iyana had lost more weight. The nurse practitioner warned me that if her weight wasn't up by the next visit, I'd have to supplement with formula. I was feeding on demand as I heard this was best. On Iyana's schedule, she was eating every three to four hours and sometimes five. The nurse said that was definitely not enough for a newborn and said I considering the amount of weight lost, I need to amp up the feedings to every 2 hours. Keep in mind, my milk came in late the day before, so I wasn't really given a chance at all.

So I went home and my husband kept on pushing to follow the nurses advice because he knew how against supplementing I was. The next couple of days were hell. No matter what I did, short of torture my poor baby, Iyana wouldn't wake up every two hours. I tried changing her diaper, leaving lights on, lifting her up, wiping her face with a cold cloth. I felt like a monster bothering her so much. 

When she would wake up, she would wake up crying. I would give her my breast and she'd take it then fall asleep after a minute. We were both miserable and tired. I was frustrated because I felt guilty for bothering her and I felt that if I would let her be, she would wake up with in three hours and feed well. With the waking up nonsense, she was barely eating because she was so tired. SO, instead of her eating more, she was eating less. My breasts were engorged because she wasn't eating so I was even more uncomfortable.

Luckily, the next visit, Iyana had reached her birth weight and passed it. The nurse didn't expect it because she seemed surprised when the other nurse came back with the numbers. 

In hind sight here's what upsets me. Why would I need to supplement when the problem wasn't my supply but the fact that my baby wouldn't wake up. If a sleeping baby wont wake up for the breast, why would she wake up for formula? This was a major booby trap.

A quick search of Booby Trap + Breastfeeding will give you a host of sources for more information.

Also a site I liked ---->

My Advice:

Don't doubt yourself or your baby. 

Go to a real Lactation Consultant before resorting to formula.

Join sites (my preference where you can find support from other moms. This helped me stay confident in my body. You'd be surprised how many moms are willing to share their experiences and insight on breastfeeding and other prenatal/parenting topics. They have a group for breastfeeding. Stick to that for breastfeeding advice as it's pro-breastfeeding. 

Follow reputable blogs such as Alpha Parent that promote a more natural approach to parenting. 

Stay away from breastfeeding advice on formula websites. Think: Why would they promote breastfeeding when it's their #1 competitor? 

The internet brings you so many resources to your fingertips. You just need to be smart and find the good ones.

There is so much information out there and I wish I could write it all out but this post is long enough as it is. If you have any questions, feel free to ask and if I can, I'll answer them.

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