Sunday, January 3, 2010

Feeling Discouraged Already

For those of you who don't know I'm using Dr. Newman's Regular Protocol for inducing lactation. I started the protocol around 10-11 weeks gestation and just last Tuesday (12/29) stopped the hormones and began pumping with the Medela Symphony. I pump every 2-3 hours for 15 minutes (plan to start pumping for 20 min) and take domper.idone 30mg 3x/day. On my first pump I had droplets of milk on my nipples, which continued throughout day 1, and on day 2 I had droplets that dripped into the bottles (probably about 1-2mL total). I've seen a similar pattern for the last few days--I get droplets that drip into the bottle, but don't amount to much more than a 1-2mL. I certainly don't see any spraying of breast milk and although my breasts are larger I don't think they swell with milk. I don't know what to expect as I don't know anyone else who's done this and I'm already feeling discouraged and down.

I am worried that my hormonal imbalance caused by PCOS is going to prevent me from getting a good milk supply. I was able to pump for Myles, but never produced very much. I took out my pumping book and discovered that I was pumping about an 1-2 oz per pumping session for an average daily pumping total of 14 oz per day. I know this is a low supply and I think this fact coupled with my response from the first few days of pumping is making me think that I'm not going to produce much again. It makes me think that I'm just wasting my time in addition to the money I'm spending on renting the pump, buying the domperi.done and herbal supplements.

I just started drinking Mother's Milk tea 3x/day and tomorrow will begin using More Milk Special Blend at 1/4 tsp 4x/day.

I was in tears tonight thinking that I won't be able to do this for my boys. I couldn't bring them into the world, but was hoping that my body would do something for them. I feel bad for whining when I'm so fortunate to be expecting two babies. This is the first time during the entire pregnancy when I've felt bad for not being able to physically do anything for them. Maybe the hormone drop from stopping the birth control pills and the rise in my prolactin levels is making me emotional, but whatever it is it stinks! I honestly feel a little bit like a failure--I feel like I'm failing my boys already and they aren't even here yet.

37 comments:

Tina said...

My Im from last surrogacy did this and she didnt get that much but she supplimented with Formula, Can you maybe get K to pump a little bit or donor milk and use the attachment that allows you to breastfeed and have the donor milk along with yours...dont give up you can do it!!!! Its hard but stick in there it will be worth it in the end...

Our Story.. said...

Niki...Please do not let the emotions get the best of you. Relaxing will be very helpful for you. When possible sit in a quiet area with ultrasound pictures of the boys or something visual and just think abiut them and treat it as if you are acctually sitting there feeding them (try to simulate that) so that you are kind of tricking your body and mind into thinking you are acctually sitting there feeding the boys. Also after they are born if you are planning to having them latch onto you they have a very tiny tube that you can tape onto you that would suppliment them while still making your bady think it is doing the work. Stress is the worst thing for your supply though. (((HUGS))) I am not someone who general comments but I have followed you for a while now. I am a fellow cyster. Everything has worked out so well for you these last few months that I am sure that this will all work out for you also. GL

GeekByMarriage said...

In NO sense of the word are you a failure. You are so very amazing and I am humbled by your drive and perseverance. You can do this!

cicibears said...

as someone mentioned above, stress is killer on milk supply. Whatever the outcome you are going to have two very healthy babies to love! that's all that matters.
It might help to think about them when you are pumping it helps with the let down of the milk.
also the actual baby does make a difference because your body realizes it needs to feed someone(s)
also i think you may be right about the PCOS causing low milk supply because of hormones. ask a doctor about it?

If once or twice you should fail what should you do - try try again of course.

meinsideout said...

Niki - stress is a natural part of our experience and probably more so your experience and you would obviously wish it away if you could - if I were you, I imagine that I would be feeling the same way. I "know" you and I know that you will do whatever you can do.

Regardless of what happens with the breast feeding, you are an amazing mother and you are the reason why these boys exist and what you have done for them already is amazing.

You are a true inspiration and keep on keeping on.

Dora said...

What everyone else said! You are not a failure. You are an incredible mom. I don't doubt that the hormones are affecting your emotions. Hang in there. xoxo

Kate and Gabe said...

I am a lurker, but decided to pop out of the dark for a minute to share my experience - and
I had a horrible time pumping - I would only get an ounce or two (at the most!!) at a time... regardless of whether I had just nursed my baby or if I was just pumping. However, when the baby nursed, she got enough milk. My body never responded to pumping.
I kept pumping though - always right after they ate - just to try and trick my body into thinking that it needed to produce more (I was always right on the cusp of having a "low supply") - and we had a great nursing relationship. Bodies can be different! Don't give up hope!!

jeanna said...

Don't be discouraged! You are already a great mom for trying and for all the love you are going to give those 2 boys! The love you give them is the most important thing in the world. I just know you are going to be a great mom because you are such a beautiful person inside and out. Your boys are going to be so blessed to be in your family surrounded by so much love!

The Lesters said...

HUGS I never produced much by pumping. When your babies actually nurse, that is when you will really get your supply in. Babies sucking is much more effective. Please don't beat yourself up. Most moms wouldn't do what you are trying to do for your boys. I know it can be frustrating. I gave up on breastfeeding my twins at 2 weeks (although I think I gave up much too early) because I was just not getting enough and I was exhausted. But I was still able to bond with them and I loved being able to see their little faces when I gave them their bottles. Your little boys are very loved and you are doing a great job.

MFA Mama said...

Oh Niki you're ANYTHING but a failure! Even a tiny bit of breastmilk is better than none, and 1-2 ml. is all I got the first three-four days of pumping for my preterm babies (although when we did the weigh before/after thing they were clearly getting more than that when I actually nursed them). Pumping just isn't the same as nursing and also HECK YES with the hormones! The goal with Dr. Newman's protocol (I read about adoptive breastfeeding because there was a section in his book for nursing moms that I used for reference back in the day) is to "trick" your body into thinking you've experienced a pregnancy so it makes perfect sense that you've now got a touch of the "baby blues." Which is such an innocuous term for something so miserable, but whatever. I had it pretty bad with my first baby, didn't have it with my second beyond a couple of low days, and the third...well who knows, with him being so sick I was an anxious, tearful wreck and lost all of the baby weight in two months but everyone congratulated me on holding it together as well as I did so...yeah. Be good to yourself, eat lots of oatmeal, and have a dark beer in the evenings if you can stomach it--it's great for supply! Also, if you don't have a SNS it's easy to jury-rig one with a 24-inch NG-tube; ask a nurse to help you out, clip the medi-port end off and stab a little slit in the nipple of a bottle, pass the clipped end through the slit in the bottle nipple and pull it down so that when you screw the nipple and ring onto the bottle the tube hangs into the formula/supplemental milk and tape the other end to your breast--viola! Set the bottle beside you or stick it between your breasts and the baby's sucking will pull the milk through the tube. An excellent lactation consultant taught me that trick :)

MFA Mama said...

Edited to add: "adoptive breastfeeding" is what the section in the book was called. I know you're the boys' genetic mama; I've read your blog since Myles and didn't want you to think I was being ignorant or for my terminology to hurt anyone's feelings :)

Also do you read "Evergreen Baby?" She's an adoptive mom and midwife who is breastfeeding her daughter and apparently she's had some success; maybe she could give you some tips on induced lactation?

MFA Mama said...

Oh and you DO know that even 1-2 mls is worth saving, yes? I asked my postpartum to throw out a measly 1 ml I got from pumping in the hospital one time because it seemed like too little to do anything with and she scolded me and got a syringe and drew it up to take to the nursery. Start freezing! The more you have when the boys arrive, the better and it might be a good little motivational boost to see it accumulate in your freezer. I promise this is my last comment today :)

LK said...

Hang in there Niki - pumping is tough; I don't think anyone gets tons right away. After the boys are here and learn to latch, I suspect you will start getting more. And even if you have to supplement with a little formula, there's nothing wrong with that - it's typical for twins anyway, and every little bit they can get from you will help. You're doing a great job and these boys are going to be loved like crazy - that's the most important thing - please don't beat yourself up about any of the rest of it.

Kelly said...

Your body WILL do things for the boys. Your arms will cuddle and protect them, your hands will take care of their daily needs, your lips will kiss them, your eyes will look into theirs and assure them, your heart will love them.

goldenjag25 said...

Please don't get down on yourself, I know it's so hard. You have some time before the boys are born so keep at it. I had really low supply with DD, I had pre-e during delivery and the doc said that coupled w/ PCOS can bring low supply. I beat myself up a lot. It's not worth it! Do what you can and if you can't, you will still be an amazing mother to your boys and they will grow up healthy and strong. BTW the nursery is super cute! Hang in there.

jill said...

Hi it's Jill the person who has emailed you a few times- cousin did surrogacy for us, we have twin boys... I finally got a google account so I can post on your blog! I did induced lactation for our boys. It's very hard to do so you should feel very proud of yourself that you are trying- much more than most people do! And, you have to remember that most twin moms don't breastfeed exclusively. Whatever you can make for them is more than most babies get. I started pumping 4 months before they were born and stored up about 1 month worth of breastmilk and our surrogate pumped for us for about 3 weeks. This allowed our boys to be only on breastmilk for 1 month. Since then they get forumla and about 2 bottles a day of breast milk that I pump. I would love to produce enough for them to only drink it but happy that I can at least give them something.
I also tried to breastfeed for 1 week after they were born. People say that it does help produce more milk and they were defintely correct! I felt that fullness and heaviness that I did not (and still don't) feel while pumping. Mine wouldn't latch on well so I quit breastfeeding and just went back to pumping. If you can get them to breastfeed you will be surprised on how well your body adjusts. Also, I take Goats Rue tablets - I think they are by mothers milk. I got them from my lacation consultant but they also sell them at natural food stores- those work as well or better than the domperidone. I'm on 2 tablets of dom 3x per day and 2 tablets of Goats Rue 3 x per day. I still onoly make about 12-14oz per day though. I didn't go the birth control route. Just pumped a lot and took those meds.
Email me if you want to know more. Just remember, if you can't exclusively breast feed you are no different than most twin moms! Most of my friends who had a singleton breastfed but none of my friends who had twins did.

suz said...

Check out this blog:
http://lianaandmason.com/dollhouse/

Liana induced lactation before adopting and was able to breastfeed her daughter with supplementation.

My lactation consultant always said that a baby is far more efficient than a pump and I don't think I ever got near as much pumping than my daughter did from nursing.

Sush said...

Dear Niki,
Hi! I've also only been a lurker so far (from the Pree forum) and first just wanted to say how beautiful and courageous everything you do for your three boys is. Your story, voice, your words move me each time I log on.
I wanted to answer spec about pumping and PCOS. I also have PCOS and had to pump for my PE preemie and had a tough time, also later while breastfeeding (despite using herbal supplements and domp). I found out eventually that low supply can be a real concern for some (not all!!) women with PCOS. But don't despair, because IF that's the case for you (it's still too early to know!), you still can nurse with help. The best way of nursing with a lower supply to use what is called a SNS (supplementary nursing systm). I had great support from my local La Leche League group (international breastfeeding support) who are familiar with PCOS and also relactation (I met a mother who nursed her adopted baby with their help).
You are doing such a wonderful job already for your twins, they are very, very lucky boys. Every drop of breastmilk counts, and a SNS - should you need it - would allow your boys to have as much of your milk as possible plus the closeness at the breast with extra milk added if necessary.
I'm thinking of you and wishing you all the best from Paris,
Sush

Lost in Space said...

I have nothing useful to add, but wanted to give you a hug and let you know you are very much the opposite of the word failure.

Hang in there, sweetie.

Jen said...

Niki, please don't feel that way. Pumping alone is a hard way to get alot of milk...I pumped with Alison, for a month, then gave it up when it was obvious I just couldn't produce enough milk.

I think the most important thing is that the babies are fed and full and loved. I understand why you want to breastfeed, but please don't beat yourself up over it. It's not fair to you. Hugs.

James, Dawn and Family said...

The most important thing is getting to enjoy your boys. Weather you nurse them or have to give them formula you and them will be fine, they will bond & be healthy.Having them in your arms is the most important thing. Hang in there with whatever you decide. Don't let yourself go anywhere where dissapointment could ruin the magic of these sweet little gifts.

Expectant Duck said...

Oh honey, hang in there. Post over at asklenore.com message boards and they may have some advice, lots of women over there induced lactation.

What I have read is eating oatmeal, drinking lots of water, drinking beer (yum!). Also Dr. Newman does also increase the Dom too, so that can be something you look at, a few women on the asklenore have gone up to 120 (3 pills 4 times a day).

Also, you can try and reach out to Karma(or look at her old posts on her blog) she too induced lactation.

This must be hard on you, you are so not failing them, what you are doing is wonderful.

I know for me, it is not about the quantity of milk, and I could care less if they got any milk at all, it is about the bonding experience, and you will have that (I plan on using the lact-aid and supplementing with formula). For me, I just don't want to put the pressure to make all the milk on me, so I already plan on the lact-aid.
Hugs and here if you ever need me.

kara said...

Oh lady, just remember that some women who've actually given birth in the week or two prior to pumping don't get any milk. Once those boys are here, that oxytocin is going to start flowing, and hopefully the milk will too. Supplementing is OK. Those who give birth to singleton, let alone twins often can't keep up. Feeling discouraged about this subject is so natural. Have you been looking at US pictures of the boys while you pump? That always helped me a little. I had low supply too. Only about 8 ounces a day pumping every 2 hours. And it is sooo stressful. Just remember that ANY little bit you can give them is helpful. Supermom's can only be super to a certain extent. And you are already a super mom for even trying to induce lactation!

Crystal said...

Niki I'm just popping by for a second and didn't have time to read all the other comments so I hope I'm not repeating things. 14 oz a day in only 26 days is not a low supply! Thats awesome! I know inducing lactation must be different but when I first pumped for Jack I only got 1-2ml also for the first 3-4 days and then after that I would get only 1oz for probably another week or so.. and then so on. Thank goodness Jack was just a little man with a little appetite or we would have had to supplement also. Anyways.. don't give up yet! I have faith in you and your bb's hehe!!! :p

Jacinta said...

Hang in there Niki, you are doing an amazing job. For what it is worth, I took dom.peri.done while my son was in the NICU and I found it made me feel very unstable emotionally. I found myself in a rage when I am normally quite cool headed. It was hard to see whether this was the medication or circumstance, but don't underestimate that factor.

dseykora said...

Hi there! I saw that you left a comment on our blog and tonight when I was giving our blog a "new look" I deleted the post that had your comment on it with your email by mistake! Could you stop by and leave your info again? I would love to share info with you! Thanks ~Denise

Mrs.Ellison said...

I had a friend (who lost her little girl) send this to me b/c I am in the process of doing surrogacy!!
I do not have someone in mind, I am just planning on going through a clinic....
you are the EXACT reason why I want to do this...I want to give someone a family!!!!
I read your entire blog tonight and cried at almost every post...I am SOOO happy for you!!! Your K is an amazing woman!!! I will continue to follow your blog and GOOD LUCK!
Thanks for the inspiration!!
Your Myles is beautiful!!! :)

Kandi Ann said...

Someone suggested looking at the sono pictures. I think (Just a thought) getting one of those real feeling baby dolls to hold and looking at and talking to pictures of Myles and relaxing and letting nothing else around you while you pump will help greatly. No matter, your amazing. xoox, Kandi

Kelly said...

Give it some time and don't be so hard on yourself! Nothing ever comes easy unfortunately. With all the work you're putting in, I'm hopeful you will be able to provide them with something when they arrive. I'll keep praying for you! (((Niki)))

Bethany said...

I attended a BF'ing support group at my local womens hospital for nearly a year after I had my son and I was fortunate enough to come away with some great advice from the lactation consultants and other moms there.

A dark beer every night (One mom recommended an Oatmeal Stout another suggested a Chocolate Stout both of which can be found a Beverages and More or BevMo).

I didn't see anyone mention Fenugreek. I can swear by this. It kept my supply up when I went back to work and was pumping almost exclusivly. I believe it is an ingrediant in Mother Milk but you can also take additional supplements.

Oatmeal. And lots of it! which some moms have already mentioned.

Also, and this is one thing moms tend to forget because they are so focused on losing baby weight, you need to up your calorie intake. If you are eating just enough for yourself, you won't have much left to put in the milk. Now is not the time to diet.

I wish you the best of luck and much happiness with your beautiful baby boys!

TABI said...

Hang in there! Don't beat yourself up, it will happen! In my case my GC is pumping for colostrum and for the early days of life but then we will probably continue with formula. I am not even trying to induce so don't feel like your are failing your boys!! You are putting all this effort and that already says so much!!

Meg. said...

Oh Nikki, as all the others ladies have said, you are NOT a failure! But still, I can completely understand the drive to provide milk for your boys and share this bonding experience with them.

Just do the best you can -- because that's all you can do!

I'll be praying that your bb's begin to cooperate!

Kay said...

Nicki,
you know my story, so you know I have PCOS too.. I was a lactating fool after about 2 weeks of pumping. It took awhile to get going. I second the poster who said freeze it all! And you are doing everything right! Drink the teas, and try to make pumping as relaxing as you can. Get an ultrasound of the boys, put it in a nice frame. Turn the lights down, light a relaxation candle if you want. It really will help I think. I know you can't do it all the time but when you can try to do this. Luke's NICU nurse made the suggestion to me and it took me from 2 ounces a pump to 4-6 ounces per breast! Even if you do not have a great supply, nurse and supplement with formula as needed. It is so worth it!

Debir said...

Niki, first I want to give you a big {{{HUG}}}!
Sweetheart, you are not failing! At anything. I have not read any of the comments yet, so this has probably already been said, but omg hon, you are trying everything so hard. Sometimes honey, you just have to remember it is out of your hands, that you did your best, but you can't force certain things to happen. I had basically no milk for either of my kids. The first time almost sent me into depression because I was so sure I was going to nurse, I didn't think there would be any problems, I didn't even buy a bottle! So when I didn't have any milk, it was a shock. It came to the point that my DS would start crying if I even took out a breast and one day I just had to let it go and know I had done my darndest and that I could still give my child everything he needed to grow and thrive and be loved.
With our DD, I started early, started supplements (same stuff you are doing), rented a pump, got a LC and connected with the local LLL. I was never able to pump more than 1/2 an oz! And like her brother, she got to the point she didn't want anything to do with my breasts. I had thought that if I did everything right "this time", it would work, that I could force my body into doing the most basic thing for my baby, feeding her, but I couldn't. And you know what hon? I still did it :) I still provided her with the nourishment that she needed and we still relished the closeness and bonding of snuggling while she ate, I just had to let go of the idea that I should be able to produce milk.
My advise, as it is :), keep trying honey! But also try not to let yourself feel badly or that you failed... failure, imo, is lack of trying, and lord knows Niki, you are the tryingist gal I know! I am keeping all my fingers and toes crossed that you are able to nurse! Just remember that your love, devotion, caring, and providing for are the nourishing that your boys need most from you, regardless of what they are eating.
Debi (sc)

Elise said...

Hi Niki! While I totally understand how you're feeling - just remember - you gave the boys the most precious gift of all; you gave them life!!! Stick with it, girl! Even just a few drops of milk contain precious antibodies so whatever you can give them is wonderful. What a great momma you are!

Crystal said...

I also wanted to throw in that I tried Fenugreek with Jack and it gave him a horrible belly ache. I would be careful about that since the boys aren't here yet you wouldn't want to freeze all that milk if its gonna give them a belly ache :(

Saffy said...

Niki, hugs. I've had an rough time trying to pump for our ONE baby and that was after I actually gave birth and body should've known what to do! ;)

What dose of domperidone are you taking? I ramped it up to 16 tablets/day at one point and that made a significant difference (that's Dr Newman's highest level).

I think it's crucial, for the sake of your mental health, to remember that you ARE trying your best and not to beat yourself up because you really are doing all that you can. Remember too that every drop is precious and makes a difference. One of those SNS systems might be the way to go too - I tried one but was a bit slack with it because taping the tubing on felt a bit weird to me, but may be a goer for you.

Chin up - they are soooooooo close to being here and at the end of the day, having them here happy and healthy is the goal. If you can give them milk then that's a bonus, but not the end of the world >:D<