Breast Is Best Failed Me And It Failed My Starving Son

My son was born at 8:33 am on a Saturday, delivered vaginally at 36 weeks and 3 days gestation. He weighed 6 pounds 3 ounces, and was in the 51st percentile for his gestational age. He latched onto my breast within the first 15 minutes. It was painful for me, but my nurse said his latch was great and that he was eating well. I continued to put him to breast every 3 hours as I had been instructed. We were told that we could see a lactation consultant, but one never came to our room. I was not concerned, since we were told he had a great latch and was feeding well.

On Sunday morning, we found out that he had lost weight and that he was suffering from jaundice and would need phototherapy. The medical staff told us that weight loss was normal and that his bilirubin levels were “borderline,” so the photo-therapy was just a preventative measure. Throughout the day he alternated between lethargy and crying. He only voided a few times, and his urine was very dark. His latch was still very painful, but I kept bringing him to breast to nurse every 3 hours. He never seemed to calm down after nursing.

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When he became inconsolable on Sunday night, known as the buy cialis a nurse instructed us to continue trying to give him a pacifier and that he would settle eventually. He began screaming at my breast and refused to latch. There were no lactation consultants available at the hospital on Sundays. Another nurse brought in a Lansinoh latch assist, although my nipples were not flat or inverted. She instructed me to use the latch assist to draw out drops of colostrum, which I then swept out of the bulb with my finger and fed to my son. I did this for several hours. There were blood blisters on both of my nipples and I had not slept since the Thursday night before. My son eventually fell asleep in the early hours of the morning.

When he was weighed around 8 am on Monday, he was 5lb 4oz. He had lost 15% of his body weight in 48 hourssildenafil citrate 100mg

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My Inability To Breastfeed Made Me Fear My Newborn And Her Hunger

I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from my daughter’s traumatic birth. She was born in September 2016 and I was diagnosed in December 2016. I undertook Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, a type of therapy designed to alleviate the distress associated with traumatic memories, which caused severe anxiety and panic.  The need to breastfeed was very triggering. The thought of not breastfeeding was very triggering — essentially, I felt like a horrible mom and I was struggling to feed my baby.

During my daughter’s birth, I lost forty percent of my blood. About twenty minutes after she was born, I went into shock and had to be revived. I have very limited memory of her birth or the hours after it.

Prior to my daughter’s birth, I got very sucked into “breassure”. I am a pediatric nurse practitioner and have patients who are formula fed. I also was exclusively formula fed, so I KNEW formula was safe and totally healthy for babies. But that part of my brain seemed to turn off. I HAD to breastfeed. I did not even want formula in my house before going into labor, as I had been told it would be “too tempting.” Even as I went into shock, I reminded my husband to feed our daughter with a finger or syringe rather than a bottle to avoid the infamous nipple confusion. It was not until about a month ago that he told me he fed her a bottle in the nursery, as he was afraid I would be upset.

After being revived, I did not even get to see my daughter until after I was stable and in the postpartum unit. I lost a lot of blood and I felt like HELL. I truly cannot explain it. I was so weak and so exhausted. Still, the nurse on the floor brought my daughter to me so I could feed her. She gave me NO instructions and did not acknowledge what my physical and emotional limits were, while attempting to breastfeed my newborn baby.  Still, I believed that I, and only I, could be the source of food for my child. I cannot explain how haunting and distressing that thought was. I desperately needed someone to care for me. My blood volume was low and very dilute. But still, I HAD to feed her. Otherwise, what kind of mother was I?

The Lactation Consultant gave me a nipple shield the next morning. It helped my daughter immensely. My daughter had to go to the NICU every few hours for an hour or more to get IV antibiotics for a very serious infection, which complicated breastfeeding. They gave me a pump to use during those times. I decided quickly that pumping was much more reassuring for my analytical and anxious mind. The only problem? I produced practically nothing. Fifteen minutes on both sides produced eight mL.  How in the world could this sustain the life of my precious child, especially in light of her enduring a thirty-four hour labor AND chorioamnionitis. I knew it wasn’t sildenafil price, and the thought of it brought me immediate panic attacks.

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I think, looking back, the worst part (and there were some TERRIBLE parts) was that when I saw my daughter, instead of love, I felt PANIC. I was terrified of how I was failing her.

There were many people in the hospital who were overly optimistic about my medical situation. My own doctor told me that “breastfeeding would be a breeze,” in spite of my severe anemia. Only the neonatologist was truly honest. She told me that I would need to pump and supplement for three to four weeks before my milk would truly come in, if it did at all.  In some ways, that honesty gave me the freedom I needed to feed my daughter in a way that worked for us both. It was still a wrenching decision though. Who endures what I did to do anything less than the best for their child?

Thankfully, my husband and parents were supportive. I got a few side glances from the postpartum nurses here and there for formula feeding, but I was so exhausted that I did not care.

I would like to pretend that I could let it rest at that, but since I truly believed that breast was BEST, I thought I was a terrible mom. For weeks and months, this went on. The thing is, I liked formula feeding.  It allowed my husband to do almost all the night feeds before I received a blood transfusion when my daughter was five days old. It allowed us to split the feeds evenly after that. It allowed him or family to care for our daughter easily when I spent hours getting iron infusions three times a week. She had no issues with formula and she loved her feeding time with bottles. But I felt so incredibly guilty for formula feeding! At one point, I even tried to relactate. It was totally unproductive. Through all of my pumping, I never produced more than fifty mL a day. Of course, I know now that a post-partum hemorrhage is a risk factor for inadequate breast milk supply.  I never had more than a mildly bloated feeling in my breasts, certainly nothing like how I have heard others describe engorgement.

Through it all, I think my biggest wish is that in pregnancy I was not so vulnerable to “breast is best.” The need to breastfeed and my inability to do so made me fear my newborn and her hunger. 

MelissaHemor


HOW YOU CAN SUPPORT FED IS BEST

There are many ways you can support the mission of the Fed is Best Foundation. Please consider contributing in the following ways:

  1. Join the Fed is Best Volunteer group to help us reach Obstetric Health Providers to advocate for counseling of new mothers on the importance of safe infant feeding.
  2. Make a donation to the Fed is Best Foundation. We are using funds from donations to cover the cost of our website, our social media ads, our printing and mailing costs to reach health providers and hospitals. We do not accept donations from breast- or formula-feeding companies and 100% of your donations go toward these operational costs. All the work of the Foundation is achieved via the pro bono and volunteer work of its supporters.
  3. Share the stories and the message of the Fed is Best Foundation through word-of-mouth, by posting on your social media page and by sending our resources to expectant moms that you know. Share the Fed is Best campaign letter with everyone you know.
  4. Write a letter to your health providers and hospitals about the Fed is Best Foundation. Write them about feeding complications your child may have experienced.
  5. Print out our letter to obstetric providers and mail them to your local obstetricians, midwives, family practitioners who provide obstetric care and hospitals.
  6. Write your local elected officials about what is happening to newborn babies in hospitals and ask for legal protection of newborn babies from underfeeding and of mother’s rights to honest informed consent on the risks of insufficient feeding of breastfed babies.
  7. Send us your stories. Share with us your successes, your struggles and every thing in between. Every story saves another child from experiencing the same and teaches another mom how to safely feed her baby. Every voice contributes to change.
  8. Send us messages of support. We work every single day to make infant feeding safe and supportive of every mother and child.  Your messages of support keep us all going.
  9. Shop and Fed is Best Foundation will earn cash back! We hope to develop our online safe infant feeding classes with these funds.
  10. If you need support, we have a private support group– Join

Thank you so much from the Founders of the Fed is Best Foundation!

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The Medical Professionals At The University Of North Carolina Allowed My Baby To Starve

I wish I had done more research about hospital exclusive breastfeeding policies before my son was born. I’m a registered nurse with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, but my maternity and pediatric experience was limited to nursing school. I was always on the fence about breastfeeding—I said that it was my goal but that we would see, so I hadn’t bought in to the narrative of “Breast is Best”. Still, I expected the medical professionals at the hospital where my son was born to tell me if they thought my baby was starving while attempting to exclusively breastfeed.

I delivered at the University of North Carolina Hospital, a top medical center. I felt reassured that I was in great hands. They were called “baby friendly” after all. I didn’t look into what that meant, and I thought I was well prepared. I was induced after being diagnosed with preeclampsia, but, thankfully, it was caught very early. I was two days shy of forty weeks. I had a long labor, followed by a C-section due to my son’s position. I’m also thirty-five years old, so by all accounts, I was high risk. It also meant I was at risk for late or low breast milk supply.

First, my husband and I were laughed at when we said we planned to use the nursery. Thank God for my husband—he did the baby care and brought our son to me while I was bedridden so that I could breastfeed. I was told the latch was great. I felt confident things were going well. But my son was inconsolable by the time he was forty-eight hours old.

My baby nursed a lot. I was told everything was normal and he was “cluster feeding”. Later, as my training came back to me, I never remembered cluster feeding being a thing. During my training, babies were supplemented when mothers didn’t have enough colostrum babies were supplemented and were taken to the nursery if a parent requested. I went to Duke University, and I rotated through WakeMed. These are excellent hospital systems.ClusterFeeding (1)

I was concerned about my baby’s very dry lips, and I was told not to worry. I asked about the few wet diapers that my son produced. Dismissed. I trusted that the medical professionals had my and my baby’s best interests at heart. I asked if maybe my milk hadn’t come in, and I was told all is well. We went home on the evening of the third day after birth, and my baby was looking jaundiced. He cried a lot, but nursing helped soothe him from crying–sometimes.

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We saw the pediatrician the next day, and I found out my son had lost twelve percent of his weight since birth. We did a weighted feed in the doctor’s office, and his weight before and after nursing were exactly the same. My pediatrician, my husband, and I had a conversation about giving the baby formula. My husband and I had already decided we were going to supplement with formula before we saw the pediatrician, and our son’s weight loss confirmed that we were right to do so. We did not hesitate, and he had his first bottle minutes after we got home. He sucked it down, and he was finally calm and content for the first time in days. I tried to pump and barely got anything. My milk eventually came in, but we continue to supplement. His weight rebounded, and he gained well, but I was beside myself knowing that my baby had starved. It shouldn’t have come to that.

I am upset that the nurses (most of whom were fairly new) don’t know the difference between true cluster feeding and starvation. I am livid that no one even suggested formula.

I was angry that I didn’t put the symptoms together due to sheer exhaustion, and I placed my trust in the medical professionals without questioning their reasoning.. I am livid that no one even suggested formula, and I am heartbroken that I didn’t think to ask. I just kept saying, “I don’t think my milk is in.” I can’t believe it is up to the mother to specifically request formula. I was post-op and exhausted—I could not string a coherent thought together. And to think a bottle would have made such a big difference. It took me a little while before I was able to stop crying at the thought that my baby had suffered. I am so very thankful that we didn’t allow this to continue, and that he is thriving now at two months old.

The pediatric nurse practitioner instructed me at my discharge from the hospital not to pump because it would interfere with breastfeeding. It occurred to me later that her answer betrayed the “Breast is Best” cause. If breast milk is truly the best nutrition for a baby, it shouldn’t matter what container it comes in, whether it be from my breast or via a bottle. This makes me think the breastfeeding establishment is more concerned with direct, exclusive breastfeeding and the public breastfeeding crusade, than they are with providing nutrition for a baby.

If or when I have another baby, I will be well prepared to advocate for my baby and myself, and I will not blindly trust the medical professionals—a sad realization for me because I am one. I will also bring formula to the hospital in my overnight bag. My babies will not go hungry.

Kathryn


HOW YOU CAN SUPPORT FED IS BEST

There are many ways you can support the mission of the Fed is Best Foundation. Please consider contributing in the following ways:

  1. Join the Fed is Best Volunteer group to help us reach Obstetric Health Providers to advocate for counseling of new mothers on the importance of safe infant feeding.
  2. Make a donation to the Fed is Best Foundation. We are using funds from donations to cover the cost of our website, our social media ads, our printing and mailing costs to reach health providers and hospitals. We do not accept donations from breast- or formula-feeding companies and 100% of your donations go toward these operational costs. All the work of the Foundation is achieved via the pro bono and volunteer work of its supporters.
  3. Share the stories and the message of the Fed is Best Foundation through word-of-mouth, by posting on your social media page and by sending our resources to expectant moms that you know. Share the Fed is Best campaign letter with everyone you know.
  4. Write a letter to your health providers and hospitals about the Fed is Best Foundation. Write them about feeding complications your child may have experienced.
  5. Print out our letter to obstetric providers and mail them to your local obstetricians, midwives, family practitioners who provide obstetric care and hospitals.
  6. Write your local elected officials about what is happening to newborn babies in hospitals and ask for legal protection of newborn babies from underfeeding and of mother’s rights to honest informed consent on the risks of insufficient feeding of breastfed babies.
  7. Send us your stories. Share with us your successes, your struggles and every thing in between. Every story saves another child from experiencing the same and teaches another mom how to safely feed her baby. Every voice contributes to change.
  8. Send us messages of support. We work every single day to make infant feeding safe and supportive of every mother and child.  Your messages of support keep us all going.
  9. Shop and Fed is Best Foundation will earn cash back! We hope to develop our online safe infant feeding classes with these funds.
  10. If you need support, we have a private support group– Join

Thank you so much from the Founders of the Fed is Best Foundation!

 

 

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