Friday, June 11, 2010

Did you Try Alfalfa?

Seriously, I’ve tried almost everything to increase my supply, especially after having four chances to make this work. I’ve read tons of breastfeeding books and information, talked to about a dozen lactation consultants, had my prolactin level checked, drank water til I floated, relaxed and did nothing, did a nursing vacation (actually three), took fenugreek, blessed thistle, goats rue, alfalfa and domperidone all at the same time, pumped every 15 minutes with a double hospital grade pump, and drank ginger ale, the real stuff. I simply don’t have the faculties to produce the amount of milk needed to feed my babies.

Thankfully I have always had some milk supply. The challenge has been to maintain that milk supply despite nursing difficulties, such as thrush and nipple confusion. Actually my babies didn’t get confused; they were smart and just refused the breast after realizing there was little there. My first fought me so hard to take the breast, she knew the bottle was soon to follow the nursing session and she seemed to get increasingly impatient while nursing. At the tender age of 7 months, I gave up the fight and just let her have the bottle, which just about killed me.

My never-ending search for the one thing that would force my body work the way God designed led me to read Dr. Newman’s breastfeeding information. I even had several emails back and forth from him and considered traveling to Canada to see him in his office. But I found out later that this Canadian doctor cannot treat an American patient. I instead took his advice to my city’s breastfeeding clinic and discussed the suggestions with the doctor-lactation consultant team and we developed an action plan…for my fourth baby.

I had my hopes up that the plan would work this time. It didn’t. Even though the previous three babies had shown an increase in supply each time, by the fourth I had hit a plateau. I was left with questions, guilt and a feeling that I was defective, yet again. These feelings surprised me, even though I’d been through it so many times before.

If we are blessed with another child (Sorry God, but we are really trying to avoid this) will I put myself through this again? Will I dare hope that my boobs will work THIS time? Will I drive myself insane reading all the new research about lactation failure? Will I dare to hope, only to be disappointed again? Yes. Yes I certainly will, because God is in the business of miracles, and maybe next time will be my turn.

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