Monday, July 18, 2011

Mission Impossible? Am I failing?

**Caution! This contains booby talk of a non-sexual nature! It may be considered TMI to some of you!**

Austin is 7 and a half months old & we are still breastfeeding. I have no clue when I want to stop. I don't see myself still nursing him when he's, say, 5, but as of right now, I have no plans of stopping anytime soon. Originally, I thought it'd be difficult to "stick with it" for a year, but his first birthday is rapidly approaching & I'm still as gung-ho about it as I was when we first started. Maybe more so now that my milk supply is established (for the most part, but I'll get to that in a minute), my breasts are no longer super engorged, my nipples are no longer constantly cracked & I don't have the problems with leaking that I used to.

Sure, I miss my sleep. I had completely forgotten how a breastfed baby doesn't really start sleeping through the night like a formula-fed baby. At least not consistently. I might have a reprieve every so often, but so far it hasn't been a regular occurance. It would also be nice to be able to just give him a bottle when we're driving down the road, instead of having to find a parking spot & get him out of his carseat so I can nurse him. (I have pretty much been a breastfeeding "purist" so far, and have never pumped a bottle for him)

On the other hand, I have never had to wake up to his cry in the middle of the night & have to stumble blindly down the hallway to the kitchen to fix him a bottle. For the most part, once I nurse him in the middle of the night, he goes right back to sleep without an issue. As for feedings on the go, I don't have to worry about giving him a cold bottle to drink, worry about warming up a bottle, worry about forgetting the formula at home. Nothing. No worries. Just perfectly warmed super healthy milk ready for him instantly! Woohoo! LOL

But I do have a problem. See, about 10 years ago I had to have a lumpectomy on one of my breasts. What that means, is I had a very large lump in my breast & given my family history of breast cancer, they wanted it (the lump) removed immediately. I quit breastfeeding my daughter at this time. She was 6 months old. When I was pregnant with my first son, that breast got an abcess on it, right on the scar from the surgery. The doctor said that what might have happened was that the scar tissue could be blocking some of my milk ducts. Anyone who has ever breastfed knows that milk doesn't come out of just one hole in your nipple, but rather from out of a multitude of tiny holes. Apparently some of my holes are out-of-service, so to speak. This angers my little guy. (I did not breastfeed my older son) So he has always favored my other breast. The land of milk & honey ;-). Who can blame him? I'm gonna always choose the shower head with the awesome strong water pressure, ya know? Who wants a piddly drizzle?

That's where my trouble begins. Because he hates the "slow flow" one, he fusses whenever I settle him down to nurse on that side. He won't do it. You can lead a baby to the nipple, but you can't make him drink! But now that breast has realized that it's....less desirable. (to the baby! My husband & I like it just fine!) But the milk supply in that side has dropped considerably. I need to boost the milk production in it, despite what I have been told that it will be a fruitless effort. I've been told that this is the beginning of the end (& that breast will soon just stop producing milk). Apparently, when a breast's milk supply starts to go down, the sodium level rises, making the milk taste saltier. And who wants to drink salty milk? So the baby really starts to hate that breast, which in turn leads to the milk drying up completely.

But I refuse to give up. Here is my plan: I have begun drinking Milkmaid tea (by Earth Mama Angel Baby), which has been proven to raise milk levels. After just a couple of days of drinking it, I have noticed that Austin has been nursing on that side longer! I am thinking that if I began also pumping on that side, in addition to drinking the tea, I could bring milk production in that breast back up to normal! Wouldn't that be great?!

What do you think? Does it sound like an impossible feat? What about your little breastfeeder? Does he or she prefer one breast over the other?
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