Mothers’ Stories Breastfeeding with Polycystic disorder. I was also incredibly A local LLL Leader observed us. Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) frightened of miscarrying again. But the pregnancy lasted and the The latch was still perfect, but after weighing Isabella a few times only obstacle was my gestational after nursing we found that little diabetes. to no milk was being transferred. She’d lost close to 14 percent of The hospital staff was helpful her birth weight. I couldn’t pump and supportive in my decision a drop, and the fullness I had to breastfeed and room in. They experienced shortly after birth was did not supplement my daughter gone. Tearfully, reality set in that with any formula. And though supplementation was inevitable. we were separated for four hours after the birth, Isabella Rose and Rule No. 1: feed the baby, by I shared a 40-minute, blissful first any means necessary. Goat’s nursing session. The memory is rue, fenugreek, Motherlove’s foggy because of the medications More Milk Plus, lots of water, I received, but I will remember it quinoa—nothing seemed to help forever. She latched on like a pro me produce more milk. I went and I marveled at her perfection. to an endocrinologist to check my hormone levels. Long story I ’ve redefined what breastfeeding means to me. It’s Photo: Anna Earley and Izzy personally tailored to each baby. Every nursing relationship is different—no two are alike. When I got pregnant with my first child, a son, back in 2005, I We nursed round the clock, on short, I received a diagnosis promised myself I would breastfeed him. I didn’t educate myself or build demand and exclusively from that of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome up a support system, like so many new moms do. I thought breastfeeding moment forward. And though (PCOS). PCOS is a hormonal would come naturally. After about two weeks of supplementing my my baby slowly lost a bit of disorder similar to diabetes. son Aidan’s feedings with formula milk, he was no longer interested weight, the hospital staff seemed Mothers, especially those who in breastfeeding, and we bottle-fed from then on. My well-intentioned unconcerned as she was passing noted no breast growth during husband urged me on with praise and told me that I had tried my best. urine and stools. Three days later pregnancy, may have inadequate Aidan needed to eat, he wasn’t gaining weight and he was hungry. we went home. I felt my milk mammary tissue. I began my After many tearful days and nights, and a brief bout of postpartum come in on day four. My baby goat’s rue regimen again, depression, I found peace, vowing to educate myself and promising nursed herself to sleep and she added shatavari (asparagus myself that my future children would be breastfed. seemed content. On the sixth day, racemosus), Motherlove’s More my breasts felt empty and on the Milk Special Blend and was given When my son was almost a year old, I became pregnant again. I seventh day the crying started. a prescription for domperidone.* I quickly called my local La Leche League Leaders and started attending She was attached to me every drank special teas as well. I got a meetings. Even after a miscarriage, I continued attending the meetings. minute. Thank goodness for my good pump and began working. I needed and wanted all the information I could get. I read all the husband taking some time off to My supply has gone up, but only breastfeeding books I could find. The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding stay home and care for our four- slightly. It’s minimal, but still more proved to be an invaluable resource for me. I got to educate my year-old, because I did not have than before. husband during this time as well and, two years later, armed with one moment when Isabella was knowledge, resources and an unfailing support system, I became not latched on. She was hungry, Isabella Rose is now 12 weeks pregnant again. My main concerns at first were 1) my recent diagnosis she was nursing to sleep, but she old. She still latches on like a of celiac disease and my prenatal health and 2) my first son. He is a was not happy. pro. She refuses the breast in the wonderful, happy child, who is very high maintenance due to his autistic late evening, almost knowing 10 New Beginnings | Issue 3 | 2010 Mothers’ Stories intuitively that is when my breasts that day, I will keep on taking the Endings and Beginnings have the least amount of milk in extracts, the teas, and the herbs. I them. I pump instead. Nearly will continue to pump after every every feeding is followed by a nursing session until the day that bottle. Nursing is her appetizer signals the end. What that signal and her bottle is her main will be we have yet to find out. But course—except for the first feeding for now, this is how it is. of the day. It’s bittersweet and far from Already sleeping through the perfect, a little sad, but also night, she wakes to find my wonderful. breasts full and leaking. She nurses calmly, happily, on both Thank you La Leche League. I sides, and it’s enough. She nurses could not have done it without herself back to sleep. If she you. doesn’t empty my breasts, I pump, but that’s not often. I know as she Anna Earley, Bellport, Long grows, my morning supply may Island, NY, USA have to be supplemented as well, * In many countries doctors prescribe but for now, it’s enough. domperidone, a drug used to treat gastrointestinal disorders, as a galactogogue. It stimulates milk production I’ve redefined what breastfeeding by increasing the milk-making hormone means to me. It’s personally prolactin. Domperidone has few side effects, but it is currently not approved tailored to each baby. Every by the FDA in the United States. Some physicians, however, may be willing nursing relationship is different— to prescribe it for a mother who needs no two are alike. Many are cut to increase her milk supply. For more information on domperidone in the USA short, accompanied by tears, see http://tinyurl.com/domperidone-safe while others go on for years LLLI does not recommend the herbs referred without a hitch. Ours, though to. supplemented, is continuing. I’m fortunate enough not to have Resource Marasco, L., MA, Photo: Kelly Langdon and her baby experienced a clogged duct, IBCLC, Polycystic Ovary mastitis, sore or bleeding nipples. Syndrome Leaven April/ My baby’s latch is still as beautiful May 2005, 27–29. When I was pregnant with my first child I decided I would breastfeed. I as it was on day one. http://www.llli.org/ had a background in public health and had read several baby books, llleaderweb/LV/ so I knew the importance of breastmilk, but never did I imagine what a She prefers a bottle at night, LVAprMay05p27.html big part of my life breastfeeding would become. G but her very last nibble is at the breast. Whether there’s any milk there or not, it brings her the peace she needs to sleep. She’s oing back to work when Owen was three my dearest little nursling and I’m so grateful for the gift I’m able to months old was probably the most difficult give, however small it may be. And even more grateful for the gift thing I’ve ever done. It felt so wrong to be it’s given me. This is mothering— doing everything I can to give her what’s best, no matter what. separated from my baby. I had hoped to give birth naturally, but became the victim of a totally She’s getting more breastmilk than many babies do at her age. medicalized experience. After a long induced labor and delivery, And there’s no end in sight. Until which included an epidural, Owen entered the world. I put him to my breast soon after his arrival, but found he wasn’t very interested in breastfeeding. We could barely wake Owen up to nurse. The hospital 2010 | Issue 3 | New Beginnings 11 Mothers’ Stories staff was hesitant to release they would satisfy him. Once he his second birthday, I realized I I didn’t waste any time getting a us because no one had seen latched on and realized he was couldn’t remember the last time he lactation consultant to assist me. him nurse and I had refused getting milk and lots of it, he never nursed. This realization saddened It took us about four weeks to get any supplementation. We were turned back. He gained weight me as much as it excited me. I the hang of breastfeeding and reluctantly released from the quickly and by the time he was knew my baby was growing up for my nipples to heal entirely. hospital and told a nurse would a week old he was happy and and becoming more independent. There were days I couldn’t feed be sent to our home for a follow- thriving. But that was the longest But a part of me regretted her at all and had to pump my up visit in a week’s time. week of my life. not having one last nursing milk instead. And there were days experience to savor. when I cried in pain throughout Those first days at home were Going back to work when all of the feedings. But again, very difficult. Breastfeeding was Owen was three months old was A few weeks later, Owen hurt we made it, and now Adler and not going well and Owen was not probably the most difficult thing himself and asked to nurse for I are reaping the benefits. She is sleeping at night—nobody can I’ve ever done. It felt so wrong the first time in weeks. I agreed a healthy three-month-old, who is prepare first-time parents for the to be separated from my baby. and pulled him up into my lap, still an avid breastfeeder. I look lack of sleep. He would latch onto The one thing that helped me get excited for one last nursing forward to our long breastfeeding my breast and attempt to nurse, through those days was pumping experience with him. But as soon relationship. but he was impatient and easily my milk for him. To be providing as he latched on, he looked up at frustrated. It seemed he was not him with something no one else me with his big blue eyes, lost in While breastfeeding Owen getting enough milk, as he would could made me feel somehow thought, came off my breast for I turned my passion for suck for a few minutes and then closer to him, even though I wasn’t the last time and said, “No, no breastfeeding into a career start screaming uncontrollably with him. mama.” He pulled my shirt down and became the Statewide like he wanted something more. but continued to snuggle against Breastfeeding Coordinator for Eventually he refused to nurse I was on a strict schedule, my chest. Our breastfeeding Nevada. I have been enjoying altogether and started screaming pumping twice a day at work relationship had ended, but it was my job for over a year now, and every time I offered my breast and going to his daycare center a relationship I was immensely feel extreme satisfaction every to him. I kept trying, and we every day at lunchtime to nurse proud of and would treasure time I help a new mom learn to would cry together each time. him—I couldn’t imagine any other forever. breastfeed. I am about to return to Even with the amazing support option. I kept this up until he was work from maternity leave, but this of my husband and mother, I 13 months old when he started Around this time I discovered I time I get to bring baby Adler with felt lost and confused and didn’t drinking cows’ milk during the was pregnant with my second me to the office. know what to do. I’d never day. But when I was home he child. I wanted a natural birth imagined breastfeeding could continued to breastfeed and those this time to start my breastfeeding Kelly Langdon, Carson City, be so challenging and thought I times became special to us both. relationship in a more positive Nevada, USA must be doing something wrong. way. I am convinced the drugs I spoke to a lactation consultant, My goal had always been I received during Owen’s labor and although she was comforting, to breastfeed for a year, but and delivery caused most of the nothing she said helped our Owen’s birthday came and went breastfeeding problems I had “Mothers’ Stories” are edited by situation. and I never considered ending with Owen. So I read natural LLL Leader Brenda Carroll, who something that meant so much to childbirth books, attended local lives in Shawnee, Kansas, USA It seemed to take a long time for both of us. Many of my friends Birth Network meetings, and even with her husband, Scott, and their my milk to “come in.” And during were surprised I was nursing him hired a doula. My entire labor three sons, Ian, Noah, and Kyan. those first few days I considered for so long, but no one was more and delivery lasted less than She is an International Board feeding him formula on multiple surprised than me. I never thought three hours and was completely Certified Lactation Consultant in occasions. One day I woke from I would be “one of those women” drug-free. private practice. a nap and my husband and mom nursing a toddler. Please send your stories to told me they had fed Owen some My daughter, Adler, latched email@example.com formula using a syringe. The Owen nursed less and less. onto my breast within minutes formula seemed to satisfy him, Soon he only asked to nurse in of her birth and didn’t let go for but made me feel like a complete the mornings and evenings, and about 24 hours. As a result, my failure. eventually he quit his morning milk came in very quickly, and session. But for months he my breasts were extremely full On Owen’s fifth day of life I finally continued to nurse before bed. by day two. Adler did not latch woke up to full breasts and hoped Then just a few weeks shy of on well and my nipples were bleeding by her third day of life. 12 New Beginnings | Issue 3 | 2010 Copyright of New Beginnings is the property of La Leche League International and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use.