Monday, December 13, 2010

Induced Lactation - Adoptive Breastfeeding - Adoptive Nursing - Part 3

Okay, I am finally back again! 
I need to finish blogging about breast feeding so that I can move on to other more festive subjects. J  Right?

Picking up where I left off on the last blog with

Week 3
This week was similar to week 2. I spent a good deal of time online reading everything that I could find on the subject of induced lactation
All my reading, lead me to believe that I really MUST use domperidone if I wanted any notable success.  I broke down and ordered one box of the stuff from a source in Canada.  I still can’t believe that I did this, but I was pretty discouraged.   I was feeling really impatient with my slow progress.
I dreaded the questions from my wonderful, well meaning friends.  I really tried to stay positive for my own sake, but I felt like crying, “A lot of no progress, and I am so discouraged.” 
The hard part was that I knew, they would all assure me that it would be okay to bottle feed and I shouldn’t stress about it.  I just wasn’t ready to hear that or to allow myself to consider stopping even though I was really discouraged.  I gave myself lots of little pep talks. All the info said that 12 weeks was how long it took to really stabilize anything and I was only ¼ there .  I told myself daily that it would come, sooner or later and probably later. L

It was during this week that we ran out of our donated breastmilk stash and I started giving her formula – some of the stuff that was sent home from the hospital with us.  Ugghh!
It was not a happy time.  She went from being a very contended baby to a miserable colicky baby overnight.  In the hospital they had already figured out that she was lactose intolerant and had released her on Similac Sensitive. Now I understood why the nurses told me that she was a high demand baby.  Suddenly she was, and her diapers were a nasty green and she got horribly constipated. Poor baby!

Two dear friends, Susie and Elizabeth, started donating breast milk.  It wasn’t enough on its own.

 But I discovered that if I mixed half formula with half breastmilk and added a digestive enzyme powder. She could handle it relatively well though she wasn’t as happy and content as before.  Her diapers were still occasionally green, but she was having normal bowel movements and was able to nap without waking up screaming with her little legs pulled up against her belly.
Now I had a real motivator to keep going! I knew I couldn’t rely on donated breastmilk forever and I really, really didn’t want to do soy formula.  Soy would be my only other option out there.  
Just for the record,
I also tried making the Sally Fallon formula from Nourishing Traditions and the poor little girl was in miserable agony for hours.  It was heartbreaking.  I know it had to be all the lactose that is added into the recipe.  In the spring I may try again with goat milk when our goat freshens. I think I would swap brown rice syrup for the lactose, unless I think of a better option between now and then.

Week 4
Somewhere about half way through week 4 I started to get worried because Lexie wasn’t finishing the supplement and I was so worried because she is already small to start with.  I would keep offering her more and she would scream at me in frustration.  At the end of each feeding she would be all worked up from frustration and I would be nearly in tears.  Why wouldn’t she finish nursing?  Why would she only nurse on one sided and refuse the other?  Why wouldn’t she even finish what was in the Lact-aid?
  Dh came to my rescue and reminded me that she was probably just getting more from me.  Uh………………duh, right?  Why are mommy brains so dense? Seriously, you would think that I could have figured out that much on my own.
 Lexie wasn’t feeding any more frequently, but supplement dropped from 2.5 ounces  down to anywhere between 1.5 and 2 ounces.  So when I finally realized what was going on I stopped trying so hard to make her eat and did my own little victory dance.  I figured now we are finally getting somewhere and I was thrilled.
I also did some rather extensive research during this week on formula and ended up ordering
Organic Baby’s First – Lactose Free  Formula

 No Chinese dairy products, 100% organic, no corn syrup, and no sucrose.  it is sweetened with brown rice syrup. It IS milk based, but lactose free  I felt a bit better about giving her this than the Similac Sensitive.

Week 5
Lexie nearly always refused to nurse both sides unless asleep. I really wanted to do the recommend feeding on both sides and then offer the supplemental feeding with the Lact-aid.  But she would scream in frustration when I tried this.  I guess it just didn’t come fast enough.  So I started trying to pump on the side she didn’t feed on and make sure to start her off on that side at the next feeding. It didn’t always happen, but I tried.  When I pumped I didn’t get very much, just 5-10cc,  I had to assume that she must be getting more than I could pump.  She was  having plenty of wet diapers and was alert and seemed to be doing fine
I had hoped to see her continue to drop the supplemental feeding amount but there was no decrease this week.

Week 6
Everything is the same, no notable changes besides maybe being able to pump just a tad more.  Again I am discouraged. Lexie feeds every three hours around the clock and isn’t interested at all if I offer nursing in between.

Week 7
Suddenly, overnight Lexie  started to take no more than 1.5 ounces and sometimes only 1 ounce of supplement.  If she is sleepy she will nurse without the Lact-aid for a few minutes.  Sometimes I can get her to nurse on both sides, I also have started switching her to the other side after she has taken about  ½ of the supplement.  I wish she would nurse for longer but she sucks hard and is done quickly.  I tell myself to try to pump more often or after each feeding but I am exhausted and it just isn’t happening.
Ironically, my domperodine finally arrives.  It goes on the shelf. If things are looking up. I would rather not use it.
This same week Lexie sleeps one night for 6 hours straight and it scares me when I wake up and see the time and she is still asleep.  From here away she goes a 4.5-5 hours stretch once each night.  With a time or two a bit longer than that.  I am excited because I know she must be getting more and is satisfied or she wouldn’t be sleeping this long at night.

Week 8
Supplemental amount stays the same, If she only nurses on one side I can usually pump an ounce.  I know that doesn’t sound like much but it feels great to be able to get enough to actually measure in ounces. Sometimes in the early morning I can get a good 1.5 ounces. 
Our routine has changed a bit. I now start nursing Lexie on the fullest side while I warm the supplement and will continue to nurse her as long as possible before offering the supplement.  Sometimes it is very short and other times I can nurse her and switch her to the other side before offering supplement.  It seems to depend a bit on her mood and how patient or hungry she happens to be. 
This week on two night time feedings she nursed on both sides and refused  supplement completely.  I can’t tell you how thrilled I was.

Week 9
We went to the pediatrician for her two month check this week.  I have been really worried that the pediatrician would be concerned about her weight gain and give me a hard time about breastfeeding.  He was happy with her weight gain and says she has stayed on the same curve and though she is small he doesn’t feel that it is any concern at all.  I was relieved to say the least. 
This is my first experience with pediatricians; my other boys have never ever been in a doctor’s office or an emergency room EVER.
 I couldn’t ask for a better pediatrician, and was so grateful for the great referral.  Amazingly and thankfully, this guy is okay with me not doing immunizations and all of that.  Big, big plus! Still after court finalization I won’t be doing anymore well baby visits. J

Okay, back on track now.
We have occasional feedings where we use no supplement but most feedings  we are still using the lact- aid and supplementing an average of 1 ounce.  Sometimes more, sometimes less.  I feel like we are doing a see saw.   One day she won’t nurse without the Lact-aid, the next she will nurse nicely without it and we will just finish up by offering it after nursing on both sides, and occasionally refusing any supplement.  She certainly will let me know when she is full. 
She still nurses for shorter periods of time than I wish she would, but at the same time I should be grateful that she has such a strong suck.
I am still struggling to get her to nurse on both sides.  Some feedings I just give up and let her nurse one side and then try to pump on the other side. Frequently when this happens,  I can pump after nursing her and get as much as she took from the Lact-aid or almost as much. I really wish she would be happy to always nurse without the Lact-aid, and use it only for extra.

Week 10
This week Lexie has started to nurse occasionally for comfort.  Sometimes she has acted like she wanted to nurse and so I start nursing her and offer the LAct-aid and she will repeatedly spit the tube out, or pull it out and go back to nursing.  This has been fun for me to see her obvious enjoyment in nursing even when I could tell she wasn’t getting much because she was seldom swallowing.
But this isn’t always the case.  Frequently she will still pull her head back and yell at me when I offer to comfort nurse her. 
Today has been one of those strange days where she has taken very little supplement but she has also nursed for very short periods of time and gets really upset when I try to offer her more.
I try to remind myself that she will nurse when she is hungry but it bothers me because she is so little.  My boys were all little “chug a lugs”.  Lexie is still only 20. ¼  inches long and weighs in  just under 8lbs.  That feels so tiny to me and I just want to fatten her up.  J  

Here is Lexie with her cousin who is just 4 week older than she is.  "Itty Bitty and Chunky Monkey". J

So there you have it.  I probably will do another post soon after the New Year and let you know how things are going after that magical 12 week point. 
For additional information and a question and answer blog, check out my newest post

11 Months of Adoptive Nursing


  1. Your Itty Bitty girl looks like she is doing well. She is so adorable. I must say that your determination is inspiring. Thanks so much for sharing! Love ya!

  2. I'm just so proud of you for sticking to it with all of the emotions and fears and doubts you've been through.

    GREAT JOB, mama!

    Lexie is doing so great, too!

  3. I am so proud of you too! She sure is a beauty:) I wanted to cry reading how that doctor and nurse treated you! You should send them a picture of her now and tell them she is one healthy baby girl who is breastfed:)And God made breast for that reason! lol

  4. Let me say, I think it is perfectly normal to only nurse on one side per feeding. The longer they stay on one, the richer the milk gets. My last only nursed on one side per feeding & never had a problem with not getting enough. But I don't know if it is different with induced lactation. Maybe you are doing it for a reason.

  5. Girl YOU ARE AN AMAZING MOMMA!! :o) You are doing a perfectly wonderful job..that baby looks happy and cute and NOT undernourished at all (this coming from a mom that definitely has skim milk, skinny babies, and one side nursers) and they all turned out ok (I know that is subjective *wink*) You are one determined woman LeAnn...just another reason why I love you!!

  6. God Bless you! God Bless you! That little grandbaby looks like she is getting well fed! Made me anxious for you of all the hard work you are putting into it. Duane, stand by your wife with all the encouragement you can give her.
    Mom B.

  7. Hey guys, thank you so much for all your encouraging comments. It means so much!!!


    With my two "homeade" boys I often only nursed on one side. It is really just an issue of trying to build supply to the point that, hopefully, we can get rid of the Lact-aid supplemental feeding. If you only nurse on one side, than each breast only gets the nursing stimulation about every 6 hours or so. But you are entirely correct that the hind milk is much richer and it is always good to nurse longer on one side than the other for this reason.

    You mustn't worry to much about me :-). I'll be ok. Still, it is rather nice to know that someone out there worries about me a bit. Comforting, somehow. :-0


  8. I'm so glad you found me and left a comment. I might never have found you had you surfed on through. Precious little girl, there. I nursed both of ours for about two and half years, each. And as strong an advocate as I am for mamma's milk, I don't think I would have been as determined and dedicated as you. People often marvel at my "ability" to nurse past six months or a year, but for me it was easier than bottles. I marvel at people like you who do it when it's not easier than bottles. Atta girl!

  9. LeAnn, I happened by your blog and was excited to read your adoptive breastfeeding story. Mine is just beginning. Our baby is due is April and I started inducing lactation a few months ago. Things are progressing nicely but too slowly for this impatient woman. As you know this is an exciting and scary time. Can't wait to have that baby in my arms God has blessed us abundantly. My cup runneth over.

  10. Amy, I am glad you found my blog. I am so excited for you as you begin this special journey. You are so right that it is a exciting and scary time. My prayers are with you, may God give you the desires of your heart and be with you each step of the way. Adoption is so dear to my heart, I am thrilled for you!!!!

  11. Hi LeAnn: I commend you for your strength and perseverance in breastfeeding your little girl. I am beginning to consider adoption myself (the reason I hesitate is that I have no husband and would be single-parenting) and planned to induce lactation if I ever took a child into my house (I am an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant and wouldn't envision any other option) . Hearing stories like yours gives me hope and a sense of community should I choose to go down this road.

    I hope you won't mind the comment, but I feel it's important to clear up one detail from your story. It is a common misperception that babies can be lactose intolerant, but this is not actually the case. The main sugar in breastmilk is lactose and babies get loads of it naturally through breastmilk. What is commonly misdiagnosed as lactose intolerance is actually allergic reaction to the protein in cow's milk (also present in infant formulas). Some babies appear to have an improvement in symptoms on a lactose-free formula but this is usually the "honeymoon period" of trying a new formula or a result of these milk proteins being further broken down in the lactose-free formula.

    I am glad your baby is now not having to take much (if any?) formula, but I have concerns about babies solely taking lactose-free products as lactose is also the ingredient in breastmilk most responsible for brain growth and development. There is no research yet to demonstrate that these formulas provide adequate nutrition for this brain growth.

    I just wanted to mention that, in case other readers are confused or considering their options. I am so happy for you that things have worked out so well and your beautiful little girl is growing so well on your milk. Every blessing on you and your family, Carrie


Thank you so much for stopping by and reading. You are always welcome here. Do leave me a comment or send me mail from my profile truly inspires me to keep blogging. Have a lovely day!