With my first 3 boys, I struggled with my milk supply. I ended up with my first on half formula, only breastfeeding until 9 months when I got pregnant. He stopped nursing cold turkey, apparently because of the taste change. My second son ended up in the hospital diagnosed as “failure to thrive” because he was not gaining much weight. I have been determined to try to exclusively breastfeed and not introduce any formula, but after spending time in the hospital, trying a hospital grade pump and working with lactation consultants, it was decided that I should just supplement with formula. So when my third son was born, I didn’t even “take the chance” and supplemented with formula from day one. It was never what I wanted to do, but I felt like my body was not properly caring for my children the way I thought it should.
Before my 4th son was born, I decided I was going to have my placenta encapsulated. I had a wonderful, fast labor resulting in a fat little 9 pounder. I had a great friend and placenta encapsulator come over and prepare my placenta. I also had purchased some More Milk Special Blend because I was DETERMINED I was NOT going to be talked into giving my baby formula this time. I was going to do everything possible to convince my body that it was going to do its job and not fail me. I took my placenta pills religiously and choked down the awful More Milk liquid as often as I could and I nursed. I nursed when I was hungry. I nursed when I was tired. I nursed when I was in the bathtub. I nursed when I sat on the toilet. I nursed when I didn’t want to nurse and then I nursed, nursed, nursed some more.
Then came the judgement day when I had to take my son for his well child check ups. What I feared to hear, my son was underweight. I just COULD NOT BELIEVE IT!! He ate ALL the time. He peed and pooped ALL the time. How could he possibly not be in the right place on the weight chart? Luckily, we had found a wonderful pediatrician who never suggested to supplement with formula. She would have us come in, weigh the baby, nurse the baby, then weigh the baby again to see that he WAS indeed getting milk. He was meeting all of his milestones and he looked healthy as can be. The only “problem” was that he was “underweight”. As my 4th son got older, we began to introduce fatty foods like avocados into his diet and he very slowly began to gain weight. We had monthly weight checks and always kept an eye on his health, but never once was it suggested that my body was not doing what it was supposed to do.
ALL BABIES ARE DIFFERENT!! Some babies are fat and some babies are skinny. Some babies are off the charts, some babies are always in the 50th percentile and some babies are never even ON the charts. Don’t let some chart that wants to tell you how much your baby SHOULD weigh, but follow your baby’s cues. My little guys have a short dad, so it’s not terribly surprising that they are on the petite side. My body never did fail me to begin with, but those around me that should have realized that I just have small, slow gaining babies DID. They made me feel inadequate where I was not. They made me feel like I was not cut out for breastfeeding. My 4th son just turned 3 years old yesterday and today, I cannot get him to wean to save my life. My 5th son, also a fat baby at birth, but a tiny guy and slow gainer is now 9 months old and breast feeds like a champ. We decided to forego the stress of the constant weigh-ins and just let the little guy be who he is. He is smart, funny and definitely not behind or lacking anything. My body has nourished one child for 3 years straight and he’s still going, so I’m pretty proud of all of me!
Ask questions! Get second and third opinions! Chances are, your body is doing exactly what it should be doing to nourish your baby. Just because your baby’s size doesn’t fit into a perfect little box or in the “right” spot on some chart, don’t think that it is because you have failed. Even if you end up having to supplement with formula, you have not failed because you wanted and tried to give your baby the very best! Sometimes it works out how we want it, and sometimes it doesn’t for so many reasons. If you need a better support system, let us know!! We are here to support ALL MOMS!! I had to create a support system of friends online to have the courage to breastfeed without fear. If I can do it, you can too!