Have you struggled with breastfeeding? Milk supply low and baby not gaining weight? Do know someone who has? Well so have I but I’ve found something that works for me!
I am so excited about what we’ve found because I never thought anything could be done about it.
So travel back in time with me to my first two babies. Ben was a couple weeks old and quickly starting to look like a ghost. He’d lost a lot of weight but wasn’t gaining it back. My milk sucked. Enter formula supplementation and eventually breastmilk dried up altogether. I don’t even think it lasted 4 months. Maybe only 3.
A couple years later with William, mastitis twice and clogged ducts and just overall breastfeeding struggles, including very low supply, enter formula again. It probably lasted only 6 months this time which was better than with Ben but still a disappointment.
I then had 4 years to learn things that would help me this time around and I wanted things to be different! I learned what mastitis actually was and how it happened. I learned more about how milk is made. I realized just how dehydrated I was those first two times and how much water you actually need! This along with making sure I was getting enough protein (not enough protein, milk’s gonna suffer!).
So after Henry was born I was excited to implement all these things. I was drinking water like a horse and I also was not missing my protein drinks and meals which I also wasn’t doing before. I made sure that even though I was sore and cracked the first few days that no infection was able to get up there and cause mastitis by using coconut oil as a cream and it worked like a charm! Coconut oil is amazing isn’t it?
Once my nipples healed I was still struggling with a yeast problem on them and was worried about it passing to Henry’s mouth so I nipped that in the bud with a prescription nipple cream (Newman’s) that was like magic. Side note: not wearing a bra for a day or so really helped with that also. Problem was I couldn’t just not wear a bra.
Things were going great. I had milk for my baby Henry! Plenty of milk! And just to ensure that it never stopped we have rented a hospital grade pump from the hospital and I pump when I feel it’s needed. I’m certain that if I didn’t have the luxury of a pump that I’d already be on a downhill slope with my milk…especially since my right breast is basically retarded. All these things have worked together to help make my milk supply ‘enough’.
Around 3-4 weeks however, I noticed that maybe Henry was ‘skinnier’ than he should be. He had lost a lot of weight in his face and his limbs weren’t filling out like I guess babies would normally. Weighing him at home and with the midwife ensured us however that he was gaining weight so I tried not to worry.
But I remembered something I saw online and wanted to try it. So I pumped my milk and let it sit overnight allowing the cream to settle at the top so I could see how much FAT my milk had! Turns out not very much at all! It had just the thinnest line at the top so duh no wonder he wasn’t getting chubby! Ya, he had plenty of milk but not enough fat within that milk.
The question now was how to increase the fat content of my milk? The obvious answer was to start eating more fat, good fats. So I did that but it didn’t change anything. At this point I enlisted the help of my research junkie husband who spend a few minutes online and came up with a plan that he was pretty sure would work. I was so excited to try it because I knew it was probably our last resort before needing to supplement. Even though he was gaining weight it was at such a slow rate it was still a bit concerning.
The trick? Sunflower Lecithin!
It is an emulsifier of fat which means in layman’s terms, it makes the fat ‘slippery’ and easier to come out in the milk. This also may help prevent clogged ducts. So as they say it is supposed to increase the percentage of polyunsaturated fats in the milk.
On top of doing this I started taking a lipase enzyme to help me digest fat in general which I’ve always struggled with and have been meaning to do for years. Basically whenever I eat something with a high fat content like butter or cream etc I would not feel so great a few hours later. I just sorta suffered through it and mostly avoided too much but now that I’ve started taking this enzyme I’m kicking myself that I didn’t start sooner because it works for me! Bring on the cheesecake!
So, the ability to digest the fat I’m eating on top of taking the lecithin was the key! It’s working! My fat content has literally doubled and my babe is getting some noticeable chunk to him. Ok, he’s still no Pumba but he’s getting there.
The only down side? The lecithin in liquid form (much cheaper than the pill) is downright gross. But I’ve found I can stand it if I mix it with my butter and put it on toast and cover it with jam or cinnamon sugar or mix it in my protein shake. So I deal because it’s working!
It’s only been about a week so I’m anxious to see just how much it increases or if it’s topped off at doubling it. And I guess unless I eliminate one or the other I wont know if it’s exactly the combination of the two or maybe it’s just the lipase or just the lecithin. I’ll update you later.
For now, if you’re struggling with your baby gaining weight run out and grab you some sunflower lecithin! It worked for me! And let me know if it worked for you!
As I sit here and write this I can hear fireworks going on outside. My two big babies are sleeping, my little baby I just got to sleep and my big sidekick/hubby is also snoozing. I should be too but I’m waiting out the 45 minute period where my LO seems to wake up and if he does then staying awake is a whole lot easier than falling asleep, getting a 30 min nap and then being woken up and a zombie while I try to get him back to sleep. Plus, it’s new years! I’ll be able to have my own quiet little party.
It’s true that one of my ‘goals’ is to have a new years party some year, or maybe every year! A really cool, big one, you know the kind everyone wants to be at. But the truth is that’s just out of pure tradition and because it’s just what people do right? The change of one year to the next really hasn’t meant much to me other than just a change of a few numbers on my calendar. I guess that’s what parties help us do, they make the ‘change’ seem a whole lot more meaningful and exciting!
Sure it’s an opportunity to reflect and make changes, to start fresh. But we can also do that at Christmas, our birthday’s or any other day of the year really. I think it’s fair to say that as humans we have an affinity for fresh starts; a new week, a new school year, a new spirit, whatever it may be. It’s a chance to do things differently than we did before. To make progress.
So even though it’s just a few numbers changing on the calendar, or Sunday turning into Monday just like every other week in the history of the world, it’s still another opportunity where we can reflect and improve…party or not.
I’ve always loved New Years but didn’t know how to process it until now. It’s not about the parties, the traditions themselves but what they represent. Renewal.
So as I sit here quietly in my dark warm house with my frumpy pjs on, messy hair and loved ones dreaming around me I’ll be full of thanks for the opportunity I have to reflect and change, simple as it may happen.
Cheers to 2018!
2017 Blessings (in no particular order)
- Many memories for the boys, birthdays, gymnastics, soccer etc.
- David had big findings at school, was able to ‘graduate’ and we all had a big, fun party to celebrate.
- Found out we were expecting our 3rd baby! Born beautiful and perfect at home!
- Wonderful trips to St. George
- Family is everything!
- Able to live with Mimi and Papa for a while, just enough time for Lucie to make a new life long friend.
- Found our own home with lots of space and a wonderful area.
- So much progress with both businesses.
- Healthy, healthy, healthy!
- Did I mention a cute baby boy addition to our family?
- Decision to Homeschool Ben and William gets to enjoy preschool.
- 2 cars-whoohoo!
- Mom and Dad got to celebrate anniversary with a wonderful trip to Park City
- Sherwood and Stephenson family reunions
- We were able to start a garden!
- Not wanting for anything. We have food in the fridge, clothes on our bodies and always a warm bed to sleep in.
- David’s back/hip problems have finally resolved after 3 long years of pain and wondering if he would ever be truly fixed!
I love New Years. I’ve never been able to celebrate it like I want to; a big party with family and friends, glitz and glam, games and non-alcoholic beverages but music and dancing that would make outsiders think otherwise. I guess before I was married and had kids is when I came closest to that ideal but what I picture will be so much more. Maybe ringing in the year 2019 will be the one. Infact, that’s one of my goals. 🙂
For now, the year 2018 will have to be rung in with what I hope will be snores from each one of my adorable, loved family members. Snores instead of sparks and instead of kissing, snuggling in our beds.
Happy New Year everyone!
Yesterday was monumental for Henry. He took his first ride in the car, out of the house to Mimi’s and Papa’s! It was actually my first time out of the house since he came too but it’s not as monumental for me. 🙂
I was really nervous. Was he going to hate his carseat and cry the whole 25 min drive? Was he going to be unhappy the whole time we were there because it was out of his ‘routine’? Would it throw everything off and make our night horrible? Would it do me any good mentally or would the stress make it worse?
Well I’m happy to report that it was a very successful trip! The moment we got into the car he fell asleep and stayed asleep the whole time. Then when we got there he ate good and then was happy while everyone took turns holding him. He took a little power nap while we were all watching Elf and then even and then fell asleep again on the way home!
And as for that night, he was dreamy. We got home and he ate again and then slept for 5 hours, ate again and slept another 3 hours. The excessive stimulation didn’t seem to upset him too much! So needless to say I woke up pretty happy today.
Tomorrow we are scheduled to have another 2 outings, the first to see our midwife for his 2 week checkup and then again to Mimi’s for dinner because Clarky is in town! Yay!
So today, I’m staying in my jimmies. We both are. It’s going to be a chill day sandwiched between what I hope will be TWO very successful outing days.
In other news Lucie is here and we got some Christmas lights up! This will be a very memorable Christmas indeed! My whole family together with a very special addition.
I love my crew!