Thursday, April 21, 2011

Feeding Ellie

Saying that breastfeeding Ellie thus far has been frustrating would be an understatement. The first few days of breastfeeding were normal, no problems. As my milk came in more and more we started the breastfeeding battles. Ellie knew she liked it, but had a hard time when my milk came down. She would choke and gulp and end up with a belly full of air. She still does this. Eight weeks later it has not gotten much better. I can never tell if she is upset because she is getting too much milk or not enough. Sometimes she wants me as a pacifer and gets mad when milk comes out. As much as I like the cuddles, I am here for nutrition. This is super frustrating because Whitney was on me all the time and content as could be, whether she was hungry or not. Ellie breastfeeds the best if she is sleepy and calm. Therefore she feeds well at night. Thank goodness! I have been forced to pump during the day and she drinks out of bottles. More fun....

I exclusively breastfed for the first two weeks before I broke out the bottles. We started with formula to supplement and she took it just fine. She seemed to prefer bottles to breast during the day so I started pumping. I hated pumping. I have by far pumped more in the last month than I did for 11 months with Whitney. At first I didn't have enough so we mixed bm(breast milk) with formula until I built up my supply. Feeding became hit or miss and frustrating for both of us again. I noticed that she struggled with bm but did fine with formula so I always made sure it was mixed. I thought it was because bm is thinner than formula and that it came out faster and she choked on it. Well, I was building up quite the stock pile from all my pumping and mixing. I started taking a swig of her milk after it was heated to check it instead of sticking my finger in her bottle and I noticed my milk tasted like soap. Literally. I remember it tasting like that with Whitney's milk that I had froze and thawed and assumed it went bad somewhere in the storing process. Well, my milk for Ellie that had been in the fridge for no more than two days tasted awful like soap. No wonder Ellie didn't want to drink anything!!! I suppose if there was enough formula in there it masked the taste of my soapy bm.
I googled soapy tasting breast milk and it turns out that I have a high level of lipase in my milk. Lipase is a naturally occuring enzyme that helps to break down fat. With my high levels it starts to break down the milk faster. I did a whole lot of bm tasting yesterday and dumped about 12 oz of milk. It was heartbreaking to see all that liquid gold go down the drain! From what I figured out on the internet is that it is pretty rare to have high levels, it is not caused by food I eat or anything else, and that the only way to nuetralize this enzyme is to scald the milk before storing it. I don't need to scald it if I use it that day. With all my taste testing (yeah kind of gross to be drinking my own milk) I figure I have about eight hours to use my milk if it is not scalded. We are now pumping and using my milk immediately. Ellie seems happier with fresh, no formula added bm. I have no idea if high levels of lipase is an issue with my health. If anyone has any time to look it up let me know. Maybe it just means that I can eat a pan of brownies in less than two days and it doesn't affect me!

I have also had mastitis three times already. The first time being the worst. I never got mastitis once with Whitney. With Whitney being two (two on May 1) and seeing that she is healthy as a horse with very minor illnesses she gets over quickly, I am determined to continue breastfeeding with Ellie. I read to get the full benefits of breastfeeding you need to do it for six months. I agree that any breast milk is beneficial and have no ill feelings to moms who can't or choose not to, or do for a while and then stop just because. I would totally throw in the towel this time around if it wasn't so good for them. And you're probably thinking, well you're a SAHM, you have time to pump, scald, and bottle feed. Um, not really. It definitely makes the day a lot busier with needing to pump and clean parts every 2-3 hrs. I feel like a freaking cow called into the barn for milking.

I think we have this feeding issue under control now. Oh yeah, did I mention that she is a very sensitive eater too? If you move or talk it startles her and throws her off and she chokes and gulps. Not very easy to stay quiet with a toddler at home. Maybe we'll continue to get into this routine of pumping and nursing and I can stick it out with breastfeeding. Wish me luck!


  1. Whoa. That is crazy. And I don't think it is gross at all you taste your own milk, I always do and it is sweet. Got to love Dr. Google, you can find anything on there. Who would have thought. Poor girl she is getting her mouth washed out with soap everyday. HA! Ok it isn't funny, but at least you have an answer. I am going to look into it for you from an RD side of things, I have never heard of such a thing, surely something is causing your body to over produce lipase. But hey if you can eat all the fat you want and not gain too many pounds! :)

    And I hope no one thinks you have time for pumping and scalding etc, if they do then screw 'em. ;)

    MW is doing the same thing pulling off {hard I might add} when distracted, shoot some days he won't even nurse...just goes w/o b/c he hates bottles. Grrr.

    You made me laugh about the milking cow thing.
    Wishing you lots of luck.

  2. I am just amazed at this!! Breastfeeding can be so hard and difficult and I am so PROUD of you sticking with it!!!! You are such a good momma!! Keep us updated about what you find out. I hear of more and more issues with mom's trying to breastfeed and it makes me nervous that this time around for me will be difficult!!

    p.s I have been thinking about miss whitney and her b-day.

    p.s.s Landrey and I watched the video of ellie like 25 times in a row--no joke!! She loves videos. I told her that was whitneys baby sister and just the other day another one of my friends posted a video on facebook and Landrey came running and stopped to watch/listen and said "whitney's baby sister" I cracked up laughing!!

    We miss you guys!!

  3. Stef- So sorry to hear you are having troubles! It's a difficult thing to much easier to throw in the towel, but you are amazing to keep with it. I pumped exclusively for Jackson starting at 2 weeks cause he didn't latch ever... so I hear your pain. It gets easier as they grow though, because you don't have to pump as often. If you can get an extra set (or 2) for your pump, it's not very expensive and it saves you SO much time. Check out my Mommy blog for other pumping tips if you need any. It's something you just do and it will get better!!

    BTW- anyone in their right mind would not think because you stay home it's easy. I worked with Jman and it was EASY compared to staying home with 2 kids. :)

    Hope everything is working better now that you know what to do! Take care!

  4. Oh girl, I so applaud you for sticking it out! So many moms would have already thrown in the towel! I dont have to tell you how I feel about breastfeeding, so Im so so proud of you for not giving up. I have had mastitis this time too, not sure whats up with that cause i only ever had it once with Abby. I do know that when you start pumping a lot and your body starts trying to keep up, your risk of mastitis is increased (its because the pump is not as efficient as your baby)also, we had trouble with abby gulping, coughing and wheezing. It was combo of I had an over-active let down (i was drowining her) and she has underdeveloped swallowing reflexes and reflux. you might have her checked out for reflux just to be safe. She could be throwing up in her mouth and you would never know it while she eats. and since your breast has a "let down" and a bottle doesnt, the reflux tends to be worse when they breastfeed because its too much too fast. Trust me, been there. They give them a very low dose of zantac and it does wonders! Good luck, keep us posted! And again, kuddos to you!!

  5. Ok so I have put it to my listserv and been googling myself b/c this is so interesting. This is what I have found thus far. Some say it could be your tap water and the metal ions increasing the high levels of lipase...and suggest trying distilled to wash your pump and maybe even drink?! Otherwise, no ideas as you said to lower lipase levels.

    Also, if she nurses straight your milk shouldn't be sour. I have never tasted my expressed milk after it has sat awhile, but this seems to be a common problem for lots of women. I know Micah use to take a bottle and now doesn't. He will take a bottle if it is a fresh hot bottle, so it makes me wonder about my milk.

    Anyway, do you have a lactation place you can go to see if Ellie has latch issues or like someone said mild reflux? It IS no fun to go w/ a toddler but it could be beneficial so you could stop pumping so much. Ok so those are my ideas. Here is the site I found most of what I said on:

  6. Thanks for all the encouragement girls!! I have been pumping and using the milk immediately and all is okay now. I did taste some milk that had been in the fridge about 3.5 hrs and it was already getting a slight soapy taste. I guess I have about 3-4 hrs if I haven't scalded the milk.

    Michelle, I don't think it's the water I drink, unless it was the water I grew up on. I move way too much and with Whitney I noticed my milk was soapy tasting but just thought it was bad and we lived in MO then. Any findings on high lipase and my health? I'm going to guess it's nothing.