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!
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