I will tell you this post will have a bit of too much information regarding nursing and myself, but I wanted to share my story in hopes that it may help other women out there.
As some of you know, I have always had difficulty in nursing my wee little ones. With Karol, it was thought that there were latch issues and my midwife worked with me just about everyday for a week to help me with the latch. In addition to her, there were a few women from the local La Leche League who came over to check out the latch too. Everything checked out, but Karol was not gaining weight. For some reason, I just did not have the milk. I had much guilt at that time, thinking that because it took so long for me to figure out that darn latch thing, my milk just did not come in.
We supplemented with formula using a Supplemental Nursing System (SNS) to help him get any milk I did have and give him the nutrition that he needed. It wasn’t easy, but we used it for about five months, alternating with bottles.
When Margaret was born, we waited to see if my milk would come in and after four days, nothing, so we began supplementing. It was hard, but not as hard as it was with Karol. Margaret supplemented using the SNS for about ten weeks, then we took a job in Illinois and it was hard to supplement using the nurser, so she went on bottles.
I had resigned myself to the fact that I could not fully nurse my children. I accepted this as my cross and was joyful (for the most part) in that.Â I figured that God had blessed me with these wee little souls and if I could not feed them as He had intended, He had a reason for it.
Caecilia came along, we followed the same route we did with Margaret, beginning the supplement at four days. With Caecilia though, I used the SNS exclusively for four months, until she started needing more food than the SNS held. I was very proud that Caecilia was nursed for that long, even if using the SNS. I used it in public and in front of friends,Â sharing my struggles with those who asked.
My midwife with Benedict has helped me quite a bit in upping my supply. I am taking herbal supplements along with pumping and I have much more milk than ever before. We do have to supplement, but he is taking quite a bit less than the other kids did but is gaining weight!
I started looking a bit further in to the cause of my lack of lactation. Most websites on breastfeeding talk of all the reasons a woman might have low milk supply. The reasons for it may range from bad latch to hormonal imbalance to poly-cystic ovarian syndrome. I do not have any of those problems, so what could it be?Â Few websites address reasons beyond those listed for low milk supply and I have never seen one that said there may be a physical problem with the mother, where her body just does not have the ability to produce milk, because she just does not have the parts.
Until now. After much research and clicking on many links, I found this. I was so thrilled, I almost cried.
Insufficient glandular development. Very rarely, a mother’s breasts will not be able to produce an adequate milk supply for her baby. Simply put, the milk ducts and glands have not developed well enough to properly work. Mothers with this condition typically report that their breasts did not change in size or shape during pregnancy. There may also be a marked difference in the size or shape of the breasts. There is no note of the “milk coming in” during the early days postpartum and the breasts never feel full or engorged. These mothers should still be encouraged to breastfeed. While their babies will need to be supplemented in order to receive enough milk, the amount of mother’s milk received will still be invaluable.
While not what I wanted to hear, it was a start. I spoke with a Lactation Consultant and she suggested this may be the problem. She also said that with each child, the milk ducts and glands will develop more, so there will be more milk with each child. This explains why I have more now than with any other child.
I do not like the idea that I will probably never be able to fully nurse my children, I am glad to know there is a reason.
I also wanted to share a few websites that have helped me out with regard to nursing and has answered many questions about feeding my wee little ones.