Monday, January 22, 2007

Breastfeeding is not magic... it just looks that way!

We're finished the 24-hour weigh-ins and have learned alot. First, the greatest news: Demeter has gained 140 grams in the past three days! This is after averaging around 16 grams a day for a couple weeks! It turns out that the drop-off in weight gain was not really related to Demeter's heart problem, but was more due to the faulty latch that the lactation consultant corrected for us on Friday.

What seems to have happened is that at the 6-week growth spurt that babies go through, Demeter's latch wasn't good enough to increase my milk supply - she was still taking in the same amount as she did before the growth spurt happened, not the increased amount she really needed to grow. With the new, improved latch, she's been able to increase my milk supply in a short period of time - thus the major weight gain!

What else might have helped Demeter's weight gain? I really concentrated on nursing by being a quiet room with minimal distraction, doing manual compression, and observing her cues.

We're going to keep the scale around so we can keep tabs on the weight gain in the future - there were signs that I completely missed by only weighing her once every two weeks. I hope we head into surgery before I ever need to start supplementing her.

More thoughts:

- I wonder if this is what happens with many babies with CHD, since it's even more important for them to nurse efficiently than other babies. Maybe the drop-off in weight-gain at 6-8 weeks that occurs with CHD babies has something to do with them not being able to stimulate production (due to lack of energy combined with inefficient nursing) as well as the increased pressure in the lungs.

- What's frustrating about all this is that I know if I explain to the doctors what happened (improved latch = more weight gain) I know she just won't care, since doctors don't know anything about breastfeeding anyway. They seem to think it's unquantifiable magic. I prefer to think this lack of knowledge is due to cultural bias combined with lack of education, but some people think it's all about the money.

1 comment:

caedmon said...

what good news.....