Sunday, January 21, 2007

Lactation Station

Demeter has been falling off in her weight gain; this is one of the signs of congestive heart failure, but she's also had a cold so I went to a highly-recommended lactation consultant for advice and suggestions on what to do next.

The lactation consultant corrected my latch so that Demeter could feed more efficiently from the breast, and we weighed her before and after the feed. The LC recommended that I take home a hospital-grade scale and weigh Demeter during 2 24-hour periods to see if she was taking in enough milk for optimal growth. I suspect that she's not, and that I will soon have to supplement her feeds.

It used to be that doctor's recommended that babies with CHD not be breastfed, because breastfeeding is more work than bottlefeeding, and those babies need to conserve their energy. Recent studies, however, have suggested that breastfed infants with CHD gain weight faster than bottlefed babies; in fact, the American Heart Association says that breastfeeding may not be more work than bottlefeeding, since oxygen saturation levels are much better when babies feed from the breast. Either way, the usual recommendation for babies with CHD who are starting to fail is that they be supplemented with breastmilk and a breastmilk fortifier after a regular feed from the breast.

Since one of my biggest worries is that an extended period of bottlefeeding before and after surgery might negatively affect Demeter's and my breastfeeding relationship, I am going to try supplementing her using a Lact-Aid filled with my breastmilk (specifically, the high-calorie hindmilk), and try to avoid the formula-based fortifier, if possible.

So far, the weigh-ins have been kind of a pain-in-the-ass, but I have learned alot, besides just how much Demeter is taking in. First, the scale is in our bedroom, so I have relative peace-and-quiet during feeding sessions; Demeter certainly seems to nurse better with fewer distractions. Also, she nurses many times and gets a little bit each time; this is consistent with feeding recommendations for CHD babies, as they can rest between feedings and not tire themselves out. Since I feed her on demand, she seems to have worked out this system for herself!


caedmon said...

Thank you for doing this. I think this will be very helpful for all of us. Especially since you give us links for us to learn more. I love you guys (fancy lady, catnip caper, mommy and daddy, and lovely demeter).

VM said...

Thank you