Yesterday we got some good news: Conan gained eight ounces in the last week! He's now up to 11 lbs 3 oz. This is a big deal, as he had not gained any weight at all between Feb 5th and the 17th. It seems my milk supply was not keeping pace with the needs of a growing baby with a Mapes metabolism.
Our new pediatrician, the wonderful Dr. Floyd, had prescribed me a medication to help increase my milk supply, but unfortunately I had a serious reaction to it and had to stop taking it just when it seemed to be starting to work. So last week we started offering Conan formula in a bottle twice a day after he nursed, and it seems to have really helped get him back on track. He'll take 2-4 oz. of it each time, he's a hungry little guy. Now that we've seen the results, we're going to start offering the bottle at every feeding. I'm a little sad that he won't be 100% breastfed, but it's way more important to me that he gets the nutrition he needs to grow up big and strong. And he'll still get all the antibodies and other good stuff from the breastmilk. In addition, we're hoping that he will start sleeping better and not be as fussy, now that he'll have a full tummy.
I have been surprised at every step of the reproductive process at how hard it really is. Getting pregnant, being pregnant, giving birth, dealing with a newborn, and lactating have all presented unexpected challenges. (I can't help but wonder if I might have had an easier time if I'd done it ten years ago.) Breastfeeding was something I expected to be really easy - I am a mama mammal, so by definition my baby and I should be able to do it, right? But my milk took a long time to come in (we were supplimenting with formula from a small tube (SNS) for the first several weeks of Conan's life), and then when it finally did come it was extremely painful. It took several weeks of suffering to get Conan trained in making a good latch, as he had a tendency to "bite" or clamp my nipple hard with his gums. I had some trouble with blocked ducts, not to mention cracked, chapped, and bleeding nipples. So it was really disappointing to realize that just when we had gotten the mechanics down that my milk production was insufficient. Sigh. But when we weighed him yesterday and saw how much weight he had gained, all my reservations about using the formula just disappeared. It feels so good to know he's getting enough to eat, that's all that matters. :)