The never ending battle of breastfeeding

I wrote a number of posts on breastfeeding during Joshua’s first year of life.  Most of the posts were about the stress of trying to figure out how to produce an extra ounce of milk to feed my baby.  I took the maximum dosage of domperidone, and was also taking fenugreek seed and blessed thistle.  But for whatever reason, I physically cannot produce enough to exclusively breastfeed, so I’ve always had to supplement with formula.  It was something I really struggled with, because there was no correlation between my efforts and the result.


Now, the battle continues.  This time around with Savanna, I expected that I wouldn’t produce enough.  What I did not expect was that while I was still in the hospital, my doctor told me she would no longer prescribe domperidone because of a Health Canada black box warning.  For certain demographic, it raises the risks of cardiac arrest.

No domperidone?  Are you kidding me?  If I can’t be on that drug, I would have no hope of breastfeeding.

Domperidone is a drug often prescribed to women to help increase lactation, although the original intend of the drug was for something else.  I had taken the maximum dosage of domperidone when I was breastfeeding Joshua during his first year, but that was before the black box warning came out.

Luckily for me, the obstetrician on rotation that night at Women’s had no problem giving me the prescription for a 2-month supply of domperidone.  I filled the prescription, against my doctor’s advice.  I felt that I do not fit in the demographic of the people having issues with domperidone, and that I had no problems with it when I was on the drug the last time.  I’ve decided to take the medication.

Vancouver Breastfeeding Clinic

Still, even with the medication, I do not produce enough milk, just like the last time around. And even though I already knew this was going to happen, it does not make me feel any better about it happening again.

My doctor referred me to the Vancouver Breastfeeding Clinic. I was a little reluctant to go, because I felt that I’ve seen my fair share of lactation consultants and nurses specialize in lactation issues.  I remember going to numerous appointments and putting Joshua on scale after scale to figure out how much milk he was getting.  At the end I wasn’t really sure how much those appointments really helped.  I don’t really want to waste time going to another appointment when I can enjoy some time at home with Savanna.  But at the end, I agreed to go, in the hopes of learning something new that may help me.

Last week we had our first appointment to see Dr. Stringer.  She came across very clinical, straight forward, and no none-sense.  She gave me some tips on how to help Savanna latch on better for more efficient drinking, and gave me a plan of reducing nursing time but include pumping after each feed.  The plan is supposed to make my body produce milk more efficiently without being tied to a nursing chair 24/7.  But that also means pumping and washing all the pump parts 8 or 9 times a day.

I followed the “plan” for an entire week, and went to the follow-up appointment today with Dr. LIvingstone.  She’s apparently the authority figure on breastfeeding in Vancouver.  Anyway, she’s another interesting character.  She told me to stop the pumping because it’s not really helping much, and actually told me to cut my domperidone dosage by half because she doesn’t think the drug is actually helping me much.  She felt that I was just born physically incapable of producing enough milk.  I have no idea how she came to that conclusion, but I would tend to agree.  My mom didn’t produce enough milk to breastfeed me, so it seems like it’s partly genetics that I just don’t produce enough for my kiddos.

Now what?

So we’re sort of back to sqaure one.  I don’t produce enough milk, and there’s not a heck of a lot we can do about that.  I can still breastfeed, but would just need to supplement with formula so that my baby will put on weight properly.  I am frustrated.  I’ve spent so much energy and effort into this issue with Joshua, but I’m no further ahead with Savanna.  I don’t know why I can just accept this as a fact of life and move on.  There’s just something about this issue that I struggle with, and I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.

I am slowly working through how I feel about all this.  I think at the end of the day, I need to come to terms with my physical limitations and focus my energy on other more important things.  It’s probably easy to say that than to really achieve it.  I’m defintely not there yet, but I’m working on it.


1 thought on “The never ending battle of breastfeeding

  1. Pingback: Does domperidone make a difference? | The Westcoast Mama

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