As I have shared before, I have hypoplastic breasts, which is severe enough that I only produce about 15-20mls per breastfeeding session... and only on a really good day.... and only if I haven't BFed in the past 4 hours.... so ...yeah.
For a newborn under a week, this is okay, but after that, you are definitely going to be needing some sort of supplement as well.
Last time, I was able to co-feed breastmilk and formula until 3 months, when I gave it up and went straight to FF.
With this new baby coming in Nov, I am looking at extending that a bit further. How much further? How long is a piece of string? I have no idea, but I at least want to try.
Now last time, I attempted a "ghetto" Supplementary Nursing System - also known as SNS, but really struggled and, in hindsight, gave up - I really needed to for my own mental health. Then at 7/8 months, we started to supplement with donated Breastmilk from a dear dear friend. She amazingly kept our donations up for nearly a year. I still have her gift here - *blush*
So anyway, with the baby due in Nov, I recently came across pictures on Facebook where mums have used commercially available SNS to supplement their babies feeding.
That got me thinking - why can't I do that?
I have hunted around over the past few days, but haven't found anyone that has the same situation as me - where they produce little or no milk and use the SNS purely for the connection side of breastfeeding. Nearly all the anecdotes and stories I am finding are where women use an SNS to help boost supply, or for complimentary feeding - where they are using both their own BM and SNS to top up/level out.
LOL, so yet again, I feel like I am alone in this and pioneering forward into uncharted territory - which is a giant load of bunkum as I'm positive I am not the only person this has ever happened to. But, being of no nevermind, I AM feeling a little lost in the wilderness here.
So, in my usual fashion, I am striving ahead,
I have looked at the two commercially available SNSs -
Medela Breastfeeding Supplemental Nursing System
Lact-Aid Supplemental Nursing Systems/Trainer Systems
Now, we used a jury rigged version last time - which consisted of a bottle of formula with a medical quality tubing which I held to my breast/nipple as Dragonett Lad nursed - the theory being that he would suck milk up the tubing while he was nursing at my breast, therefore getting the best of both worlds.
Reality was, he either didn't get anything, or it simply gravity-drained into his mouth after the first suck and then he passively drank - which scared the bejeebers out of me thinking he was going to choke at any second. After a few days of that, I figured "Well, fuck that, may as well do bottles!"
So from my own experience, I am probably going to avoid any sort of gravity based SNS - so that rules the Medela out. I really like the look of the Lact-Aid one, but the thought of having to constantly buy bags is off-putting to say the least.
I am probably going to go with the Lact-Aid - bloody HELL this feeding babies is expensive shit!!!
One of the things I am finding myself working on right now, is my own social conditioning.
I love the THOUGHT of breastfeeding and if I could, would STILL be breastfeeding Dragonett Lad if he wanted and I would have relactacted Dragonett Lass as well. Call me a Militant Breastfeeder if you like, I will wear that shit proudly! Breast milk is by far and away the best start for babies. Of that, there is not a single argument.
But I am finding it really difficult to get my head around the fact that if I do this, I am little more than a bottle - less in fact, a cushion or pillow maybe. I keep trying to convince myself that 15mls of BM is 15mls of pure gold and is 15mls more than they would have gotten if I didn't breastfeed. It is also suited to them personally!
But the other side, the side that has been heartbroken over and over - and which now, I believe, has a slight breastfeeding aversion - can't see past the pillow/cushion view. I have different feelings about it all.
Yes, it's sucky, but better than nothing
But isn't it creepy to have someone sucking at your breast that ISN'T being fed by that breast?
But they will be getting SOMETHING! And we will be trying for that connection.
What will others say/how will they react? (Now this is a big thing for me - I don't normally give a rats butt about what people say)
and so on.... like I said, I have my own (surprising) social conditioning to work on here.
So, that will be going on the Shopping List along with a decent breast pump!
And finally - just my little Soap Box Rant - which I am amazed I lasted this long TBH.
I am going to try to source donated breastmilk again - I was so incredibly honored by a friend's generosity last time - I will never be able to thank her enough. SO many people offered to donate - some couldn't for health reasons, some couldn't for their own legitimate reasons, but too many were happy to 'simply forget', happy to bag out those that used "Crap In A Can", but not to donate to others.
Yes, Human Breast Milk is best - but if you can't get hold of it, what else are your choices? Even today, I saw on Facebook, a Dad begging for some donated breast milk for his 7month old - begging. So unless you are donating, pfft...even then, step back and rein in your judgement - you are only living your own life, no one else's and certainly not mine. By all means, educate and support women to make the best choice possible, then allow them the Honour to make their own choices and support those as well.
*steps off soapbox*
and with that - off I go to continue my search of the WWW.....Whhheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee :D