Friday, November 20, 2009

Feeling Grossly Inadequate

Moved to the edge of insanity by two days in which Raphaela did not nap for close to 15 hours straight, followed by two nights where it took several hours to get her to sleep, I finally got the electric breast pump I had borrowed from Yad Sarah over two months ago, and took it out of the box. You see, the other night I was so exhausted and frustrated that I had no desire to put my own child on my breast, and wanted at least to have the option of giving her a bottle with my milk. I also did not want to get to a place where my very kind neighbor - whom I had called over around eight pm in a state of panic - asked me if I thought the baby was hungry, and I said, "I don't care."

My friend Rachael pointed out that since Raphaela and I had spent the whole day together, and into the night, she was probably as sick of me as I was of her. It is in these moments that I truly feel the burden of being a single parent.

True to the scientist part of my nature, this breast pump may have provided the key as to why my daughter gets so ornery at certain parts of the day, and sometimes needs over two hours to calm down at night: she may very well be hungry.

When I started pumping, I expected to receive at least 60 ml from the effort, and barely scraped away with half that amount. At this stage, Raphaela needs between 90-120 ml at each feeding, and clearly, my milk supply is inadequate. That is one of the fundamental problems with breast feeding, you cannot measure the serving you have provided.

First off, I feel like a failure; despite my best efforts and intentions, I am not giving my child enough food. That translates to serious guilt in every religion, not just the Jews.

Now I must come up with a plan, which includes supplementing throughout the day with bottles, but finding the right formula that will not activate what I suspect is lactose intolerance. (I find the soy based formulas stinky.) I plan on pumping as often as possible, to increase my own milk flow. I also plan on reading the latest book borrowed from my friend and upstairs neighbor, which tackles the specific issues of sleep patterns and behaviours.

Thank G-d babies do not remember most of the traumas of early infanthood, hopefully all she will remember is that I tried my hardest and that I love her.


Abandoning Eden said...

Here's an FAQ from la leche league on improving your milk supply:

they also have lactation consultants. I'm not sure if they have them in Israel, but it's an international association and you should totally check into it if you are having concerns- if they do have it in your country, then they have women who will come help you by teaching you how to increase your milk supply, helping with any other problems you have.

Also I'm not sure where Raphaela was when you were pumping (have I mentioned how much I love her name?) but having the baby near you, crying, being able to smell her- all these things set off the hormones that produce milk, so if you were pumping and she was in a different room or something, you might not have had as much milk as if Raphaela was right under your nose, breastfeeding.

Here's their FAQ on pumping:

As for lactose suspect she has it already? It's true that most jews are lactose intolerant (up to 80% of ashkenazi jews) but that usually doesn't start to develop until kids are 4 or 5 years old, it's very rare for white/jewish children to develop lactose intolerance before that age.

Hope some of this info is helpful! Good luck, and I think every new parent hits a stage where their baby drives them insane, whether they are a single parent or not. :)

koshergourmetmart said...

according to

True lactose intolerance usually shows up in the grade-school or teen years. While it's possible for symptoms to appear earlier, it's very unlikely that your baby is lactose intolerant.

here is some info on how to increase milk production

Giving your child some formula shows your love for her. if you nurse and give her formula perhaps that wil help her sleep better. also, perhaps with more sleep you will nurse better as well.

s(b.) said...

hang in there; you're doing great. La Leche League will give you all sorts of info, lactation consultants, etc. In the meantime, breathe, relax, and know that doing your best is good enough. is a breast-feeding-type site. They have message boards where the granola moms hang out and stuff (I'm being a little facetious; but beware of militant mommies):

Commenter Abbi said...

Mother in Israel, another Israeli blogger, is an excellent lactation consultant, as well as a great blogger. You should really get in contact with her with your concerns.

First and foremost, the fact that you can pump less then you thought you had absolutely doesn't mean that your daughter isn't getting enough to eat. Pumping is notoriously less efficient then a baby's actual feeding- meaning, Raphaela is just much better at getting milk out of you then a pump. Also, the YS pumps are usually pretty crappy. Avent Isis hand pumps are generally better at getting milk out then the YS electric pumps.

Also, when did you pump? First thing in the morning? If you pump at any other time of the day, you will always get less milk (because for some reason, you make more milk at night). If you want to see how much you really have, pump first thing in the am on the side you haven't fed her on.

Raphaela is six weeks- it sounds like she's going through a good old fashioned growth spurt- she's nursing a ton so you'll increase your milk supply.

Please get in touch with MII and she can recommend a good lacatation consultant in your area.

mother in israel said...

What Abbi said. You absolutely cannot tell what your baby is eating from what you are pumping and it could be very well be a growth spurt. You have my number if you need it.

Doc said...

I was actually planning on contacting Mother in Israel, and am also happy to report that since starting the pumping on Friday, I have already noticed a change in the quantity of milk. The other factor that gives me comfort is the fact that Raphaela is growing nicely, so I can't be starving her too much. In a way, I am more concerned about the fact that I am not eating as much as I feel I should, simply because more often than not, I don't have the time.

Commenter Abbi said...

With nursing, the clearest sign that your baby is getting enough if you seen plenty of wet diapers throughout the day and she seems to have a regular BM (once a day, once every two days, whatever her schedule is).

For general mom support, I recommend getting in touch with Em l'em: . They offer "visiting mom service". The volunteer comes to your house once a week for a chat, to see how you're doing, answer questions and just generally offer support. I volunteered with them and it was an incredible experience for me.