With Robi I didn't get my milk in until he was 4 days old.

It was a very stressful and negative situation that left us both hysterical.  I cried more in those four days than I did during the following 12 months combined.

However it didn't have to be that way.  I know that now.  

After having Andrej I shared a room with a young c-section mom who didn't get her milk in for 4 days either (which is common after c-sections), but her experience was positive and left her wanting very much to go on nursing.

What was the difference?  

The hospital's attitude toward supplementing with formula.

Here is where I may cause some debate.

Anyone who knows me for any time at all knows that I advocate breastfeeding 110%.  But I also advocate choice, and realize that some mom's are simply unable to nurse for very long.

Had the hospital had a better attitude toward formula in general I may not have had to supplement with formula, because Robi likely would not have lost as much weight as he did in the hospital.

The hospital where I had Robi simply heightened my stress and fear that I would never get my milk in by both urging me to continue trying to feed him, while failing to recognize that he was hysterical from hunger and that their constant urging - without supplementing him in the meantime - was in no way helping either of us.  He was hungry all day long and by evening wouldn't even consider latching on, much less nursing.  He was literally hysterical from hunger, and I was frantic not knowing what more I could do because the very thing I needed to do to calm him down, I couldn't.  And the hospital simply wouldn't. 

In all fairness to them, it wasn't this way the full 4 days I spent there postpartum.  But it was one full day that way, and they often rejected my pleas to feed him at various intervals during those 4 days.

However, the roommate I had while in the hospital with Andrej (a different hospital, obviously) had a completely opposite experience.  They urged her to try breastfeeding for 10-20 minutes, after which they took the baby and gave her formula.  She got her milk in after 4 days just as I did - but in a less stressful manner.   Her baby was satisfied and she had a wonderful, positive experience.

My advise to moms who are anticipating having a c-section, and who want to breastfeed is this:

1. Anticipate getting your milk in late.  I did with Robi.  With Andrej I got my milk in at 7 months pregnancy, likely because I hadn't lost my milk yet with Robi when I conceived Andrej.

2. Don't adopt a negative attitude toward formula and supplement feeding.  It will not hurt your child.  It may, in fact, help maintain some measure of sanity if you get your milk in late.  

Here is where I'd like to dispel the myth that breastfed babies are smarter and healthier than their formula-fed counterparts.  All of my nieces and nephews were formula fed. They are all extremely bright, do well in school, and are extremely healthy children.  My sister's 4 children are all bi-lingual.  While breastfeeding is obviously the best option, formula is the next-best thing and I encourage every expecting mom to have at least one box of formula on hand just in case.  

Motherhood is not a competition to see who can do things most naturally!  I often see this competition between "crunchy" and non-crunchy moms.  Do not feel less competent if you choose to use disposable diapers, formula and store-bought baby food. These are your choices.  Just as it is our choice to do things more naturally.  Everyone should feel confident in the choice they have made for their family and as mothers we should encourage each other in those choices - even when they vary from our own!

3. In those first few days while waiting for your milk to come in, let your baby nurse for at least 10-15 minutes (longer if he/she does not grow hysterical) and then when he grows agitated give him a bottle.  Let him latch on and nurse as often as possible (the more the better) as this will help your hormones to kick in, causing your milk to come in.  

4. Don't lose hope.  Remain persistent in nursing.  Your  milk will come in.  You just need to be persistent about letting your baby latch on a nurse until it does!

Thank you for sharing...

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