Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Nursing Strike

Nursing strikes suck!  (Get it?  They SUCK.  Hardy har har.  How do you spell "hardy har har" anyway?)

Evelyn has been an easy baby to nurse up until a few weeks ago.  My theory is that she was getting about 4 (maybe 5?) teeth at one time, and her little gums just hurt too much.  In addition to the teeth, she also started crawling, which opened up a whole new world of scooting around the house and exploring.  I sensed that she was easily distracted and always wanted to try to crawl away to some new toy or room or new thing that her brother and sister were doing.  I frequently find myself asking Vivienne to not tickle Evelyn while she's nursing.  Also, Evie starting drinking from a straw cup (skipped right by the whole sippy cup phase completely), so she was getting a lot of hydration that way.

She gradually started nursing less and less, which is typical for a baby that is eating solid foods, but it was getting a little too infrequent.  One day I realized that it had been about 48 hours since she had actually nursed well.  (This may seem crazy, but, believe me, with two almost-three-year-olds running around the house in addition to my baby, it's hard to even notice if one of the children cuts off their hair or goes missing for a few hours.) 

I was worried about my milk supply with her lack of nursing, so I borrowed a friend's pump.  After 20 minutes of pumping, I had about an ounce of milk.  NOT GOOD.  I don't know if my supply had been going down for a long time and that's why she was nursing less or if she was nursing less because her gums hurt/crawling was novel/the world was just too fun to stop and breastfeed and therefore my supply went down.  Either way, I really wanted to fix this.

I called my pediatrician.  He said that Evelyn needs 16 ounces of breast milk or formula a day to get the nutrients she needs.  It seemed very clear that she was not getting 16 ounces from me, even when she was nursing. 

With my friend's pump, I started pumping a few times a day and taking fenugreek.  I also started trying to nurse Evelyn in a quiet spot (which is hard to find in this house!) more frequently.  It has been about a week now, and I can pump about 7 ounces a day in addition to the 2-3 good feedings that Evelyn seems to be doing.  My supply is clearly much higher than it was just a week ago.  Also, Evelyn's teeth seem to be through the gums now, so I suspect that any pain she may have been experiencing from teething is gone (or at least lessened).

I was worried that Evelyn was trying to wean herself, but after some diligent pumping and help from my friend, things seem to be back on track.  Instead of giving Evelyn water in her straw cup, I'm giving her the milk that I am pumping.  For now, things seem to be heading in the right direction.


  1. Glad you made it thru the strike.

  2. Way to persevere! I feel like nursing went from being my only time to sit down and have a few peaceful baby minutes to being a wrestling match! Crawling away, stopping every minute, and distracted by everything! Big siblings are so much fun to watch.