ABF update

It’s been a while since I’ve posted about adoptive breastfeeding, but I’ve gotten some emailed questions recently and thought maybe it was time.

So… still at it. Still using the SNS, still taking lots of domperidone and fenugreek.

It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever been thrilled to do.

It took about 6 weeks to get really comfortable with the SNS. Now we use it without tape, and about a month ago I started using it to breastfeed at night – we were exclusively bottle feeding at night because the SNS was too difficult. Now that he’s down to one middle-of-the-night feeding I only breastfeed him at night, and if I can get up before he does in the morning and clean the SNS I breastfeed him for the first feeding in the morning. (We just got a second one so that will be easier).

The drugs are fine. I take a lot – a LOT – of pills: six capsules of fenugreek plus 9 dom, and the usual assortment of vitamins. But I’ve hardly had any side effects from them – just a little nausea when I take too many at once, and rarely for more than 10 minutes.

I try to pump every time I miss a feeding to keep my supply up.  I don’t always make it, but I think it’s important because I haven’t been doing it all that long – if I’d been breastfeeding him for 6 months or more it would be less of an issue, I think.

I don’t get that much when I pump, usually – a good session is usually an ounce and a half (total) for me.  But recently I had a converstaion with a co-worker whose son is a month older than Roo and she mentioned that she was having trouble with her milk supply and started drinking Mother’s Milk tea, which worked great. So I pulled out the tea I had gotten months ago but never drank because I was too stubborn to get past the fennel smell. After one cup, I pumped THREE OUNCES this morning – whoo! I had to get up and do the breastmilk dance. (Trust me, I looked like an idiot). It may or may not have been about the tea, but now I’m mainlining it in hopes that it’s my magic bullet.

Anything I pump during the day (usually twice during the day plus once before work) I give Roo in the SNS when I feed him at night, so that at least one feeding a day he gets exclusively breastmilk. On the weekends I try to pump to freeze, but since I usually pump so little I don’t have more than 8 or 10 stored bags at any given time. We’re saving them for when he’s sick, or exposed to someone who is sick – or an occasion like this weekend, since he just got his first vaccine (which is a post by itself, but for another day).

Since all you breastfeeding experts reassured me, I’m pretty sure he gets more breastmilk when he breastfeeds than when I pump. He’s taking about 5 ounces out of the bottle now but never more than 2 1/2 or 3 on the breast. And also the bonding… I try to feed him as soon as I get him at night, and he just smacks away: Look at me! I’m nursing! Look at me! When I’ve been missing him all day it’s so nice to have him just snuggled in like that with that cute little hand holding onto my collar.

I don’t know if this is actually true, but I suspect the regular protocol is more effective than the accelerated protocol. I’m sorry I didn’t get it together to do it, and I’m sorry I was stubborn about not wanting birth control pills and the uncertainty of pumping and taking pills without a due date – I think it would have been worth it.

But I’m so glad I’m doing it.

What else? Other things you want to know? Advice for me?

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4 Responses to ABF update

  1. Erin says:

    I’m just so impressed and so in awe that you’re able to do such a wonderful thing for Roo. It takes so much more effort to ABF than to BF–you should be truly commended for your dedication. Isn’t it a wonderful thing to be able to give him?

  2. Estelle says:

    I have nursed Charlie off and on since birth, but on a regular basis for about 4 months now. He still nurses for milk from AJ, but for comfort from me. All night long!
    He’s never been upset that there is no milk, and for that I am thankful.
    I actually do make milk, it just can’t come out. I hate that, because I feel engorged with NO way of relieving it. But it’s worth it to be able to actually FEEL him calm down and relax when he’s nursing.
    Roo is lucky his momma is so dedicated to making this happen.

  3. Bebe says:

    Thank you so much for sharing all of this with us. I’m a hopeful adoptive breastfeeder and it is so helpful to hear details like this. Such a great experience for you and Roo.

  4. Fostermommy says:

    I’ll tell ya, it makes me feel good to hear you say you wish you’d done the regular protocol. I just started it last week and I do feel a little silly doing it without a due date (we’re not even on the list yet with our adoption agency). Granted, we’ve been told (through our social worker) that they might match us within a couple of months, but still, it could be much longer!
    I tried inducing lactation previously and didn’t get a ton, and wasn’t pumping as much as I should have, so I was a little gunshy this time, thus going whole-hog with the drugs and everything.

    Anyway, I’m glad to read your experiences. I’m glad that the SNS has gotten easier. I’m worried about that, too, so it’s good to be able to see how many weeks it has taken other people to get used to it.

    I’m so happy for you and Roo that it’s working out so well!

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