Since Lily was born, I have had lactation supply problems thanks to an overzealous nurse practitioner who prescribed 6 ounces worth of formula supplements per day for Lily when she was 5 days old (because she had lost 10% of her birth weight, which is NORMAL at day 5). I am a first-time mommy who has no prior experience to go on, so I trusted that the nurse was doing what was right for Lily. The problem was that my milk had just come in 12 hours earlier, so I hadn't had a chance to really get her going with real milk instead of just colostrum. So my breasts didn't know that they should have been producing 6 more ounces a day than they were. So I wasn't producing what I should have. Great.
I did not want to use formula, yet it was thrust upon me by a "knowledgeable" authority. I was devastated that I "wasn't producing enough" when in reality, my body wasn't even given the chance to adjust to Lily's needs, and it caused long term supply issues. After 2 months of supplements, I had had it. I wanted a breast fed baby, dammit, and I wanted formula out of my house. I was about to go back to work, and I needed to get my supply up so I could pump while at work.
A friend of mine who is a labor and delivery nurse asked one of her lactation consultants for advice for me. She said to try a beer a day. BEER?! *angels singing* I was totally down to try it! And you know what? IT WORKS! After only a couple of days after starting my "beer therapy" I was able to quit formula supplements! Joy!
Then came summer (yay!), and Lily's first yeast infection (boo!). We battled the yeast for 3 weeks. I figured beer was the culprit, so I stopped beer therapy (begin beer hiatus - bah humbug!). After that, and after changing medications at the advice of the pediatrician, the yeast retreated. Finally!!
But, guess what? When I quit drinking beer, I started having trouble pumping enough for Lily's consumption during the day while I'm at work. My stock in the freezer dwindled to nothing, and I am currently pumping day-to-day. Supply problems suck. Sigh.
I tried different sized breastshields for my pump, I tried hand expression, I tried drinking even MORE water than I normally drink. No dice.
So yesterday, after much debate, research, and flip-flopping over what to try next, I tried Fenugreek. I took 2 capsules after lunch with a full glass of water. About 20 minutes later I started belching with the most god-awful flavor in my mouth and got a rager of a headache. Then after dinner, my guts turned to liquid, and I spent 15 minutes in the bathroom. Awesome. So Fenugreek is off the menu.
Luckily, last night after my visit to the bathroom, I talked to my friend Melissa. She had mentioned my yeast issue to her friend, who told her that beer wasn't my yeast culprit - babies just get yeast infections in the summer sometimes. Say what? No way!
"You mean, I can drink beer again? Really?" Beer hiatus OVER!
I'll be stopping for a 6-pack on my way home from work today. I'll update if Lily gets another yeast infection. But I seriously hope she doesn't. I don't want to have to try any other herbals that may confine me and my sensitive tummy to the bathroom.
Moral of the story: ASK QUESTIONS if you do not agree with or understand what you are being told by a medical professional. If your gut tells you that there's something not quite right with what you are hearing, don't ignore it! Get a second and third opinion if necessary. I wish I had called a lactation consultant BEFORE starting the supplements. I truly believe that I would have had less (or no) problems with lactation supply.
Moral #2: Beer is awesome!!
P.S. Fenugreek works for a LOT of my mommy friends. It just doesn't work for my body. So don't discount it just because my tummy hates it. I do suggest beer first though ;)