Well, I did say we were only celebrating small victories, but we seem to be losing the war. My pumping production is stuck at about 400ml a day, that's about 13.5oz for you US people. It's been that way since Sunday, so nearly a week. I do well in the early morning, then in the evening I'm struggling to get more than 40ml in one 20 min pump - whether it's between feeds or after a feed. Pob is still happy to stay on the boob for a good long time with the nipple shield, but she then wants between 70 and 100ml top up, so I'm not producing enough from the pumping to satisfy her. And as she grows, she needs more. Instead of being able to cover 4-5/6 feeds in 24 hours with breast milk, today I've only managed to cover 3.
I spoke to the good lactation consultant today, and she started to say things like, well, you've done really well so far, it's great you lasted this long, looks like things are tough etc. She admitted that given supply has not climbed this week (at least the supply which doesn't go straight into Pob), she's less optimistic we can achieve our breast feeding goals. She's asked me to try the supplemental feeder, which I've been resisting, and suggested a quick jolt to the breasts of pumping once an hour for 10 minutes for a four hour period. I've done that pumping this evening and got 20mls each time which is fucking depressing. I tried the supplemental feeder and it didn't seem to make the critical difference to Pob - she still sucked in a somewhat lackadaisical fashion and seemed to enjoy herself but still needed the rest of the milk left in the supplemental feeder when she'd finished, delivered to her in a bottle. And then she needed some more.
It's like the infertility game all over again. And yes I know oh how i know it's not the same loss by any stretch of the imagination, I just mean the process seems similar. You keep going because you can't bear to give up. You hope, you hope really hard that in the end it will all be ok, but the process is painful and tiring and stressful and sometimes you wonder why the hell you're putting yourself and your other half through it. You wish you could take a peek into the future and see whether it worked or not, so that you'd know if it's worth persevering. Right now I can't leave the house for more than an hour because I'll have to either pump or feed. I have to hand Pob over to someone else when she's had a certain amount of time on the breast, so that I can pump. People keep telling me to enjoy my baby. And that formula isn't so bad. And I know that's true, but right now I can't let go of the dream I had to feed my baby. To sit in my chair and just put her on the breast and to sit and commune with each other while she fed. And I'm angry with people who don't have any problems with this. And feeling like a heel for not just being happy to have her. Ugh. It's hard, much much harder than I had set myself up to deal with.