I envisioned a happy, healthy little baby nursing away wherever we were. At home, at the store, at the park, visiting a friend. I would be able to just pop out a breast and feed my child. Talk about convenience! What I didn’t know was that from the very beginning I would face some bumps in the road…
Breastfeeding has NOT been what I thought it would be. I have spent more time eating oatmeal, taking fenugreek, drinking teas and tinctures then actually nursing. Why? I am unofficially diagnosed with IGT – Insufficient Glandular Tissue. IGT can easily be defined as not having enough tissue to produce milk. This tissue grows during puberty and pregnancy. Women who become engorged and leak – they have enough glandular tissue. Women like myself, who notice little to no change to their breasts during pregnancy do not have enough.
The signs have been there since the day I started my period. My breasts never really developed. After my first pregnancy, I never got those “WOW! Your milk has come in for sure!” big breasts. I never felt anything, not even a tingle that would hint that my milk had come in. I did leak colostrum towards the end of that pregnancy, but nothing more. With baby G, the same thing – leaked colostrum, no engorgement, no tingles… not much of anything. The only difference is that I actually put G to the breast after he was born and we began our breastfeeding journey.
Apparently IGT is a rare condition, and while some women have shared their stories, there are still medical professionals who have never heard of it. The two times I’ve met my lactation consultant, she mentioned my breasts and their appearance. She even said there may not be enough tissue there, but she hasn’t officially diagnosed me with IGT.
The website www.noteveryonecanbreastfeed.com has been helpful, as well as so many others. I have been reading personal stories and finding myself nodding along, hearing my own story in their words. Breastfeeding success isn’t defined by having an exclusive breastfeeding relationship with your baby, it is defines by what makes mom and baby happy.
To make me and baby happy, we are supplementing with formula. After doing a weigh/nurse/weigh session with the lactation consultant, we learned that baby G only transferred 1/2 oz TOTAL in 30 minutes of nursing. That is not enough at all. So, whatever I can pump, we offer FIRST, then follow with formula. To hopefully boost whatever supply I can, I am taking fenugreek capsules, eating oatmeal (and oatmeal cookies, granola bars, granola, anything with oats basically), and drinking water and Gatorade. In my eyes, whatever breast milk I can express and feed to baby G is better then nothing. I don’t know how long we will be able to maintain this course of action, but I will try for as long as I can.
G was born 8lbs 3oz, and upon discharge was 7lbs 8oz. At his two week appointment on April 6th he was 7lbs 13oz. This is after we began the expressed breast milk and formula combination. We have another weight check next week, and I know he will be above his birth weight.
Our breastfeeding journey isn’t perfect, it isn’t textbook, but it’s working. DH is able to bottle feed, which allows me time to pump, or just to have a few minutes where I’m not needed. It may not be as convenient as exclusive breastfeeding since we use 2 bottles per feeding (1 for the breast milk, one for formula), but we’re making it work.