December 22, 2005
permalink started expressing breast milk today!

Yay! What a feeling of accomplishment it was today to find that I was able to express 4 ml of colostrum (early breast milk) for my baby!

I am doing this so that if he needs a blood sugar boost or is unable to feed from the breast enough after the birth to keep his blood sugars up we will have a chance at feeding him breast milk rather than formula. I don't think formula is the worst thing in the world by any means, but given the fact that exposure to cow's milk protein or lack of breast milk _might_ increase bub's chances of developing type 1 diabetes, I'd like to avoid the cow's milk formula if possible.

When my daughter was born she was fed formula straight away before her blood sugar levels had even been checked. I was shocked and disappointed as I had expressed my wish to breastfeed and avoid formula if possible. Apparently what happened with my daughter is not even standard practice. They only give formula if the baby's blood sugar level is low.

Anyhow... I will probably have no more than 30ml of expressed breast milk stored for my baby by next Wednesday so they might still say he needs more. Or maybe by some miracle he will feed really well from the breast straight away and be brought to me for feeds regularly. Who knows.

It's tricky too. I don't want to sound radical with respect to the breast milk and bonding issue. My main concern is that the baby is doing well, breathing and everything else wise and I would never want to jeopardise his blood sugar levels. Being born just on 37 weeks there is a chance he will have retained fetal lung fluid and need oxygen for between 3 hours and 3 days.

Being separated from your baby after the birth can be so traumatic. The staff last time were very good apart from the formula incident (paediatrician's decision) but feeling out of control and that your wishes are not being taken seriously and heard can be very upsetting.

Anyhow... once again... very excited to have got 4ml of colostrum this morning. Had intended to start collecting colostrum 2 weeks before the birth but have only gotten around to it now one week before. At first I found no milk was coming out. Then only a drop or two. At one point the colostrum was dripping on to my hand but not into the little medicine measuring container I was using to collect the colostrum. I was about ready to give up in defeat when my lovely and well-seasoned husband came to my aid to help and encourage. I realised I needed to hold the container right up against my skin and that some milk was actually slowly trickling out. It gave me the confidence to continue and I'm glad I did.

Today I tried to visit the special care nursery after my ultrsounds and CTG monitoring, but was told by the midwives at the ultrasound place that the special care staff were too busy to see me. In the end I went up just to peek in through the window. Just to get a feel for where my baby would probably spend its first day at least. I went to ask a receptionist where the nursery was and then just burst into tears. That was when the special care nurse came out and saw me. She was friendly and caring but I feel pretty soon in some way dismissed me. I can't put my finger on it, but as I now have to go and lie down (I've been on my feet all day and my ankles are swollen) I will paste what I wrote about the experience to a friend of mine in an email.

Tomorrow at 1pm I'm due to see my ob who has just arrived back from New York today. It's going to be an important appointment as we'll deciding whether or not to go ahead with the caesar at 37 weeks. Back to the email...

It's going to be interesting to see what happens with the expressed breast
milk in my case. They give babies of diabetics about 20-30 ml per feed
(eight feeds a day) of formula and I bet (unless my paediatrician tells them
to do otherwise which I think he will) they will say the colostrum we have
collected is not enough and needs to be supplemented. In my understanding
colostrum works completely differently so that it's actually some active
components of the colostrum that cause gluconeogenesis (ie causes the baby's
liver to make it's own sugar) so surely a much smaller amount is required to
increase the baby's blood sugar?

I can't believe how difficult it was to just have a chat to a staff member
in special care today. It was only the fact that I went up 'illegally' that
I was able to talk to someone. The midwife downstairs was just so rude to
me, saying that they only organise tours for public patients and if my
doctor thought it was important for me to visit special care they would have
organised something for me etc etc etc. I tried explaining that all I wanted
to do was see where my baby would probably spend at least the first 24 hours
of his life (as I will likely be bed-bound for that period and unable to
visit and will not have time prior to the caesar to meet, visit or talk with
anyone) and that I also wanted to ask them how they would like me to supply
the expressed breast milk to them to feed the baby. But I'm sure all they
saw was 'trouble-maker'. Grrrr!! I don't want to scare you... the people up
in special care are generally very lovely and perhaps they thought I wanted
to deprive my baby of enough glucose for it's brain or something, but it
never ceases to amaze me how hard it is to feel that you have rights or even
valid input into your baby's care. I think the woman was even suspicious
about the quality of the expressed breast milk we are freezing!!! grrr...
sorry I'm raving. I also had two very nice interactions. The woman who did
my scan was my favourtie and complimented me on everything as usual (she always says how well I look and how well bub looks and tells me I'm doing a great job with my diabetes) and the consultant who I asked to see was lovely too. Hope you are having a good day :-)

Posted by patton at December 22, 2005 08:27 PM
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