How A SNS And Domperidone Helped My Breastfeeding Journey
This Breast Mates guest post is from Adele of Circus Queen who has been reading all the lovely guest posts since she was pregnant with her daughter.Reading other mum’s struggles and breastfeeding stories inspired to keep going when she had difficulties herself.
Adele shares her first year of breastfeeding through tongue tie, formula and using a SNS and domperdione.If you like to share your positive breastfeeding story contact me here
It never seriously occurred to me that I might not be able to exclusively breastfeed my baby. I didn’t know anyone else in their twenties who’d managed it. I was well acquainted with horror stories about breast abscesses and newborns who wouldn’t latch. Yet I felt, with great certainty but subconsciously, that if I wanted it badly enough, if I tried hard enough, I would be able to exclusively breastfeed for the first six months and carry on breastfeeding for at least a year. So, when my baby was not gaining weight, was not putting out enough dirty nappies, was literally spending the days passed from breast to breast with no satisfaction for weeks, it all came as a shock. When the lactation consultant explained that I needed to supplement her breastfeeds with expressed breastmilk or other milk, I accepted it but was gripped by a range of emotions. I felt guilty that I hadn’t noticed that she hadn’t been feeding effectively the whole time. I didn’t know what I was supposed to be listening for to notice swallows. It wasn’t my fault that she had a tongue-tie undiagnosed until she was eight weeks old. I shouldn’t blame myself that my milk supply had by that time been compromised by lack of stimulation because her tongue just wasn’t effective enough. Yet I did. I felt guilt and a darker emotion that I can only describe as some form of grief. I felt that I was slowly marching my way to full-time formula feeding despite all the advice and support I was surrounded with. I stopped going to my breastfeeding group because it hurt to see others successfully breastfeeding. I did not keep in touch with the lactation consultant because I was tired and just wanted to feel happy with wherever I ended up. I ended up exclusively breastfeeding – for about a month before introducing solids at six months. The baby’s almost a year now and I’m still breastfeeding, with no milk other than my own. How did it happen? Well, with a lot of work that I wouldn’t have had the strength for without the support of people around me who loved me and knew how important breastfeeding was for me and for my baby. Every feed involved breast compressions, every day involved pumping and when I supplemented, I used an SNS instead of bottles. It all helped but it wasn’t enough to ditch the formula. Those first eight weeks had proved to be so essential in establishing milk supply. Having tried all the other options, I began to take domperidone again. It’s essentially an anti-nausea drug which blocks dopamine causing your prolactin levels to rise. So, as a side effect, it can cause you to lactate or if you are lactating, increase your milk supply. I first took it just after Talitha’s tongue-tie was cut and had noticed immediate effects. The day after I started it I felt fullness in my breasts for the first time. However, the dose was low and the effect wore off within a week and I was needing to supplement. That’s when a long battle with my GP began as she did not know enough about the drug to prescribe it. Finally, she agreed to talk to the infant feeding specialist midwife at the hospital who backed up my decision to take domperidone. However, the dose prescribed was a low 30mg which had no effect on increasing my supply. I might as well not be taking it. Finally I got the correct dose but so much time had passed that it took a while to kick in. In the meantime I was just so frustrated about breastfeeding that I decided to ditch the SNS and give a bottle after every feed instead, expecting that this would lead to full-time formula feeding, which I was trying to make peace with. However, three weeks into taking it not only did my daughter start taking less from the bottle but she started putting on too much weight. I’d pulled myself away from all support systems so had no idea what was going on and continued supplementing. But eventually it became obvious – she did not need the supplements. I finally felt like we were having a normal breastfeeding relationship. I began to relax into it, to actually allow myself to enjoy it. It actually became a bonding thing. Still, I felt like I had a cut off point hanging over my head as I was only prescribed enough domperidone to take us to her first birthday. It seemed like we were still breastfeeding with an unwanted prosthetic. The GP who had finally prescribed the domperidone in the dose that worked for me (60mg) had advised me to wean off it slowly, which actually made a lot of sense. Every time I tried dropping it suddenly, it appeared that my supply would take a hit: less nappies, more fussiness, weight loss. So I began dropping one pill a week. Then at ten and a half months I had her weighed. I hadn’t taken domperidone in nearing a month. Her weight was fine. It was the final proof I needed. Domperidone was no longer a part of our lives. I am grateful for its help but I’m glad to at last be breastfeeding normally and indefinitely. This has been one of the most difficult and fulfilling journeys I have ever taken – much like motherhood itself, I guess.