My midwife has been encouraging me for a while to call a specific lactation consultant that she uses to just discuss the breastfeeding issues that I've had in the past. I finally called her on Wednesday, and she called me back yesterday. We probably talked for at least 15 minutes, which was really sweet of her considering I wasn't paying her :). I told her of the supply issues that I've had in the past, and she was very helpful; although, I actually knew most of what she was saying because of the book The Breastfeeding Mother's Guide to Making More Milk. She referred to it several times, and told me about the website that goes along with that book. Apparently, there is no need to buy the book because all the information that I need is on the website :). It's amazing how much more I've learned about breastfeeding with Kristen (my midwife) and this book/website than I have ever known... and this is my third child! I've learned the correct way to supplement, I've learned that pumping at the end of a feeding is the best time to pump, that a fenugreek tincture is much better than the capsules, etc. The best way to supplement, really, is with using a system called an SNS (supplemental nursing system). It requires you to tape a tube to you that hangs off the end of the nipple so that when the baby is sucking, he/she is receiving some formula as well. I'm not sure that I can do that... it almost seems more stressful to me and I'm not sure that more stress is a good idea. So, we'll see if I decide to do that. But, if I don't use that system, using a bottle with a short nipple and wide base, at the beginning of a feeding instead of the end, is another good way to supplement. The idea is to give the baby a tiny bit of formula (like maybe a half ounce), then have them finish at the breast. This way, they feel satisfied with breast milk and not formula through a bottle. If they are still a bit hungry at the end, increase the formula next time just a little bit. Eventually, the idea is to decrease it so much that you're not having to supplement at all. And, after a while, it may only be necessary in the evenings which seems to be the time of day when supply is the lowest. Middle of the night and morning feedings are the highest in fat content and quantity.
I've also been encouraged (by my midwife and the lactation consultant) that even if I can't breastfeed exclusively, that I can still breastfeed (I realize that I've mentioned this before!). Even if I'm breastfeeding 50%, that's still 50% breast milk that my baby is receiving... which is SO beneficial. As I've said in the past, I've always seen breastfeeding as black and white... if I couldn't do it exclusively, I didn't think I could do it at all. I also learned that sometimes if you keep trying and working at it, it is possible to eventually be able to breastfeed exclusively. Which, I figured if I couldn't get enough at the beginning that it wouldn't ever be possible. It just takes a lot of work! And, that work is worth it even just to have the closeness that you can have with nursing. Since this will probably be our last baby, I really want to make it work... even if it's just some. I'm SO looking forward to being able to try again :). Can't wait til he's here!