To re-cap, I had returned to the *kind and motherly* LC that I’ve been working with since my baby was just a few days old. At last check my girl had gained 4oz in a week, which is not good but is permissable. I still had a lot of work to do in order to continue to EBF. Or, I was going to have to come to terms with supplementing.
After I published “A Tale of Two Boobs” I had an outpouring of support and I was feeling inspired–thank you for that. Hopefully this update will help some of you if you are having trouble with nipple injury/mastitis and/or low supply.
A day or two after I published “A Tale of Two Boobs”, I was surfing facespace and a post from ‘The Baby Guy NYC’ caught my attention (side note–follow him on facespace; he’s witty and extremely resourceful). This post was about a product called *Silverettes*. These are little silver nipple cups (like a nipple shield made of silver) and supposedly they help your nipples heal and also prevent mastitis/thrush because silver is naturally anti-microbial and anti-bacterial. I was intrigued. The Baby Guy was doing a giveaway and if you left a comment then you were entered to win a set of these Silverette cups–they are $65 and I wasn’t convinced they were worth buying so I left a comment to see if I might win a set. I said “I could really use these!”
About 15 minutes later Mr. MLACS texted me from work (in Canada) and said “Your Silverette cups are on the way and you’ll have them by tomorrow (Friday) evening”. Because he had seen my comment. F*cking awesome husband, my Mr. MLACS 🙂
The charming thing about the Silverettes is that the company encourages you to send the cups in when you are finished breastfeeding and they will melt the silver and fashion it into a keepsake charm with your baby’s name and birth date. At no additional cost! They even cover the shipping. How cool is that?! I looooove repurposing items, and keepsakes (fyi I hate frivolous crap).
So, I waited with anticipation for the cups to arrive, but I dared not hope that they would *actually solve* my nipple issues.
I had been using Muciprocin ointment on my nipples for the last 10 days, per my dermatologist, and had seen improvement–but I woke up that Friday and my nipples (particularly my left nipple) were purple/red, swollen, and sore. And don’t forget; I have Raynaud’s of the nipples. I was grinding my teeth and breathing like I was having a contraction every time she would latch. It HURT. And I was taking 800mg of Motrin every few hours, just to take the edge off.
The Silverettes arrived circa 3pm and I ripped them open, looked them over, and popped them on my tattered nipples. And then took them off to nurse my baby around 4:30pm…
And I discovered that my nipples had been marinating in my own breastmilk. And they were no longer red–they were pink! And when I went to latch my baby I hardly even cringed! My shoulders relaxed. My jaw unlocked. My breathing returned to normal.
The Silverettes WORK!!!
My nipples have continued to heal over this past week–my right nipple is completely healed and pain-free. My left nipple is 90% healed and mostly pain-free. My nipples are protected from illness and injury (bonus: picking up my kid and holding her against my breasts doesn’t hurt and no worries if she flails and kicks or hits my opposite nipple while I nurse her). The Silverettes are low maintinence–just wash them with soap & water. And another neat thing: they encourage my let-down and sometimes when there’s a gulp of milk in them I will feed it to my baby–she can drink from a cup! Random fact.
I was STOKED!
But then that evening my baby girl was screaming and writhing in pain, apparently due to gas pains. It was some terrible colic. Saturday was the same during the day and in the night, and pooping her brains out brought little to no relief. I was distraught. And then it dawned on me–she had been spitting up more and more and her gassy fits had been building all week…it obviously wasn’t something I ate or the fenugreek I’d been taking for weeks…
It was the *antibiotic Kflex* I’d been taking for my mastitis! Poor baby!
I felt AWFUL and SO defeated–here I’d been fighting to spare my child gut inflammation that feeding formula might cause, and instead *my milk* was CAUSING it! Exhausted after comforting my screaming infant, I emailed her new pediatrician at one o’clock in the morning–I haven’t even met her yet–to tell her about our ordeal and ask for some support as to how to help my baby with her gas/reflux and poor weight gain, given that my milk now appears to be a problem. I immediately stopped taking the Kflex, 3 days shy of the full 14 days I was prescribed, and worried that the mastitis/staph infection was not resolved and that I may have taken these f*ing antibiotics and hurt my kid (and my own gut was inflamed as well) all for nothing.
Sunday I went to one of the local natural foods stores and bought some tea tree oil soap, tea tree essential oil, and lavender essential oil–these oils have anti-bacterial/anti-microbial properties and I desperately needed to control the overgrowth of staph and possibly yeast on my skin and prevent further infection of my nipples–the silverettes are effective but I was looking to ensure I won’t need to suffer and/or take more antibiotics for repeat infection. I use the tea tree oil soap in the shower and more frequently if my nipples feel inflamed. I mixed the essential oils into a lotion that I use on my whole body (except for my nipples). Sunday I noticed an improvement in my baby’s gassy fits and felt reassured that I was right to stop the antibiotics.
Monday I called my dermatologist for a re-check and to let them know I had quit the Kflex–I had a same-day appointment. Both my derm and his NP were fascinated by my silverettes and impressed with my healing progress. They said don’t worry about quitting the antibiotic before the full 14 days–11 days is not bad. Also Monday I received an email reply from my pediatrician, encouraging me to keep breastfeeding and offering me a script for my baby’s reflux/gas. I look forward to meeting her this week!
Then came Tuesday…
To preface Tuesday, I had been trying to obtain Domperidone (a drug to increase prolactin and thereby increase milk supply) for a week already. It was turning out to be f*ing impossible to get in the United States, thanks to the stupid FDA banning it for breastfeeding due to *one* incident when a lady who was *already ill* took it *intravenously* in large amounts and had cardiac issues. I sh*t you not, this one case is why so many women will not be able to breastfeed in the USA. It is SO safe. And ironically Reglan, another drug which is NOT safe, is approved. WTELF.
So anyways, Dr. Angel sent a script to an online Canadian pharmacy for me. And they made me jump through hoops and email pics of a voided check and my ID, and give them my bank account # and routing #, and called to arrange the order–knowing it was for breastfeeding–THEN informed me *they can’t release the drug for the purpose of breastfeeding. And as it turns out, NO pharmacies in CA will release Domperidone to the USA for the purpose of breastfeeding. WTELF Canada?! I thought you were cool. However, just FYI, you can lie to them and say you are not breastfeeding and that you’re taking it for GI issues, and then you won’t have a problem–a tidbit I picked up after these fools wasted A WEEK of my precious time.
I went to my LC for my baby’s weight check on Tuesday of this week, knowing that she likely had not gained much, if any, weight after her gassy fits and extreme pooping. I was right. She only gained 2.5oz from last week–I was surprised it was THAT bad, and my head drooped and my shoulder schlumped in defeat.
I just can’t catch a break here–despite my magic silver nipple cups.
My LC was enthralled with my Silverette nipple cups and I felt hopeful that she would share them with other new moms and possibly spare a few of them from getting as bad off as I was before I discovered them.
Also, my LC surprised me by telling me that:
1. She has 2 boxes of Domperidone stashed and would be happy to give them to me!
2. She gets her Domperidone from an online pharmacy out of New Zealand and *they don’t even require a prescription*!
As frustrated as I was about my baby’s lack of weight gain, I still left my LC’s office feeling proud and determined that things would work out and that I’d be able to continue EBF’ing. My LC told me to return to her office on Thursday to retrieve the Domperidone.
In the meantime, I rushed home and pulled up the website of the New Zealand online pharmacy to order my own stash of Domperidone and also repay my LC for what she was giving me, so she’d have some on-hand for the next desperate mother at her doorstep.
As it turns out, you DO need a prescription for Domperidone from this NZ pharmacy. But they *don’t* ask you if you’re breastfeeding (at least I don’t think they did). And they accept credit cards. So I called Dr. Angel’s office again on Wednesday and begged for another prescription, which they gladly obliged. And FINALLY I ordered my mf*ing drugs.
Thursday I woke up feeling anxious, and desperate to get my hands on the Domperidone my LC had promised me. We arranged to meet in a parking lot near the pharmacy, to avoid any issues of legality. I popped 2 pills right then and there in the parking lot. Then we went to the pharmacy and weighed my baby…and she hadn’t gained ANY weight in 2 days prior! And ironically I had thought I was producing more milk. That really spun me and a wave of PANIC began to rise up inside of me.
I left the pharmacy, got in my car, and began to sob–big, heaving, can’t breathe, *sobs* and tears streamed down my cheeks and literally soaked my shirt. It was all too much.
I literally felt myself begin to unravel. It’s a strange feeling to know that you are *losing your grip* and be powerless to stop it. I did not see this coming and it hit me like a ton of bricks.
I went home and sobbed the rest of the afternoon. I apologized over and over again to my baby. I felt guilty and ashamed for being so pathetic. I took another 2 pills in the early evening. I googled and Dr. Jack Newman (breastfeeding guru based in Canada) recommends starting at NINE pills per day. My LC only told me to take four pills. So I was convinced the Domperidone wasn’t going to work anyways, unless I doubled my doses. My colon had started to hurt after my first two doses and I thought…”This is it? ALL this and now I can’t even take these f*ing drugs because they irritate my colon and may cause my UC to flare. Really?!” I sobbed. My baby wailed. We had an awful night. I was convinced that the Domperidone wouldn’t work. I was convinced it was making me ill. And finally, I mixed up a 2oz bottle of formula and…
My baby *spit it out*.
She HATED it so much she refused to swallow it and screamed at the top of her lungs like it was poison. But she also refused to latch properly and wasn’t taking in milk from my boobs. I was E.X.H.A.U.S T.E.D. I put her to my empty breast and we fell asleep. And when we woke up for our 4am feeding…
My silver nipple cups were overflowing with milk!!!
My colon had stopped hurting. And my baby happily suckled both breasts and fell back to sleep.
I went ahead and took the Domperidone yesterday, but only one pill at a time instead of 2 pills. My colon was fine. And I noticed my breasts were fuller and my baby seemed to be getting ample milk at each feeding. But I dared not hope.
Then today…Saturday…a mere 48 hours after my first Domperidone dose, I hesitantly and anxiously weighed my baby at the request of my LC…and…
She gained THREE OUNCES in 2 days!
Thank you Jesus!!!
All day, at every feeding, I’ve been able to nurse my baby and watch her fall asleep with a full belly. Usually my milk is full in the morning and becomes more and more sparse into the evening hours. But not anymore! My breasts are now fountains of milk! I celebrated with a pepsi and some peanut m&m’s 🙂
Please Lord, let her continue to gain weight without any more setbacks/bad weeks. Please let this be the end of our breastfeeding struggle. Please let my motherf*ing drugs arrive safe and in a timely manner from New Zealand. Amen.
To be continued…
***I wrote this on my phone so I couldn’t add links but you can purchase Silverette nipple cups on http://www.amazon.com
***If you are having trouble with low milk supply and your doctor is willing to write you a prescription for Domperidone, please feel free to contact me for information regarding which website I ordered from and which brand of Domperidone I purchased