Saturday, November 19, 2011

Breast Feeding

This is a hard post for me to write.

Let me start by saying that things are wonderful. I have a beautiful and healthy new baby boy, and rambunctious two year old and a loving and supportive husband. I am incredibly blessed. However, as with all things in life, there are always hiccups.

And we've hit a hiccup around here, one I never expected, and never saw coming.

L2 won't nurse. Can't nurse. It's not happening. L nursed until he was a year, but I remember at the end my milk was starting to go and I was beating myself up about not being able to pump enough and making sure I made it to a year. So when I was pregnant with L2 I kept telling myself that I was going to be so much more easy going this time around. I would take whatever came, and I wouldn't feel guilty and I wouldn't beat myself up. That the important thing was to try and if they had to take formula, so be it. Of course i had this attitude with the full belief that nursing would be as easy with L2 as it was with L, and that my biggest problem would be getting enough milk for my big boy to make it to a year.

I was wrong.

For the first day of his life, L2 didn't want to eat at all. He wanted to sleep. It was almost funny, if it hadn't been so stressful. The nurses would come into the hospital room and rub his feet and tickle him and burp and do everything possible to get him to wake up to eat, and he would have none of it. His eyes stayed glued shut, and the nurses said that was normal, that he would eat once he had gotten over the trauma of being born. The next day he started latching on a little, but it was weak and his suck was weak. Again, we weren't too worried, we figured it would pick up when my milk came in. Until then we supplemented some formula. But then we had his first Dr. appointment a few days later and his weight was down to 7.9 pounds  (His birth weight was 8.7) and the Dr said we had to start supplementing 30 ml of formula after each breastfeeding session. So we did, and I was determined. We would do this.

But at this next appointment a few days later he was down to 7.4 pounds and the Dr said the thing I had been dreading.

"You need to stop nursing. It's not in his best interest anymore, he is burning more calories trying to breastfeed then he is actually taking in and his weight has dropped too much."

So that was it. Dr.'orders. Stop nursing. The one thing that I was meant to do, the one thing that was suppose to be so natural for me and my baby..... the thing that was ingrained in us to do..... was actually hurting him. My heart broke in that Dr.'s office that day. I felt like a failure. Like I had failed my baby, and my husband, and myself. I felt guilty that I couldn't give L2 what I had given L. I felt like a horrible mother.

So now we are in a new reality. I am pumping around the clock and L2 is getting breast milk, but from a bottle. I hate it, but his weight is back up and I know that I am doing what is best for him. And I take comfort in the fact that he is getting all breast milk, and I know that is the most important thing. But, Oh my gosh, I miss nursing. So much. And as much as I am trying to adjust those feelings are still there and sometimes I just can't stop the tears from falling.

I never thought this would happen to us. If I'm totally honest, I was always a little judgemental of people who didn't nurse. I thought it is so good for your baby, and you just have to keep with it and try and you can do it. I guess you never now what people's situations are. And now I feel like i am the one being judged. I hate when I'm giving him a bottle in public and I feel some mother's eyes on me. I'm probably being paranoid, but I feel like she is watching me and wondering why I'm so lazy and selfish that i"m not giving my baby the breast. And I just want to shout, "It's breast milk! And I was up at 4 AM pumping it! I am doing what's best for my baby, just not the way I thought!" I realize I'm probably being paranoid.... but I can't help it.

So that's were I am right now. Feeling happy and blessed for my wonderful family, but also fighting off feelings of inadequacy and guilty. Words of encouragement are welcome.

1 comment:

  1. Leah~
    I am not too sure if you remember, but when Max was about 2 weeks he struggled with nursing. I had to supplement with formula. He was about half BM and half formula. I felt TERRIBLE! Like how can my body not work for this poor innocent babe. Luckily at about 6 weeks he latched on and all was well. What you are doing is amazing. A lot of people would just give up completely on the breast milk. You are working hard. Never let anyone tell you that you are a bad mother. You know what is best for you and your little one.