...(and how it doesn't mean I'm a bad mother)
This is mostly just a reminder for myself, and a bit of encouragement when I need it.
When I was pregnant I was so excited about nursing, but I was also nervous. My mom wasn't able to breastfeed, her milk didn't come in. The more research I did the more hopeful I got, there were medications that would induce lactation. I figured I would be ok.
In the hospital the first time I latched her on it hurt so much I almost screamed, but she was nursing, and I didn't care how much it hurt. For the next two days she kept having latch on issues, even after all my nurses and a lactation consultant had tried to help. I didn't care, I kept nursing, even tho my nipples were so cracked and blistered and bleeding. I wanted to nurse my daughter, breast is best.
She was loosing weight, she was dehydrated, she wouldn't settle, she wasn't a happy baby, so the nurses pushed for formula. I cried, I felt like a failure, but I agreed, my baby needed to eat. I started pumping and trying to hand express, my mipples kept bleeding, but started to get better. I kept trying to nurse her, it kept hurting, she wasn't getting much.
When we got home from the hospital she would cry and cry and never seemed satisfied after she nursed. We rented a pump, the nurse suggested I just pump until my mipples healed. I would take almost 2 hours with each feeding to feed her my milk, then formula, and then pump. She ate ever 3 hours, giving me very little time to rest, or even eat. When Ben was home he'd feed her while I pumped. I started hating feeding her, it was heart breaking.
My supply wasn't going up on its own. I started taking Motilium. It gave me headaches, really bad headaches, but I stayed on it, I had to nurse my baby. She wouldn't nurse tho, she'd scream every time we tried. I saw another lactation consultant. She reassured me, but didn't fix the problem.
I went and bought a nipple shield. Finally, she nursed! I was so happy....but then she was still hungry and needed a bottle afterword. The motilium started to kick in, I could get a little more. She fell asleep while nursing every time, it took over an hour to feed her, then she'd wake up about a half hour later. She took the bottle and it broke my heart. At this point I was crying every day over this. Everything else was wonderful, I just couldn't feed my baby. She was so gassy she couldn't sleep, she ended up in bed with us because it was easier to comfort her.
The nurse called again to see how things were going. She was glad to hear my supply had gone up, but Hana wasn't really satisfied. For the last few days she wouldn't be awake for more than half an hour without screaming, and she'd wake every 2 hours to eat. I tried just nursing her, but she wasn't getting enough - the nurse told me how to tell with the shield.
And so I tried everything. And it didn't work. And I cried and felt like a failure. My baby needs to eat, she needs to eat enough so she can sleep comfortably, and I need to feel good while I'm feeding her and not be worried about if she's starving or not.
I decided I'm going to formula feed. It's been almost three weeks, nursing isn't working. I threw out my pills, the shields, packed up the pump. I'm done.
Part of me is excited that I don't have to stress about it any more. Part of me feels really guilty for giving up, and even more guilty for being excited. I'm hoping the guilt will go away soon - writing this all out has helped.
Formula won't kill her. She'll be just as smart, just as healthy and just as beautiful, plus her mother will be much happier. I'm in the 2-5% of women who can't breastfeed. I just have to deal with that.