Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Why nursing didn't work for me....

...(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.


Jadon & Amberly's Mommy said...

Hey, don't give up just yet! I struggled for FOUR and a HALF MONTHS!! Pumping, then giving her the bottle, and using the nipplesheild with a nipple balm, and TAKING FENUGREEK will help! It just takes a little time! It seems like forever, I know, but trust me! I was in the lactation office three times a week (and often times on the weekend) for those almost 5 months after having Jadon, but I am SO glad I kept trying! And no one looks down on you if you just can't swing it! Sometimes, that's just how life goes, but if you CAN keep trying, I would REALLY encourage you to! It is such a special thing that only YOU and Hana can have! I'm not trying to make you feel guilty, just trying to help, because if I was able to do it after the problems I had? I want to help others! I have TONS of tips I can give you to help if you want to keep trying...it's not too late. It will take a few weeks for your milk to completely dry up! hadfield531@hotmail.com....will you let me help you? You don't even have to take that silly medicine that started with an "M"...I promise:)

Jadon & Amberly's Mommy said...

P.S. You're a good mom:)

Steph said...

Thanks Kayla, but I'm so stressed by the whole experience that I'm not enjoying the bonding time with Hana, and that's just not worth it. Plus I can't take Fenugreek because it can cause problems for people with Asthma. I'm done. And I'm trying really hard not to feel guilty. I really don't feel guilty, I feel pretty good about it, but it's easy to allow myself to think I'm a horrible person because I'm stopping.

Tami Palmer said...

Steph... this is Tami Palmer... I have been reading your blogs. To let you know where I come from. I am working for a company that works with kids that have had the worst things happen to them. (negect, sexual abuse, pyscial abuse, you name it,) AND the botton line is the bonding you have with your daughter, Because that is what is going to mean the most to her when she grows up to a woman. THE BOND. Don't feel guilty, about what you feed her. LOVE HER! PRAY FOR HER! Bless her with an excellant mother & daughter relationship Well that is my opinion. Tami

Richards' said...

Steph! I hear you loud and clear... My problem happend in the hospital though, the nurses gave Gabby formula, after I had made it clear that I did not want her to have it.... so She did not take to the breast right away, but once we got her home, I worked with her, and she became a 100% booby baby after 1 month... I am proud that you tried. And you know what is best for you and your baby! I am so excited for you and Ben! Hana is such a cutie!

Jadon & Amberly's Mommy said...

I know it's hard not to feel guilty, but if you can't do it, then you can't do it! If you're so stressed about it, it doesn't make things very good for Hana. If giving her formula allows that stress to diminish, then you are doing what's best for her. Just remember that! I support breastfeeding 110%, and will always encourage people to choose it over formula...but you know what? You TRIED. And sometimes that's all you can do! She'll thank you someday for choosing what you know was best for her! Hang in there!

Denise :) said...

Stress is nasty! I say you made a good decision (though you already know that yourself!!) Even if you wanted to keep trying while stressed, the stress will carry over to Hana, and wont help.. So whatever takes away that stress will be better for the both of you for sure! I am sure you are already seeing the results of your decision. Hana will love you no matter what! Who couldn't! ;)

*Heathluvsing* said...

I'll never forget what Adam's cousins wife (quite the connection, eh?)told me:

"The best thing I ever did was realize it was OK NOT to breast feed."

Bottom line: She felt pressure to do it. It wasn't working. Parenting was much easier after she made the decision and she finally enjoyed herself and her new baby

Anonymous said...

I just have to say....I nursed all 3 of my kids.They are 7,8 and 10 now.If i could do it again,even with the health benefits of nursing.I'm not sure i would.It's so draining physically and i'm sure i would have held and cuddled and just enjoyed my babies more had i not been so zonked from nursing.And your precious little girl will be just fine on formula.Especially with a happier mother, who's not in pain everyday. :^)