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February 12, 2011

Breastfeeding Struggles


Breastfeeding is one of those topics.  I've talked to people who felt so strongly about breastfeeding you would think they might call CPS on you if you decide to formula feed.  There are others who don't even want to think about it as an option - they will formula feed from day one.  Other women might really want to try to breastfeed but it doesn't work out for one reason or the other & they switch to formula (or supplement).  Then there is me........

With Declan I tried breastfeeding - it was difficult.  More difficult than I thought it would ever be.  The issue was never not having a good enough milk supply - I had plenty of milk.  Instead, I just didn't "enjoy" it.  I want to say part of the reason was not being prepared - not knowing what to expect.  I never felt that bond I had heard other mothers say they feel when they nurse their precious little babies.  To me it was a job - a job only I could do and it annoyed me.  Every 2-3 hours (in the beginning) I was the only person who could feed my son while everyone else could do whatever they wanted.  They never had to stop what they were doing & go in the other room (if need be).  They never had to get up every 2-3 hours every night for the first few weeks.  They got to sleep...they got to leave the house for more than an hour...they got to do whatever they wanted without ever having a baby attached to them.

Yeah...I guess I was a bit jealous.  Which is ridiculous when you think about some of the women out there who so desperately wanted to breastfeed but couldn't.  How selfish of me, right?  I know - I've gone through all of those feelings myself.

Sadly, I only made it 5 weeks with Declan before switching to formula.  I didn't think it was "sad" at that point - I felt more of a relief than anything.  I didn't feel bad (at first) - I was able to sleep at night since Ryan was able to get up & make a bottle.  I thought, "This is great!"  Soon after switching to formula Declan started sleeping in longer stretches which was considering "sleeping through the night."

A friend of mine had a baby just a couple days before I had Declan.  As the months went on & she continued nursing while I switched to formula I started to feel more & more upset that I had given up.  I felt a sense of guilt & even jealousy.  She made it a year breastfeeding her child & I just gave up.  Sad.

At one point I looked into how to "re-lactate" - I never knew it was even possible but apparently some women have great success with it.  Soon after I researched it I found out I was pregnant again!

Here comes Averley :)  I was bound & determined to make it longer than 5 weeks.  If I could just get over that "hump" than it would be a bit easier.  That is what I kept telling myself in those first 6 weeks of getting up ALL THE TIME!

I think Averley was around 2 months when I decided to start pumping & giving her a bottle of mommy's milk instead of exclusively nursing.  I felt better knowing how much she was getting & although nursing was going fine for the most part she wasn't getting very good "nursing sessions" since I had to run around & make sure Declan was taken care of while I was nursing her.  Sit down, latch on, Declan needs something, get up...oh crap she unlatched, get Declan what he needs, sit down, latch back on - what? Declan needs something else?  Sorry Averley - your broken nursing session wasn't exactly what you wanted was it?

It just seemed easier to pump & feed her from a bottle - that way others can feed her if I need to do something else (there I go me me).  As the weeks & months went on I continued to exclusively pump.  I have yet to have to supplement with formula (only because I have a supply stored in our deep freeze).  I am proud of myself for making it this far.  I do still nurse in the middle of the night - its just easier that way - but other than that she is fed from a bottle.

I have my struggles with pumping - especially during the days when I am babysitting 1 or 2 other kids.  Trying to schedule it out so all of the kids have their needs met & I can be stationed on the couch for 15 minutes every 3-5 hours can be a bit of a task.  There are days when I feel it would be so much easier if I didn't have to pump - technically, I don't.  I could try to switch back to nursing that way I wouldn't have to pump, then feed.  That actually takes up more of my time than it would to just nurse.  But then Averley will still not get the nursing sessions she needs/deserves.  With taking care of the other kids I will probably be up & running around even more than when it was just Declan.

Another option is to switch to formula.  I've battled this in my own mind almost every time I pump.  But then I think about how bad I felt "giving up" on Declan & I trudge through it.  I think about the difference in taste from breast milk to formula - then I feel bad about that (I silly).  Its ridiculous, really...formula may not be AS good as breast milk, but its still pretty darn good & I sit here and feel bad about things that really don't matter.  It's so silly.

In the end, I'm just going to continue to battle through for as long as I can.  I've made it 5 months so far & I will just keep going 1 month at a time.  My next goal is to make it to 6 months.  I know I can do it - but what is important is not feeling guilty if I need to supplement for any reason.  It is OKAY.  It doesn't mean I love my daughter any less or that she won't be a healthy & thriving beautiful girl!

Breastfeeding is hard - Formula isn't bad - The end!

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