Tuesday, July 24, 2012
My take on Breastfeeding
The picture above represents what I am sure every new mom or even an experienced mom dreams about. Breastfeeding your child without any cares in the world. No one screaming or crying. No one in tears. This picture says it all. However, this post is about my struggles with breastfeeding and what I hope will be a solution for me. And maybe help another mom out there as well.
This is my feelings on breastfeeding.
After going through every twist and turn. Reading every book and magazine article about this subject I could get my hands on. Talking with nurses and lactation consultants in the hospital or on the phone. Doing everything humanly possible. Breastfeeding is not always for every woman. Its not "natural" or "easy." Its frustrating and hurtful and completely debilitates you as a mom. The guilt that people give you makes you feel like a failure. It puts you in a deep depression. It makes you ask "WHY ME." You beat yourself up. Question your parenting skills after only 2 days. The nurses tell you your not relaxed enough. Your not trying enough. Your not doing it enough. The say "don't worry, your supply will come in. Eat this, drink that. Do this. Do that." Its enough to make you insane. Its everywhere. The constant reminder of how inadequate you are as a mom. You stop and think, "If I cannot do this one simple thing that millions of moms have done for millions of years. How in the world am I going to be a good parent for the rest of my life." The guilt makes you feel that useless.
At least. It did for me.
I had my first daughter 9 1/2 years ago. I was excited and ready to start nursing. I took every birthing class I could get my hands on. I was lucky enough to still be taking college courses so I was able to get my hands on some of the latest breastfeeding material. I read everything. I was prepared. When Olivia was born. She was a natural nurser. Latched on with ease. Never had issues. The first week was so promising. I was excited. We were doing it. It was really working. SUCCESS!! Then the ball dropped. At her first week appointment I was giving the bad news. She hadn't gained a single ounce. In fact, she had lost almost 9 oz. I started crying. I was a failure. I sat in the office after hours with her doctor. She watched as Olivia nursed. She was doing great. Nursing like a champ. But my milk just was not coming in. She suggested drinking more. Eating more. Eliminating all the stress around me. So I did. At her one month check up. Nothing. She barely made back her birth weight. It was time to move onto formula. I was devastated. I felt like a horrible mom at that very moment.I tried for a few more weeks but she was so frustrated by my lack of supply, that she just wanted to use the bottle. So there it was. One month, and we already had to stop.
I can say that the above really sums up the rest for babies 2-6. Though with Anabelle it was slightly different. During her stay in the NICU I was pumping. Sadly though, because of her continuous feed 24/7 my supply clearly was not meeting her demand and I dried up within a week after delivery. Though I can say that with one of my kiddos, I believe it was Ezme. I managed to manually express almost 4 oz. in one sitting. I was so proud of myself. I couldn't believe it. I think it was the most I had ever had in one sitting.
I found a great doctor after the birth of Owen. She was fantastic. She gave me every idea in the book to try. Beer, blessed thistle, fenagreek, teas. I tried them all. I was hoping that one of them would be a miracle drug. That by taking just one of these things my milk supply would be overflowing so much that I could be one of those moms that had to donate breast milk. I knew it was possible. I have seen friends that had so much milk they actually had to stop storing it and ended up pumping and dumping. I wanted to die. The heartbreak of hearing those stories just about put me over the edge.
Here I am once again though. Back in the same boat. This time with baby #7. At 25 weeks I am already feeling that the failure is there, and I am just fooling myself that its going to work this time around. I have discussed with my doctor my desire to give it one last "college try." We have discussed what to do and what medications she can put me on. So starting at 35 weeks (10 weeks from now) I will be working on building up my milk supply before baby arrives. This way I can get things going earlier and hopefully the extra few weeks will give me an advantage. Couldn't hurt right?
I also have been thinking back and forth since Oliver to try this:
Yes the contraption looks a bit funny, and its not always ideal to be carrying this around while your nursing. But I think its genius!!! I have seen it a few times here and there and always thought about the idea. This time around though I am seriously thinking of going for it. Its a bit pricey. But its totally worth it in my opinion. If you can't figure out what it is. Its a container that holds infant formula. You can wear it around your neck while nursing baby. Just as long as its elevated so the milk can flow out. At the end is small tubes that carry baby formula from the bottle to babies mouth. You attach this to your breast so while baby sucks during breastfeeding they are getting both the nutrition they need from the breast milk, but also to supplement there need for food with the formula. The idea around this is for parents who are adoptive breastfeeding to help establish a bond between mother and child. But to also help in lactation in mom's who have not had a child. The constant sucking on the breast helps establish a good breastfeeding schedule but also is to help bring on more milk. The supply of milk will happen the more baby nurses. Therefore is there to help with the demand. Some woman have great success that they are off this completely within a few weeks. Others use it continuously for the entire first 1-2 years. Sometimes even longer. In that aspect, I am all for it. And the best part, since I am having a winter baby, I can probably make this hidden a bit better with clothes or jackets. That will allow me to still nurse outside the house.