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   Saturday, January 21, 2006  

Another post about my boobs

I am not an entirely crunchy granola type. I have elements of that in my personality, but it does not define me. Unless of course we're talking about my views on parenthood and what makes a good parent.

For myself (ok, and the lowercase, but his involvement in all of these is obvious and I assure you that my desires are what I want based on what I want for him), I wanted a full term pregnancy.

I wanted a natural delivery without medications. Granted, I wanted this in a hospital with a perinatologist delivering my son, but "natural" nonetheless.

I wanted to breastfeed from the start and never give my child a bottle of formula. I was a breastfed baby who self weaned at 3 years old. I wanted to let my son self wean at the age of his choosing (and if that meant I was offering my breast to a 5 year old before bed and any naps he might take, so be it). Please note that I was not opposed to bottles of breastmilk and intended for my son to have at least one of those per day to keep his daddy involved.

Now, for some brutal honesty. I know that "breastmilk is best." And I know that modern formulas are supposed to be healthy, good alternatives. I know that it's a matter of personal choice, etc. But...and here's where I've been afraid to admit it before...I think mothers who never attempt to nurse their babies at breast are bad mothers. And no, I don't really mean that. It's irrational and I know it isn't so. But when I give my son a bottle? That is how I feel. Like a bad mother.

I've had to give up a lot of things in my quest for a child, and I have admittedly gotten a rather perfect one, but there are some things I didn't want to give up.

Until recently, I have been a pseudo-vegetarian. I say that because it's become a bit ridiculous to classify what I am otherwise. When I met my husband, I was an "ovo-lacto-vegetarian" (I ate eggs, dairy, and veggies). He introduced me to sushi and I became an "ovo-lacto-pescatarian" (same as before but with the addition of fish). Now, because of increased protein needs and utter hatred of things like nuts (they make me gag), I eat lots of turkey and chicken. And I know there are proteins in things like beans and tofu and the aforementioned nuts...they aren't "complete" proteins. Meaning it takes more for your body to get the proper protein chains and they have to be consumed in certain combinations or whatever (or maybe I'm totally not remembering that correctly from when I stopped eating meat as a teenager twelve years ago). So, for my little one, I started eating things I wouldn't otherwise.

And then this week it happened. Even though all the medications I am on had my supply increasing and the supplements all seemed to be working, my son went on a nursing strike. He refuses to latch to the breast even with the nipple shield and after much finagling when I do get him latched, it is a decidedly poor latch (it makes the shield crinkle up around my nipple. It will stay smooth with a good latch). He isn't suckling much there.

Then when I take him off after my maximum try of 40 minutes of trying to get there and actual nursing, I offer him a supplemental bottle. Since mid-week, he now has trouble "finding" the nipple of the bottle once it is in his mouth. He shakes his head back and forth searching it out -- the same way a baby will do when searching for the nipple when latching to breast. And he cries. And I have to get a nipple to touch his tongue or the roof of his mouth just so all while he's moving about in order for him to recognize it's there and latch to the bottle.

Feeding time now makes me cry. A lot. And I hate breastfeeding. I have been trying for nearly 3 months (Monday morning at 4am it will be 12 weeks since his birth) and he still has not mastered nursing. My supply is a delicate bitch and simply won't stick around if he isn't nursing. And he isn't. I can only do this for so long.

Tomorrow I will meet with the lactation consultant. Three weeks ago when I began working with her, I felt that I hadn't given it my best shot yet. But now I feel like I have. I have tried desperately to nurse my son. It is something that I want more than anything.

But at this moment I have very little hope left. I have nothing telling me to persevere and I will be successful. I know he will never be exclusively breastfed, but I had hoped that he would be mostly breastfed. I had hoped to get down to only 1-2 bottles per day necessary. I had wanted to be able to wear my son out in public and nurse him from the safety of a sling (Dee has kindly offered to send me one she has never used). I had visions of sitting beneath a tree this summer overlooking the lake nursing my son. I imagined the freedom I would have to just be out and about without having to worry about carrying around bottles and keeping them from spoiling or lugging water to mix them up on the fly.

It's still what I want. I still don't want to give up. But I feel like yet another of the things that I felt I needed to do for me to be a good mother is being taken from me. I wanted to have that special bond with my son, that special thing that nobody else could do for him but me. And the truth is, I don't. Since this is my only chance, I felt like I deserved it. And I gave the effort all that I have. But I just can't get him to latch and it just isn't working.

I think I may have to give up. And my heart is broken. It's so broken that today I haven't fed my son at all -- I try to nurse and when he won't, I pass him off to Mr. W to give him a bottle and I leave the room.

I have an emergency appointment with my LC tomorrow afternoon. Maybe after the visit with her I will feel better about the situation, but I find it highly unlikely. Be prepared folks. Either I'm going to be full on enthusiastically telling everyone they should persevere no matter what because IT WILL WORK... or I'll be depressed to all hell at having to fold away yet another of my dreams of what motherhood would be for me.

   [ posted  @ 4:36 PM ] [ Post a Comment ] [ View Comments (14) ]
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  Comments about my post, "Another post about my boobs":
My sister was the lactation Queen of Cape Cod. She nursed her boys practically until they were in college. I wanted nothing more than that wonderful idealic closeness to my girls.
My first child did not want me or my breast. I struggled and struggled and tried and tried, until she got her first tooth and bit me and drew blood. That was at 3 1/2 months old. I stopped on the spot. And then I cried and cried and cried. I felt like such a failure. Here I was stopping and my sister was still nursing her 3 year old!
I used Isomil and it came premixed in cans, and so it was almost as easy as nursing, and in the long run, better for my nerves.
Second child, was a better nurser. She seemed to like it. All was going well until I became deathly ill and needed surgery. In one day I went from being Dolly Parton to Twiggy on top! She too went on formula. And I cried.
But they did fine and eventually so did I.
I know it's hard. Nothing has gone like it should for your pregnancy or after. But one day when lowercase is a full uppercase, you can use this to make him feel guilty! LOL
Hang in there and remember, the definition of a good mother is how much love you have in your heart. And I know you have way more than most mothers I know!
I didn't want to breastfeed my twins until the first time they latched in the NICU and it was awesome. Then they were daignosed with acid reflux and after a few months, we had to try rice cereal in their bottles. It didn't work but they stopped breastfeeding.

They are 11 months and 1 week and I have been pumping 8 times a day since they stopped latching on. They take bottles of breastmilk and that makes me feel great. I take 6 pills of Domperidone every day to keep my supply up and I have been renting my Medela Symphony for 1 year.

Even if they won't take my breast, they get my milk and that is the best I can do.

Don't beat yourself up !! I have lurked through your story and as a mom to twin 33 weekers after 7 weeks on hospital bedrest, (and 11 IVFs, 4 IUIs and 2 Clomid cycles), I could relate to you.

You are doing a great job and mazel tov on the lowercase.
I'm so sorry you have to go through this. I can appreciate how you feel. Before my daughter was born I had every intention to nurse. I even dreamt about the bond. But then I lost a lot of blood during the delivery and came down with double pneumonia and needed a blood transfusion to get better. I was on such heavy antibiotics that I couldn't nurse. I was so sick that even if I could, my milk wasn't good enough so I "pumped and dumped" until she was 1 week and have been expressing milk for her ever since. She got so spoiled by the bottles that she won't suck hard enough to nurse. But, I feel good knowing that I can at least feed her my milk. Hang in there. You are a great mom. Don't give up.
I have 10 week old twin boys born at 35 weeks and I have had the same problems as you describe.

We were in the Special Care Nursery for 15 days and the boys were tube fed, bottle fed and eventually had 1 or 2 breast feeds a day. My littlest one was born 4lb11oz and had a lot of trouble latching on, so until he got a bit bigger I expressed and gave him a bottle. The plan was always to go back to breast feeding later (as you can do - this is not necessarily the end for you) but by the time he caught on to the whole latching on thing, I no longer had enough milk to feed both of them. They are getting 3-5 expressed milk bottles and 1-3 formula bottles per day.

Like you I had grand plans for breast feeding but realised that these expectations and the subsequent disappointment are a major cause of post natal depression, and I had to accept that so long as my boys were receiving my milk, they were getting the best I could offer. It really doesn't matter (nutritionally anyway) where it comes from so long as he gets it. And watching my husband feed gives me great joy, not to mention how excited everyone else is to be involved - people make appointments to come and feed my boys!!

I understand your disappointment at the loss of the connection, but be assured you are his mother, he knows that, and nothing will ever change that.

Don't loose heart, this may be a temporary setback.
I forgot to comment on what prompted me to post in the first place!

My son also did the searching thing with the bottle in his mouth - he looked like a bird waiting for his mum to bring him food.

I promise you, he outgrew it pretty quickly. When your lowercase does it (and it doesn't doesn't stop) try taking the bottle out, give him a quick cuddle for distraction, and start again.

The best bit of advice I've received - every stage will end eventually.
Oy vey! I'm sorry you've hit this roadblock. I hope you go easier on yourself and I hope you can find the strength to keep going so that your dream can come true. Honestly though, a healthy lowercase is what matters most to me.
luv you, L
Miss W i am really sorry you are having this problem - especially after what you have been through.

I have only just got the hang of BF - its taken 8 weeks. I too had supply problems as Rowan would fuss alot at the breast and I couldnt pump much out. I saw a LC and she suggested trying manual (hand) expressing to increase supply, as well as better attachment. This worked a treat for me. Apparently pumps don't work wonders for everyone.

Good luck and don't beat yourself up about having to stop. Your son will thrive regardless.
Wishing you the best with this. There is no right or wrong answer with breastfeeding and I'm so sorry that you find yourself feeling lost in the struggle. From the multitude of bloggers I've read it appears that you are certainly not alone in all of this and hopefully that will help a little. Whatever you end up doing it will be alright, for lowercase and for you. You are a great momma, because you care about this and try. *hug*
It sounds like this is very hard for you. So I hope it will all work out.

Good luck!
You know my story. I wasn't sure if I'd want to do it, I did, I tried, my supply sucked and I gave up. A part of me wishes I could've continued, but the bottles ended up being my saving grace.

You do what you can for these little ones, and I know you. I know that you'll do everything possible to make this dream come true for you.

You're an amazing woman and a dedicated Mom. The Lowercase will know that. If not, I'll tell him myself.
I'm so sorry about all this. After feeling like you were robbed of so many other "norms", I'm sure this seems even worse. Not that it is at all the same situation, but one of my babies has recently begun getting worse at latching, both on the breast and the bottle. I don't understand the sudden change at all. I too will be calling a consultant about it.
Well, hang in there, and know that you are already such a fantastic mother because of the amazing care and consideration you so obviously have for your child.
I think that deep down I agree with you that if you aren't somehow prevented from breastfeeding by circumstances beyond your control, you should try it. It really sounds like you have given it a great try and given your son (who's growing extremely well based on your previous post) a great start. (My son finally got the hang of things such that I could ditch the nipple shield at six weeks old, and I was going CRAZY-- I really admire you for sticking it out as long as you have.) So, if you have to switch to formula so be it. The upside, with any luck, will be much less energy, time and heartache around feeding and much more just enjoying your baby.
Muffin Man absolutely hated nursing. HATED. IT. He hated facing away from the room, missing out on everything. He was miserable. And so he got a combination of formula (at night, makes for better sleep!) and breast milk and I had to pump at every feeding, formula or not, in order to have enough breast milk for him. On the upside, he got lots of good cuddle time with his daddy. On the downside, I felt like a failure. Why the heck did nature give me these ginormous appendages, if he's not going to drink from them?????

But he thrived and your son will thrive and you gave it your best effort.
I hope you're doing ok; it's been a while since this post, and you seemed so upset. Check in when you get a chance, ok?

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