Welcome to my Digital Baby Book - Dedicated to Jillian, Weston and Georgia.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Breastfeeding

As I write this blog entry, I am still struggling with breastfeeding. It never occurred to me during my pregnancy that I could have issues in this area. I figured my milk supply would come in, my baby would latch, and we would be one happy family.

Jillian was placed on my breast within minutes after I gave birth to her. She latched on great. In fact, throughout my stay at the hospital, the nurses raved about how strong her latch was.

This left me confident. Probably overly confident.

Once I got home and started to settle into a routine, my milk supply came in. I thought everything was going well, even though nursing hurt. I just figured that was normal.

Fast forward to Jillian's 2nd week Pediatrician appointment. I was extremely disappointed to find out that she had not gained back her original birth weight. The pediatrician suggested we supplement with formula and that we go see a lactation consultant. The words formula rattled in my brain, and I associated that word with failure. I wasn't providing enough for my daughter. I cried all the way home.

I made an appointment with a Lactation Consultant (LC) for the next day. The LC weighed Jillian, then had me feed her on the breast, then weighed her again to ascertain exactly how much milk she was getting out of me. Jillian was barely getting an ounce off of each breast. She had a decent latch, but she would get tired at the breast and start to snack. Due to this snacking my milk supply suffered. The LC advised me to start pumping after each feeding to help increase my milk supply. I was also advised to feed Jillian every 3 hours. In the meantime I would still supplement with formula or breast milk from the pump.

You can imagine what sort of crazy schedule this was.
1) Breastfeeding Jillian - 40 minutes
2) Bottle feed her breast milk or Formula - 10 minutes
3) Pumping right after - 2o minutes

Then throw in a diaper change, and 2 - 15 minute burp sessions, and cleaning the pump accessories. Then repeat all of this every 3 hours.

Seriously??

I was able to handle this around the clock schedule for about a week before I lost it. My milk supply did increase, but not that much. I started to get so angry and resentful; feeding my baby became a *chore*. I was mad at myself. Why was my body failing me? All of these feelings were eating me up.

Now mix all of this in with baby blues and you have one wrecked new mom.

Poor Tim. My husband was the sounding board for much of my anger and my tears. Finally we both agreed that I would exclusively pump. This would allow Tim to feed Jillian during one of the midnight feedings, and allow me to rest. This worked for a while, but the pumping every 3 hours didn't allow me any freedom.

I felt like a prisoner to my pump. I couldn't leave the house for more than an hour, not to mention, I had to time my pumping schedule with Jillian's feeding schedule so I could actually pump.

We then made another adjustment to the pumping schedule. I am no longer pumping at night. I pump right before I go to bed (between 8 pm and 10 pm), and then right after Jillian's 2nd morning feeding (between 6 am and 8 am). During the day I supplement with 2 bottles of formula. This allows me to space out my pump schedule so I can a) get some sleep, and b) get things done during the day.

Right now Jillian gets 28 ounces of food a day. 2/3 of this is breast milk and 1/3 is formula.

I read this quote on someone's blog the other day and it made me smile:

"Remember formula won't kill your baby, and breast milk won't make them fly."

My breast feeding saga still continues, but I wanted to share my story in hopes that it could help someone out there struggling with the same thing. Formula is not evil. Repeat. Formula is not evil. I think ultimately a happy mom = a happy baby. It's hard to let go of the guilt, but it slowly goes away. I promise.

If I had any advice to give I would say:
1) Make small goals. If breastfeeding is challenging, tell yourself each morning that you just need to get through today.
2) Talk to a lactation consultant right away. The nurses at the hospital are not lactation consultants. Even if your baby is latching okay, talk to one anyway.
3) Invest in a great pump. I use the Madela Advanced Pump and Style.
4) Let your partner assist in the late night feedings.
5) Do your best ---- if you can't breastfeed, it's okay. Remember that. Tell yourself you are still a great mom, because you are. Go treat yourself to a pedicure or a new pair of shoes, and remember that your baby loves you no matter what.

16 comments:

  1. Thank you for posting this. We are dealing with a horrible diaper rash and I am terrified that we are going to have to switch to formula because the rash may be from my milk. It breaks my heart BUT your quote makes sense and as long as our babies are strong and healthy, we should be happy! Our other hurrdle is Truitt will not take a bottle but I'm sure if we need to switch he will have to learn how to. Hang in there momma, you're doing great!

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  2. i have been debating making a post about this.
    but i too feel like my body failed me. & kennedy just cant keep breast milk down, she wouldn't take to me cause i was "flat" & she hated the breast shield. so i had to pump & bottle feed.

    now she is only formula.
    & i agree formula isnt evil!

    i still cry all the time when people ask "do you breastfeed" me make me feel like such a failure!

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  3. I'm so glad you posted this. I feel so guilty for not having been able to breastfeed Smith longer than a month. Milk supply problem on my end and he just simply hated the breast. Feel like a bad mom at times for doing the formula route, but sometimes you just do what you have to do.

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  4. I just want to thank you for writing this post. I am about to give birth any day and it makes me feel better to know if I can't breastfeed, my baby will be OK!. Luckily, my mom did not breastfeed any of her 3 kids and we all turned out happy and have had great immune systems thus far, so that always makes me feel better as well :). PS.. love the name Jillian.

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  5. What a great post, I am sure there are many mommies out there going through this. It is so time consuming, I feel you in that aspect. When we had Callaway she was considered a preemie so we had to wake her to feed her and after every feeding I had to pump, wash the pump stuff, and then it was almost time to feed her again... Glad you are hanging in there and sticking with it, and you are right formula is a perfectly acceptable food for babies!

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  6. I went through mostly the same thing. I decided early on to just pump because of the exhausting schedule of doing both. I was having to mix milk and formula because I wasn't making enough. Ethan was on the skinny side (fine, but skinny) and I was constantly worrying. Then at 3 months...my milk dried up and we went through the struggles of finding the right formula with the least side effects. You know what though...I'm much less stressed and have more free time and happier. It all works out for a reason.

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  7. hey mama, i just found your blog through Heather and Brayden's. im so happy you posted this- i Bfed my 6mo old Carter until he was just shy of four months old- and then we ran into some "supply and demand" issues, if you will. before i had carter, i SWORE i would Bfeed until he was a year- sometimes things just down work out that way. I wish us formula feeding Moms didnt feel like we always have to justify our decision to formula feed. it is what it is and it's all about having a healthy, well-fed and happy baby. my milk wasn't cutting it anymore and i was SHOCKED at how easy it was for me to switch him over. luckily i never felt guilty- until I had some other Bfeeding Mamas try and tout that their method is better. How terrible is that? I wish you all the luck in acheiving those small goals. Just know you're not alone! Oh and for the record? Having my boobs back? Is awesome.. It's just so nice.. to have something I can call "mine" since we're so constantly "give give give" to our babies :) Haha!

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  8. hi, i'm a new blogger. follow me. have you tried organic mother's milk tea? i was freaking out when my period came sooner than i wanted and i know supply is affected on it. the tea helps keep my supply up. but in the end it's always what works and good for the baby. we moms always try to give it all we can for our child. kudos for sticking with it though. :)

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  9. Oh T I am so sorry about the stress! I am really glad you wrote this because it is all so true and needs to be said and encouraging other new moms is really awesome! Little Jillian will be just fine either way so I am glad you are working past that guilt! Being tied to a pump SUCKS.

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  10. Thanks for this post! I'm a momma to a 4 month old and breatfeeding just didn't work out for us. I felt the mommy guilt and often feel very judged by breastfeeding moms. Us mom's need to stick together and encourage each other not judge!!!

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  11. I had a really similar experience with my daughter. Rowan is now almost 6 months old. She's healthy and happy...eating from a bottle did not stunt her growth, make her grow a second head or cause any emotional trauma not matter what other moms said! :-)

    We just started supplementing her with formula recently and I actually wish I'd done it sooner...just adding one formula bottle a day I feel frees me a lot of time! I wrote a post similar to this one a few month ago because I think it's really important for people to know that it's not all or nothing!

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  12. You are not alone!!! I had a very similar experience with my daughter and oh the guilt and tears. The feeling you get when your baby is gaining weight and you are the one feeding her. Hugs and formula is not evil! I was a changed woman after I got over the guilt, added formula, and a husband to feed her in the middle of the night.

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  13. you should never feel like a failure because of breastfeeding and formula! The important thing is, your little girl is healthly and growing!

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  14. Just wanted to say I pretty much went through the exact same thing. I had to supplement with formula, but it eventually got easier. My son is now 9 months old and he breastfeeds and eats solid foods. The feeding issues WILL get easier. It sounds like you are doing a great job Mama!

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  15. Thank you for putting this out there. I am going through the exact same thing. I've yet to post at length about it..soon to come, though.

    I've started to wean Huxley from formula, 4-8oz per day & instead give him a formula made from goats milk which he seems to really enjoy and digest well. I try and have him at my breast as much as possible, but inbetween his 'snacking' at me & pumping I am just soooo sore!

    I'm glad I stumbled on your blog! I'm definitely going to keep following!

    xx
    Hillary
    www.lifewiththehux.blogspot.com

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  16. Sorry you had a rocky start but you have great perspective on it. Jillian is GORGEOUS!

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