Friday, April 12, 2013

My breastfeeding (or lack there of) experience.

So, I had intentions of writing this post last summer...like right after Elise was born. 
Best of intentions, right?
 
Recently the topic has come up a lot....with my cousin going through similar struggles as I did, my BFF expecting her first little one very soon, and other friends with new babies. 
I read Little Baby Garvin's post on her experience this morning and it made me think, I need to share my story. She was honest and it made me feel better that I wasn't the only one who felt the same way. 
I thought I could share that with you all in hopes to help ease other new mommie's worries.

Like most Moms, I had full intentions of breastfeeding my children.
Before becoming pregnant, I really didn't know that much about it. 
One friend opted not to breastfeed and another very dear friend had a terrible experience with it and was heartbroken when it didn't work.
Sooo, when I did get pregnant I started to try and learn as much as I could before hand. 
We took the class at the hospital.
I read mommy blogs, 
websites, 
all kinds of internet stuff to get as many tips and tricks as possible!
And I told myself, we will try and make it work. 
If it does, awesome. If not, I wouldn't beat myself up about it....
I was so confident I could do it that I didn't buy the pump yet. 
I thought, I am not "supposed" to pump until at least week 2 or 3 to allow my supply to adapt. 
yeah right.Why tempt me? 
(oooh, If I knew what I know now)

Fast forward to after Elise was born. 
First go 'round, awesome.
She latched and started feeding. 
I thought hell, this is easy. I can totally do this.
 Ha!
 
The next day wasn't so easy. 
She would latch, but she wouldn't do it for very long. It was almost like she would get distracted. 
We called the nurses in and of course, she did it perfect.
It's amazing how perfect everything goes when the nurse is there...the nurse walks out and it's a WHOLE different game! 
 
Fast forward to our first night home....
My milk had officially started coming in. 
TMI, they were getting bigger and scarier by the minute. 
Which made latching impossible. 
I had my first crying breakdown that night. 
Crying from pain, exhaustion, frustration, worry. 
The poor, sweet, hubby was so scared/worried/concerned....he called his mom....at like 4am. 
She was there like 3 hours later (lives an hour and half away). 
I was annoyed and happy at the same time. Not that I don't adore my MIL, I wanted us to do this on our own for the first week, I thought we could do it. 
I was wrong. 
While, I know we could have....we have an amazing family on both sides and we are lucky to be able to have all of them so willing to be there for us. 

We took Elise to the doc the next morning and she had already lost a little over a pound. 
Not good.
The doc said, you need to supplement or pump and feed her by the bottle for the next couple days to ensure she is getting enough.
And from the looks of your boobs...you need to pump....okay she may not have said that it exactly, but that's the gist.
I, of course, go into freak out mode.  

My boobs hurt so badly. They were engorged and hurt more than anyone ever warned me!
I had my second crying breakdown. 
In the Target parking lot.
The Hubs wanted to get me home and he go get the pump...I couldn't wait that long. I needed to get this milk out. We got in an argument...I cried...it wasn't pretty. Later, he saw all the milk I pumped out and apologized. Learning experience for both!

So for the next few days I pumped and pumped and pumped. It was amazing how much I was supplying. I was so excited to get so much stored up in the freezer! 
Again, I was like...this could work!
HA!
So then we attempted to start breastfeeding again. 
I wanted so badly to breastfeed naturally. 
She wouldn't latch...and then we she did...she would get distracted again.
The Hubs had to sit in there and hold her hands so that she wouldn't put them in the way.
That wasn't exactly convenient. 
 
Then I would feed her a bottle afterwards and she would take it all...
did that mean she wasn't getting anyting in the feedings?
I was SOOOO terrified that she was going to lose weight again.
We were on the up and up and I was not going backwards!
 
And on top of all this, it was painful. All of it.
Pumping.
Latching.
Putting a bra on.
Taking a bra off.
Taking a shower.
All of it.
 
As sad as I was it wasn't working, I was still very happy that she was getting breastmilk. 
I made the decision to solely pump. At least that worked and I knew how much she was getting.
 
So here is what most of my days looked like:
 
Feed E...
...then pump for 30-45mins.
Clean pump parts and bottles and 
seal, label, and store pumped milk.
Do chores for 30-40 minutes....
Start again.
This went on for months. The pain never getting better.
I guess it was somewhere in the 3rd or 4th week I got my first round of Mastitis. 
Yes, you read that correctly, first round.

Went away for about 10 days....and came back.
Ladies, I didn't know much about Mastitis before hand...and why would I? But holy crap, IT SUCKS!
It is an infection of a blocked duct. Your boob gets rock hard and even the touch of my arm rubbing against it was excruciating. I would try and raise my arms and cry.

At this point both my Momma and My Hubby told me to stop. 
They said I was torturing myself.
It wasn't worth it for me to be in pain all the time.
It was such a good feeling to hear that...that they supported me if I did decided to stop.
But of course, that guilt of a new mom is stronger than anything else.
I couldn't do it. I felt selfish.
I can do this. At least until I go back to work. I can do this. 
And while it got a bit easier, mainly because I was staring to get used to the routine, it controlled my life. 
She was sleeping through the night at 2 weeks, but I still had to get up to pump.
Any outing I did had to be in a 2-3 hour window as I HAD to pump. 
If we went anywhere for longer I had to lug her diaper bag and the pump bag and a cooler for the milk. 
If we had guests, I would be stuck in our bedroom attached to the wall.
It wasn't easy by any means, but I was so happy she was getting it.

Then, the devil, that is Mastitis came back. 
And with every time I had it it lessened my supply. 
I was pumping the same amount of time, but get only about half the supply.
And she was eating more and more. 
I was fighting a losing battle.

This time I got an antibiotic for it and an antibiotic to dry me up.
It was time.
I had pumped for almost 3 months and she had enough milk to get her to almost 4. 
And ladies, other than creating/birthing her, I think that is my biggest accomplishment.

Clearly I didn't have the best experience with breastfeeding. 
I wanted to make it work so badly and was willing to do whatever I could to make it work.
Honestly, I don't think I will the next round.
I will try again. If he/she latches and it works, awesome.
If not. I don't think I can solely pump again. 
Just the thought of the sound of that pump makes me cringe and want to cry.
The day I zipped that sucker up and stored it in the basement was one of the best of my life!
I actually look forward to the day that I can take it into a field and beat it "Office Space" style. :)

All this being said, I have a few friends that had amazing experiences with breastfeeding. 
They were able to do it until their little one was a year.
It never hurt (at least past the first month), it never controlled their life, it just worked.
And it was one of the best experiences of their life! 
Breastfeeding is a beautiful and natural thing and if it works, it is a blessing.
I hope that is the case for my next little one.

But if it doesn't....you are not alone. 
Lots of moms have to stop....whether it is their choice or their body's choice. 
That doesn't make you a bad mom or mean that you don't love your baby. 
And while it is easy for me to say, I have been there and I know that guilt. 
But from one Mom to another, I support you! :) 
Here is my almost 10 month old, healthy and growing like a weed!  
I mean look at those chunky little arms! I die!
Enfamil is a good thing. HA!
Okay, that was a lot! 

I hope this helps some of you Mommas or soon-to-be Mommas out there.
And please, feel free to ask me any questions....clearly I am an open book!! :) 

Good luck to you all!! :)
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12 comments:

Amy said...

Great post. I tried to breastfeed Jackson as well, but sadly, I just didn't produce enough milk. I felt so bad about it, even though I told myself I wouldn't if it didn't work out. It was stressful and I'm not even sure I want to go through that again next time. We'll see. You're definitely not alone. Sometimes our bodies just don't allow us to do it for one reason or another. Good for you for sticking it out as long as you did. :-)

Molly said...

I love all these breastfeeding stories! I had a very similar experience. I made it about a month and a half before stopping. Nothing could have prepared me for the challenges of breastfeeding. Beckett also lost more weight than the doctor was comfortable with and we were told to supplement.

On top of having to supplement & doing my best to pump every feeding, breastfeeding itself was so incredibly painful that I actually started to become resentful of B when it was time to feed him. At that point, I knew we had to make the switch to either pumping or formula. When I started pumping, my supply went down soooo fast! So formula it was. They are young for such a short amount of time & we should be able to cherish every second :)

Thanks for sharing your story!

Tiffany @ Austin Family Diary said...

Thanks for sharing! With my little man making his debut in the next month, I'm trying to start calm about breast feeding. Hoping it works, but trying to not get too psyched about it. That is so wonderful that you have such a support system!

the girl in the red shoes said...

Great post! Being a mom is hard work and it's crazy how much pressure we put on ourselves! I'm so glad you shared your story...the best part is that Elise is happy and healthy, and that's all that matters! You are such a wonderful mommy!

Joanna said...

I saw Little Baby Garvin's post and was thinking of sharing mine as well. My story was identical to yours and it is so nice to hear that I'm not alone. I tried, cried, pumped, cried, and the guilt..oh the guilt. That can eat any new mom alive. Your post will give a new mom hope when they are obsessively looking for answers like we did. Elise is beautiful Btw!

Jessica White said...

As you know, I am not a mother. However, this is one of those things that I think about whenever I think about having kids. It seriously stresses me out. I'm relieved already just reading this. People lay such a huge guilt trip on moms that can't/won't breast feed and honestly, it it no one's business but yours. I'm sorry you had such a hard time. I hope it's much smoother with the next one! Reading things like this make me feel like I'll be prepared for whatever might happen to me!

Lisa @ Tales of a Young Housewife said...

Aww, I went through the EXACT same thing with you - had troubles bfing, switched to pumping, got multiple rounds of mastitis, and switched to formula. I have good news for you though - it's SO much easier with your second and you are more relaxed and experienced. I'm nursing my second and it's been wonderful. You are a great mama, loved your post <3

Kate said...

I am also really enjoying all the breastfeeding posts. Thank you so much for sharing your story! And you did so great to keep it up as long as you did. Great job momma!

Tickled Pink Mandy said...

Thank you for sharing! It's always so good to read everyone's experiences on such a personal matter. Your little sweetie will never doubt how much you love her. You sure went through a lot! :( Poor thing. (Totally writing this pumping btw.. haha) Thanks again for your honesty!

Liz Runningmomma said...

I can imagine how difficult that must have been! I am a working mom and have to pump twice a day (or should I say only twice a day) and I'm sick of pumping and washing pump parts! Pumping definitely hurts more than nursing too!

Jade :) said...

Omg! I was exclusively for 6 weeks and thank The Lord with the help of a nipple shield he FINALLY latched on! I sooooo agree the sound of the pump makes me want to shoot myself so now unless I ABSOLUTELY have to I refuse to pump! And pumping only when he was first born and being exactly as you said STUCK TO THE WALL ugh terrible! Thank god it's over!

Melissa Knott said...

Well said, friend! I had a very similar experience. We got to 5 months and my body just couldn't keep up. Then, it quit. I tried my hardest and shed many tears, but Kylie too is thriving. Formula isn't so bad after all...