Skip to content

boob stuff.

May 9, 2009

i’ve been emailed twice now about whether or not i breastfeed and realized it’s not a subject i’ve really touched on here.

the short answer is no. the long answer is, well, long.

breastfeeding wasn’t really a topic that took any consideration for me while i was pregnant. it was easy – i was going to do it. i knew it might be hard but i was fully prepared to do whatever it took to make it happen. thats what you do, you breastfeed your baby. end of story. i was one of those people who disliked the thought of formula and even (gasp) looked down upon others who used it. i know, that is unfair and that you should never judge another person, but hey, i’m being honest here. i immediately thought that women who fed their baby formula chose to do that and didn’t even try hard enough to breastfeed. that’s because i never really realized that sometimes, it isn’t your choice. sometimes, it just doesn’t work.

the day harper was born, my l & d nurse asked me if i planned on breastfeeding. of course. she said she’d try and get harper to latch on within one hour of being born. when she came out and all the technicalities were out of the way, the nurse helped me breastfeed. i will never forget harpers little face coming at my boob. she knew what she was doing. that kid looked like star jones going after a cheeseburger. i cried i was so happy – she was going to be an awesome eater! i was thrilled, beyond thrilled. about an hour later after being taken to our new room, my new nurse checked my bewbs. she looked horrified as she said “see this is why you shouldn’t try to breastfeed until you get to us”. what? but this is a breastfeeding friendly hospital. why shouldn’t i trust any nurse to help me? i looked down and saw a huge bruise-hickey thing on my boob – not even close to my actual nipple. harper had been using my areola as a pacifier. crap. oh well, i thought, it was just the first time.

problem was, she was so strong, that she left these marks whether she was in the right place or not, and after 2 days my nips resembled ground beef, and i was yelling VERY loud obscenities each and everytime she latched on. throw in my spinal headache, hormones and the general discomfort of giving birth and you have one peeved and unhappy mama. on night 2 one of my nurses suggested we supplement harper with a little formula. i said no. i had done my research, babies aren’t even hungry at day 2 and your colostrum is enough (later to find out i didn’t even have colostrum). i finally gave in and bawled as i watched a nurse feed my baby formula with a syringe. it was everything i didn’t want to happen.

my milk came in on day 4, and harper had been having some formula each day, which i hated, but i was stoked that my milk had come in (minus the pornstar bewbs). by this time my nipples were black and blue AND red, bleeding and cracked. i cringe even typing this because i don’t think i’ll ever forget how bad it hurt to have that star jones-esq mouth coming at me. i mean, she was STRONG. i was convinced she was going to pull my nipple clean off. to top it all off, i was using a pump that didn’t fit me. so every 2 hours i’d try to shove my boob into a pump part that was way too small, and then cry because nothing was working. scot called the lactation consultant and said to come in that day. she said it was perfect timing because my milk was coming in. i felt releived for the first time.

jan was the nicest lady ever. she got us a hospital grade pump, correct sized parts, and introduced me to the nipple shield aka the best thing ever invented. she was very reassuring and spent almost 2 hours with us. she was concerned about my milk(lack of), but said i could overcome it. we made an appointment to come back the next week, and left with the new pump, instructions to take fenugreek and mothersmilk tea and to pump every one to two hours. easy enough, right?

pumping for a normal producing mom should probably take about 20 minutes on the low setting. me? i had to crank the pump up to it’s highest setting (talk about feeling like a cow), and wait almost 10 minutes for milk to start flowing. after another 30 minutes, i’d have a pathetic .5 to 1 ounce per boob. get up, clean pump parts for next time and go downstairs. oh lookie there! it’s time to pump again! pure torture. i became neurotic about pumping, because pumping meant getting my supply up. i spent so much time pumping that i missed out on precious time with my family and new baby. i couldn’t pump enough to catch up to harpers eating. i was driving myself crazy. one week after harper was born, i came down with a sweet stomach virus and got dehydrated. this is what you’d call the preverbial “icing on the cake”. my boobs were screwed.

we saw jan two more times. when we left the last time, i could see in her eyes that i was doomed. she was very sweet about it, but i KNEW my fate. looking back, had i accepted it then, i would have saved myself a lot more torture. but i kept trying for 3 more weeks before giving up. i just could not accept the fact that i couldn’t breastfeed. but the day i returned the pump to the hospital, i felt a huge weight off of my shoulders.

i still get weird buying formula. i still get teary eyed thinking about breastfeeding. but all of the things i thought about formula fed babies before are NOT true. harper has never been sick (knock on wood). she is happy and healthy and that is ALL that matters. when people ask if i breastfeed, i say “not anymore”. cause i did. i did my best and no one can say i didn’t try. i do know better for next time what not to do, however i also know better for next time that if i have the same supply issues, it’s ok to let go. sometimes it doesn’t work. but harper doesn’t know the difference and never will.

your ability to breastfeed does not make you a good mother. being a good mother makes you a good mother. no one is wating at the end as you wean your child to give you a medal. formula is not poison and breast milk is not gold. just love your baby.

Advertisements
10 Comments leave one →
  1. Kelly and Natalie permalink
    May 9, 2009 11:04 pm

    Well said! I never even tried to breastfeed. I still don’t know why I never wanted to. I guess cuz my mom never did, so I wasn’t exposed to it. Dunno. But I give credit to all the mammas that at least try it. Natalie has never been sick either…was always given formula, was pre-mature, and is now a healthy peanut–in 50% for weight and 75-90th percentile for height! Like you said, just love your baby!

  2. Kelly and Natalie permalink
    May 9, 2009 11:04 pm

    Well said! I never even tried to breastfeed. I still don’t know why I never wanted to. I guess cuz my mom never did, so I wasn’t exposed to it. Dunno. But I give credit to all the mammas that at least try it. Natalie has never been sick either…was always given formula, was pre-mature, and is now a healthy peanut–in 50% for weight and 75-90th percentile for height! Like you said, just love your baby!

  3. Jenn permalink
    May 10, 2009 2:33 am

    I could have written this same post and am so happy that you did. I still get teary eyed too, but now the sweet girl eats!! She has been on formula since week 6 and could not be happier.

  4. Jenn permalink
    May 10, 2009 2:33 am

    I could have written this same post and am so happy that you did. I still get teary eyed too, but now the sweet girl eats!! She has been on formula since week 6 and could not be happier.

  5. Kirsten permalink
    May 10, 2009 3:39 am

    I can totally relate. I tried, but it never really happened for us either…with both girls in the NICU for a week and a half, they were being tube/IV fed, then weaned to bottles to measure every milliliter they ate, so they were pretty much terrified of my boobs by the time I was allowed to try breastfeeding for the first time! I was a slave to my pump (20 minutes every 3 hours around the clock) for the first 3 months. I think I still have the “whoosh whoosh” noise ringing in my ear! I finally realized that I’d much rather spend all that time with the babes. I agree, it was a very strange thing to return the hospital grade breast pump, like I was “giving in”…but I’ve never looked back! We love our Dr. Brown’s bottles and Kirkland brand formula!

  6. Kirsten permalink
    May 10, 2009 3:39 am

    I can totally relate. I tried, but it never really happened for us either…with both girls in the NICU for a week and a half, they were being tube/IV fed, then weaned to bottles to measure every milliliter they ate, so they were pretty much terrified of my boobs by the time I was allowed to try breastfeeding for the first time! I was a slave to my pump (20 minutes every 3 hours around the clock) for the first 3 months. I think I still have the “whoosh whoosh” noise ringing in my ear! I finally realized that I’d much rather spend all that time with the babes. I agree, it was a very strange thing to return the hospital grade breast pump, like I was “giving in”…but I’ve never looked back! We love our Dr. Brown’s bottles and Kirkland brand formula!

  7. Meg permalink
    May 10, 2009 5:52 am

    I love reading other people’s BF stores. You know my saga, so I’ll refrain from sharing it again. But ya, I wish more people shared their stories when it doesn’t go as planned, no just when it’s successful.

  8. Meg permalink
    May 10, 2009 5:52 am

    I love reading other people’s BF stores. You know my saga, so I’ll refrain from sharing it again. But ya, I wish more people shared their stories when it doesn’t go as planned, no just when it’s successful.

  9. Chrysanthemum permalink
    May 11, 2009 12:47 am

    I’m so glad that you shared this story!

    I too tried to breastfeed, ending up down the formula road. Indigo never latched well at the hospital. We tried everything at the hospital… it was really disheartening, but I was determined. I also used the nipple shields and have to tell you that it was one of the most horribly painful experiences of my life. My nipples are on the flat side (hence the latch issue), so I had searing pain every time I nursed. Nipple sucked through straw… not cool. I cried through most of my feedings and was slipping into a minor PPD.

    At Indigo’s 2 week appointment, we found out that she was losing weight and was well under the weight that she left the hospital with and over a pound less than her birth weight. We decided to supplement with formula with me pumping to see how much she was getting… a pitiful amount.

    Also, she was crying constantly and started wanting to nurse for 40 minutes every hour. Once this little girl had some formula in her, her whole disposition changed. We made the decision that formula was the best thing for her, and although it broke my heart, I knew I was doing the right thing. She gained nearly a pound in 5 days and is now thriving. I honestly feel a lot saner, too.

    As my husband said to me, “when she’s graduating high school and making her life, no one is going to know that you only breastfed for 3 weeks.” And he’s totally right.

    Will I try again next time? Most likely. But I’ll also know that it’s not the end of the world if it doesn’t work out.

  10. Chrysanthemum permalink
    May 11, 2009 12:47 am

    I’m so glad that you shared this story!

    I too tried to breastfeed, ending up down the formula road. Indigo never latched well at the hospital. We tried everything at the hospital… it was really disheartening, but I was determined. I also used the nipple shields and have to tell you that it was one of the most horribly painful experiences of my life. My nipples are on the flat side (hence the latch issue), so I had searing pain every time I nursed. Nipple sucked through straw… not cool. I cried through most of my feedings and was slipping into a minor PPD.

    At Indigo’s 2 week appointment, we found out that she was losing weight and was well under the weight that she left the hospital with and over a pound less than her birth weight. We decided to supplement with formula with me pumping to see how much she was getting… a pitiful amount.

    Also, she was crying constantly and started wanting to nurse for 40 minutes every hour. Once this little girl had some formula in her, her whole disposition changed. We made the decision that formula was the best thing for her, and although it broke my heart, I knew I was doing the right thing. She gained nearly a pound in 5 days and is now thriving. I honestly feel a lot saner, too.

    As my husband said to me, “when she’s graduating high school and making her life, no one is going to know that you only breastfed for 3 weeks.” And he’s totally right.

    Will I try again next time? Most likely. But I’ll also know that it’s not the end of the world if it doesn’t work out.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: