Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Breastfeeding: A Journey

This is a secret look into my biggest struggle. Please don't personalize this post as anything to do with the breastfeeding vs. formula debate. Both my babies have formula fed so I have no issues there. As with ALL of my posts this has nothing to with anyone but myself. I don't need added grief by having someone misunderstand my writing and be upset by it. I debated whether or not to even post this or just keep it in draft form. This post was done on Tuesday.

As I start to write this, I don't know where this journey is going to end. But, I feel like I need to write all this down, maybe someone out there is going through the same thing and could gain something from this.

Breastfeeding has always been work for me. It's never come easy or naturally. Any slight diversion and my milk supply plummets.

My first time at breastfeeding was difficult. Hayden never latched on and nursed before we went home from the birthing center. If he doesn't nurse before we leave, then their policy is to send us home with formula. I felt defeated before I even began. I had struggles once we got home getting my milk started with a baby who couldn't nurse. I eventually resorted to a nipple shield to help him latch. I had family driving me nuts about how much he was eating as well as the typical newborn weight loss. I finally went to a lactation consult who helped us get on the right track and Hayden started nursing well after that.

But I couldn't leave him with anyone. He wouldn't use a bottle and would only nurse. I couldn't sit through an entire church service or go out with my husband. Finally at 6 months I got him to take a bottle. A little formula here and there, and then one day Hayden didn't want to nurse. He wanted the instant gratification of the bottle. It was so stressful and I felt so rejected that I just stopped nursing.

That was my first experience.

Then I had Corbin. Corbin was my champion nurser from day one. Within 10 minutes of being born he had latched on and was nursing. I was so relieved that we didn't have to go through the stress of "teaching" him to nurse. But it took 4 days for my milk to come in and he had a bit of weight loss. With his kidney issues, I didn't want to do anything that might hurt him. So we supplemented with formula. So started the slippery slope to where I am today.

Then I started trying to lose weight - something I think I regret now. Again, a decline in milk. I didn't have enough to feed him fully. I'm not going to starve him, so we did more formula. It started with a bottle each night before bed, and has now turned into a bottle for every feeding, with maybe 4 oz of breast milk thrown in once every other day. That's seriously all I'm producing...2 oz a day.

I could cry.

Not because I so desperately want to breastfeed, but because I know my NOT breastfeeding is affecting his health. Most babies can thrive wonderfully on formula, but Corbin is not one of those babies. He has developed a severe eczema rash that no amount of lotion can clear up. He is constipated and his stools are green and more solid. I know he needs his mother's milk, and I'm not giving it to him.

I wish I could. I would do anything. Or would I? Because, honestly, I haven't been consistent in pumping. I get busy and go 4-5 hours before pumping, I have simply given up having him nurse now that he's used to the bottle.

And that's where I am right now. I wish I knew the end to the story right now.

But here's my journey. I am going to pumping 20 minutes every 2 hours. At present, if I pump every 2 hours, I can get less than .5 oz, probably not even .25 oz. But I'm going to keep going. If I can't get my supply up by this time next Tuesday, I will resign myself that my breastfeeding days are done.

1 comment:

Gail said...

Did you ever find out what the medical test said about the green poop and what the reason behind it was??

Did you pick a brand of formula for when he does drink it?
I know you were switching, and then you said might stick to one, but then I didn't know if that really made no difference, so maybe you are back to switching?

Please confront me tomorrow. I owe you $10 and I also got formula coupons. I have an awful memory.