please read. new mom needing support.
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|Fri, 03-29-2013 - 1:43pm|
I have a 7 week old, and our breastfeeding journey has felt, in my eyes at least, to be a very long and arduous one. Here is my story. It is rather lengthy, but I am looking for any insight you experienced moms may have.
My baby was born happy and healthy on Feb 8, 2013. He latched on in the hospital after birth quickly. no problems. didnt hurt, everything was great. by the second night, though, baby was inconsolable. (well, duh right? he's a newborn!) well, being a new mom, sleep deprived, and not being able to console my baby for a dozen hours, by the middle of the night, a new nurse had come on shift, and told me that it was because he wasnt getting enough to eat. mind you, i have a VERY pro breastfeeding hospital and doctor group. they practically push the new baby onto your boob and tell you that its best.
well, i think this nurse was just annoyed at my screaming baby and told me to try and pump my colustrum to feed to him, to see if that would calm him down. so i did. i obviously didnt produce much, and as she held up the syringe, she said "if you were starving and this is all you got to eat, youd be screaming too". needless to say, this broke my heart (hormones...sleep deprivation..new baby...yeah. the normal me would never have stood for that) and i just lost it emotionally. i cried as my husband fed my baby a drop of colustrum from a syringe and watched the little impact it played on his fussiness. I felt like a failure. Like I couldn't help my baby, and he was sad and starving.
I was completely against formula but by now I was so delirious and emotional and being pushed into a corner that I allowed them to feed him a couple cc's of formula. watching my hubby feed him with a bottle broke my heart. that was MY job, right??
after that i continued to nurse him and my milk came in. everything was great for a while. I was on a high the first week he was home, and it did not seem like i would ever require sleep. in fact, i never wanted to sleep. i nursed him round the clock and it was glorious.
then the second week came and it all hit me. I was tired. over tired. more tired that i ever thought was possible for a human being to be. getting up for feedings was almost unbearable. i hadnt slept in weeks (couldnt sleep before giving birth either), and it was all crashing down on me now. My son would feed for an hour total. and then he would eat an hour or so later. So there was no real break in between and the feedings were just so long. I was letting him eat until his cues told me he was full. but that was SO LONG. I endured this for about another week, when the hubby knew that something had to change in order for me to get some sort of sleep and recoup. I would be going back to work in a month, and would be pumping anyways, so we decided to try pumping and bottle feeding during the night. That way, I would be up for twenty minutes every two hours instead of feeding him for an hour, every other hour. This was great to me, in theory. He needed to get used to a bottle anyways, right? and dad could play a part too. so we tried it, and he took to the bottle effortlessly. In fact, he took to it so well, that he drank three ounces in about a minute. we didnt know any better. He guzzled it down like he had never quenched his thirst before in his life. (this is a whole other issue we are facing..getting him to slow down and stop choking)This scared the crap about of me: "how is he going to want to nurse now that he knows it only takes a minute or two to get from a bottle what it takes to get from me while nursing?" Once again, hormones and emotions left me feeling lost and inadequate. And it turns out, my fears came true. He had always been a lazy eater. Falling asleep almost immediately. I would have to spend theentire hour coazing him to wake up and eat. stroking him, massaging my breasts, etc. It was very hands on and tiring. But after giving a few bottles, he was now jerking around on my breasts, pulling, tugging, and then eventually whining and crying. My left breast is a small producer, so he would get very frustrated with that one. I tried everything. I saw lactation a few times, where of course, he would eat beautiously. I tried switching him constantly. pulling him off and relatching him. dozens of different things. eventually feeding because more painful but i think i was just numb to the pain for a while.
Then, a week and a half ago, I was nursing him, and something happened. I am not sure what he did to my nipple, but it KILLED. I just about threw him off of my boob and wailed in pain. which probably made it worse. The pain was so bad I couldnt even try to break the seal. My reflex just pulled him off. I had to finish with a bottle. I figured he chomped down on me or something, and as the rest of the day continued, I knew I would need time to heal. So for a couple of days we bottle fed only. My nipple hurt, very badly. To even blow on it would kill. But by now, they both hurt. The right moreso, but they both were sore. Cold air, water, etc was just murderous. I researched things like thrush, but it didnt seem to be any of my symptoms. It looked like i had some skin, like from a typical broken blister in the tip of my nipple. so i bought shells and have been weraing them for a week and a half. I feel a whole lot better, but still not recovered. and when I pump, the initial minute is painful. I tried sleeping without the shells off last night for the first time, and woke up in pain. I figure if this doesnt get better in another week, I will go in and get checked. I havent yet only because I dont have any symptoms for any conditions like thrush.
My real concern now is nursing again. I work full time now, an hour away from home. So I am away from him for ten hours. So he is going to be bottle feeding most of the day anyways. I am sure this is all nipple confusion.
I want to be able to nurse him. But just sometimes. Working all day, finally getting all the way, and then having hour long nursing sessions all night (he is sitll eating every hour and 45 minutes now, and taking in like 5 ounces...which i am still working on being able to produce consistently) is not in the cards for me. I have to sleep sometime in between working full time, and caring for him. If I stayed at home, this would be a different scenario.
I feel guilty that it feels easier for me to pump every two hours around the clock than it is to nurse him. but seflishly, it is right now. because he doesnt just nurse like so many babies i hear and read about. that latch onto mom while laying in bed and feed for 20 or so minutes and are content. I tried nursing him the other day to see if it felt any better, and it did, but was still painful, and after 45 minutes, he was still showing hunger cues and we had to give him a bottle anyways (he took two more ounces). So he is not successfully nursing from me. Which is demoralizing. Even if I do nurse him, he doesnt seem satisfied, and/or jerks around, and is very disorganized and hurtful while feeding. So the idea of nursing has two sides for me: I want to do it because I know how important it is for the baby and 2. I don't really want to do it often, though because it has become such a hassle. I would just like the option to do it every once in a while just to remind him of it whenever I feel up to it. WHich makes me feel incredible selflish.
What should I do? It doesn't seem that my issues are straightforward and I havent come across anyone with similar issues/feelings, so I feel incredibly alone. Between trying out new nipples because of his chaotic and ravenous eating habits from a bottle, dealing with his choking and gasping from sucking a bottle down too fast, and his reflux, trying to heal my own nipples, feeling guilty about not nursing or wanting to nurse anymore, not sleeping as im pumping round the clock, taking supplements because my supply was so low, and he is eating SO MUCH, and having anxiety about pumping long term and how tiring that in itself is, as well as being scared that my supply may not last forever, my husband and I are extremely worn out and this is starting to take its toll on us as well.
I'm just so lost and I feel there are no real "answers" for me and I have no one to really talk to about this.