Feeding Woes

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-22-2006
Feeding Woes
23
Thu, 11-04-2010 - 11:00pm

So, most of you know that we've had a rough start to BF'ing because Evan was in the hospital for the first week. He was able to latch on fairly well, but didn't really have the sucking thing down.

After emailing with a LLL consultant and talking to a few people, we started doing this thing where we'd feed him a bit from a bottle to take the edge off, then try him on the breast for at least 10 minutes (more if he was doing well), and then top him up with the bottle at the end (because he would tire himself out on the breast). That process would work about 2 times a day, but the rest of the time he would just take a bottle.

This process has been incredibly frustrating for me. If I'm not totally stressing out about him feeding (or not feeding) at the breast, then I'm attached to the pump trying to get as much milk out as I can. Because I'm attached to the pump all the time, DH gets to feed him the majority of the time (otherwise I'd be up 24/7 with feeding/changing/pumping/trying to BF) - so I feel like I'm missing out on some serious quality/bonding time with Evan.

I've had multiple break downs over it - over the fact that I can't seem to make progress with BF'ing, or that I'm attached to the pump, or that DH is a WAY better parent than I am and is making a stronger bond with our son.

Now it looks like I have mastitis in my right breast - the breast that produced more milk. Well, now my supply seems to be dwindling and I can't even pump enough for one feed! I just feel like everything is stacking against me when it comes to BF'ing and being able to give my son the nutrition he needs.

All the time in the back of my mind I've been thinking that life would just be easier if we went to formula. I wouldn't be a total stress case like I am now. I wouldn't be having multiple break downs a day. I wouldn't get so frustrated with my 2-week-old baby for not being able to BF properly. But, then the immense guilt comes in. I just can't face the judgement (from myself and others) for "giving up" on BF'ing - something that's supposed to be the most natural thing in the world and what is the BEST thing for baby. There is so much pressure to get BF'ing working. Everytime I even mention having issues, everyone says how it will all be worth it when it starts to work, and there's nothing more wonderful than BF'ing, etc. etc..

Anyway, sorry for the huge vent. I think I just needed to get it out. At this point I'm at my wits end and really don't know what to do. All I keep thinking is that if I don't get BF'ing down (or at least able to give him pumped breast milk), then I am a failure. Kudos to anyone who made it this far!





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Avatar for berry81
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-27-2008
Thu, 11-04-2010 - 11:21pm

"All I keep thinking is that if I don't get BF'ing down (or at least able to give him pumped breast milk), then I am a failure."

Oh :( BIG HUGS Alyssa.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-23-2003
Fri, 11-05-2010 - 2:40am

No matter what you choose you are a great mother!!!

I think a lot of us post that it gets better because for most of us the start was rocky- I can't remember how many times I wanted to quit and switch to formula but after a few weeks it really got better, and became enjoyable. Now that I use both formula and bfing I also have to say that formula has its own challenges which comes with it- and the first weeks of having a baby are stressful no matter how you feed them.

I think since Evan was early you'll find that a lot changes in the coming weeks- him getting tired out drinking for example. Pretty soon he'll want to hang out on your breast 24/7:)

One thing you might want to consider is doing formula for some bottles so that you get a break from pumping. I would focus just on having Evan on the breast as much as possible so he gets lots and lots of practice to get better.You mention at least 10 minutes if he is doing well- I would suggest 30-40 minutes or however long he wants to hang out there even if he is barely sucking. This time on the breast is really what gets everything working IMHO and even though at the time it can be hard to really know if things are improving, I found it made a big big difference for Theo and I.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 02-16-2008
Fri, 11-05-2010 - 11:04am

Oh, Alyssa! (((((Hugs)))))

I've been there, and I know it sucks. I don't know how many times I cried that I was a failure. And Peter got some formula. Not much, but some. After the first couple weeks, I quit even offering him the breast until he was a month old. It helped to not stress us out so much. The issue with pumping is that you can then obsess over how much he's getting/not getting (we had weight issues).

Don't worry about nipple confusion. That was what stressed me out so much. Bottles were totally going to ruin everything. Instead, Peter decided he didn't really like bottles and pacifers once we got everything to work out.

As for pumping, try fenugreek and blessed thistle (three pills each, three times a day). I've stopped taking it, but am about to resume since I don't respond well to the pump.

And if formula would work out better for you, do it. It's not going to hurt Evan. You've worked your butt off to get it to work. There's also nothing wrong with bfing/pumping during the day, formula at night if you need to.

You aren't a failure! You're just facing challenges that a lot of women don't have to face. Some of our babies just struggle with breastfeeding for whatever reason. As my LC told me: It's not you. Don't put all the blame on yourself (I know I did). Sometimes things just don't work out the way they're "supposed" to.

Please email me if you need to talk. Like I said, I've been there. There's nothing worse than fighting to feed and crying while you do it. ((Hugs))

by sara photo sigbysara.jpg
iVillage Member
Registered: 09-08-2007
Fri, 11-05-2010 - 11:12am

(((HUGS))) Alyssa!!

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iVillage Member
Registered: 11-01-2005
Fri, 11-05-2010 - 11:59am

Alyssa,

I wont offer any more advice that you already have gotten from other threads, this thread and the LLL...everybody.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 02-26-2008
Fri, 11-05-2010 - 2:30pm

."Everytime I even mention having issues, everyone says how it will all be worth it when it starts to work, and there's nothing more wonderful than BF'ing, etc. etc.."

First off HUGS!!! I am sorry you guys are going through this. Secondly whoever said that breastfeeding was natural and wonderful is crazy. While I enjoy it now, those first weeks SUCKED!! They were awful. There is nothing natural about breastfeeding (I haven't read others). For me it was horrible, i was in H-E-L-L for about 3 or 4 weeks. I had a little one that wouldn't latch because my nipples were so flat from having too much milk. She would choke and gag on my milk because it would come out so fast. So while I am having a different problem I feel your pain.

You are not a failure, just the fact that you went to the LLL to try to breast feeding rather then just giving up right away says to me that you aren't a failure. I think you and your DH need to decide what's best for you. I know that for me I wanted to quit right around 2 weeks and DH pressed me to keep going and when I got to the 4 or 5 week mark it got better - but again my issues were different than yours. You just have to do what you need to do. Know that if you switch to formula he will be fine. Maybe talk to another person at the LLL or your doc or his peditrician.

Good Luck and whatever you decide to do we are here to support you. HUGS!



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iVillage Member
Registered: 04-22-2006
Fri, 11-05-2010 - 7:24pm
Thanks again for all the advice and just listening to me vent. I talked to my midwives again today, and they made me feel a lot better about things. They said that the goal right now is to get Evan to gain weight so he can get bigger and stronger. If I have to do that using pumped milk and bottles, then so be it. Since he has shown he can latch on and feed (but is just not efficient enough at it yet to get a full feed from the breast), he will probably have no issues once he is strong enough to do it consistently.

So, I'm really going to try and keep the focus on him getting food and getting stronger and bigger --- and not focus on what route the breast milk is coming from right now. I will keep trying him on the breast at least a couple times a day just to make sure he stays used to it, but it's just not going to be a priority right now. Hopefully this will help with my stress/frustration levels too.

Oh, and the midwife doesn't think I have mastitis, even though the LC I saw yesterday thought I did. The MW thinks it's a blocked duct instead. I agree with her because I haven't felt very flu-like nor have I had a fever or any other symptoms of mastitis besides a hard lump.

Anyway, thanks again to everyone - I really appreciate the support.




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iVillage Member
Registered: 12-23-2003
Sat, 11-06-2010 - 3:49am
That all sounds so good Alyssa! I'm glad your midwives were able to help you feel better about the situation and it sounds like Evan will be breastfeeding full time in no time at all:)
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iVillage Member
Registered: 09-08-2007
Sat, 11-06-2010 - 11:08am

It sounds like a great plan Alyssa!!

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iVillage Member
Registered: 02-26-2008
Mon, 11-08-2010 - 1:32pm

Alyssa - I am so glad you were able to talk with your MW and feel better about it! That's great!! Glad it's not mastitis too. I know after I got a long time without pumping and/or feeding that I have some ducts are hurt - this morning was awful because we had such a rough day yesterday and she wouldn't breast feed, nor did I have time to pump....never going to bed full again ever ;)

Anyway I am so glad!



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