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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iVillage Member
Registered: 04-29-2008
Mon, 11-08-2010 - 8:22pm

HUGS!

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-15-2001
Wed, 11-10-2010 - 10:41am

You are doing an amazing thing in giving your son breastmilk.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 08-24-2005
Wed, 11-10-2010 - 10:56am

yssa, I'm sorry it took me this long to answer this!! The other girls have said the right things, so I won't repeat, I just wanted to add a couple of things.

First, that even if everything goes right, BF is hard! Fede had a great latch and great sucking, and I still worried that I wasn't giving him enough and that my supply was low. I can't tell you how many times I thought that formula would be easier!!! But try to keep in mind that in the long run, the breast is easier, it's all there, no bottlesto clean, no mixing in the middle of the night, no constipation.... So if your breasts are producing milk, try to keep pumping until your LO figures things out.... BUT... if this whole process is really stressing you out, and you are feeling depressed or truly exhausted, then by all means, switch to formula... A happy mom is more important than breastmilk for him.

Second. The whole "wonderful bonding" didn't really start until the baby was 3 months or something. something nobody tells you is that at first the baby can't really tell that the breast is you... To him, you, the breast and him are one same thing. Besides, the babies fall asleep often on the breast, and don't do much... On the other hand, you are so sleep deprived and worried that you can't really enjoy it. You will see that as he grows older, he will start to look at YOU while BF, and he will start caressing you with his little hand, and smiling... that's when things really get beautiful!

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iVillage Member
Registered: 12-23-2003
Wed, 11-10-2010 - 11:35am
----I know (personally!!!) that it can hurt to hear BTDT moms say that it will be worth it in the end when you are feeling TERRIBLE. It's totally natural to have trouble seeing beyond the marathon pumping sessions and the difficult feedings. ----

--I love that you mention this Erica because I totally found it to be true to a point but also a double edged sword. On the one hand I was miserable and exhausted and hearing that things would get better kind of made me want to punch people in the face but on the other side it sort of spurned me on to stick with it for just one more day then one more day after that and then one more ... until it was second nature and fun and pleasant.



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iVillage Member
Registered: 04-22-2006
Wed, 11-10-2010 - 4:14pm

Thanks again everyone for all the support. It's really nice to hear stories of other people who had troubles and then eventually got through it. I think right now, being in the middle of it, it just doesn't seem like it's possible.

Erica/Ash: I agree with the double edge-ness of these comments too. It's nice to hear that other women go through a lot and BF'ing ends up working for them....but then it scares the crap out of me, because what if it doesn't work for me? What if I "give up" before I should? Etc. etc...it can really add to the guilt.

Just to update: things are NOT going well with BF'ing :( He's not latching on very well lately, and he has started to bite me sometimes as well. I had another break down this morning while trying to BF. I think the part that hurts me the most is when he starts crying nonstop, and starts to root on me -- I'll bring out my breast and then nothing. Then I can give him a bottle and he'll calm right down, and even fall asleep while feeding.





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iVillage Member
Registered: 09-08-2007
Wed, 11-10-2010 - 5:53pm

Honestly Alyssa, if him taking a bottle is easier on both of you DO NOT feel guilty (especially if it's BM that you are working your butt off to give him!).

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iVillage Member
Registered: 12-23-2003
Thu, 11-11-2010 - 2:09am

I'm so sorry Alyssa. I think sometimes you just have to decide for yourself what you are willing to do. Like I absolutely will continue to breastfeed until he is a month old, even if it is only once a day, and he doesn'tseem to be getting much- however at one month I will reeavulate and if things haven'Timproved that will be it and I will stop with a good conscious that I gave it my all but can no longer put more time, effort, or stress into it.

You could set this at one month or 6 weeks or 6 months- or maybe you have already reached a point where you say it isn't worth it for you to keep trying. Only you can know how much you can handle and whatever you do be happy that you are making absolutely the best choices for you and Evan and there is nothing for you to feel guilty about at all.

A healthy, happy mother is a good mother and formula or pumping is the right choice for a lot of families.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 08-24-2005
Thu, 11-11-2010 - 9:15am

Sweetheart, if he eats easily out of the bottle, falls asleep, and you both feel happier... then give him a bottle!!! If you can keep pumping, and giving him your milk via bottle, great!, if not, and you need to switch exclusively to formula, it's ok too!!

Really, don't be afraid that you will have less of a bond with him! Breastfeeding is a beautiful thing, but a mother-son bond is made of soooo much more than that!!!

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iVillage Member
Registered: 11-01-2005
Thu, 11-11-2010 - 9:52am
I agree with Adrienne!!! If giving him a bottle is making your life and his life easier, then do it :) One day, one feed at a time but seriously, a healthy happy mom makes for a much healthier and happier baby regardless of what or how you feed him. Hugs!

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iVillage Member
Registered: 07-14-2008
Fri, 11-19-2010 - 2:26am

Alyssa,

I'm hardly ever on here anymore (just too busy now), but I was browsing tonight and came across this.

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