This post had been in draft mode pending for weeks! Excuse the lateness of it as you will read below I was going through a lot during the first 2 months of my baby’s life. She will be 3 months next week :)
Don’t get me wrong. I’m SO pro breastfeeding, but as I found out with my second child, I just couldn’t do it. While making that decision was the hardest thing to do (I even cried about it), it was the best thing for me to do for myself and my family.
Let me tell you why.
My breastfeeding experience with my son was so smooth. I thought “Hey, why do others complain it’s so difficult?”. I was lucky to continue nursing for 13 months before he weened himself. Not one problem did I have the whole time except a plugged milk duct that was easily overcome.
Hopeful for the second time around, I brought the Medela double pump from out of storage and had it ready to go. I bought breast pads, cream, and freezer storage bags. I figured I could do it again with no problem. Boy, was I wrong.
When my daughter was born, December 1st, 2014, she was so tiny, only 5.5lbs. Not only could I NOT get her to latch on, but my nipples got bigger during this pregnancy and weren’t as soft (even though I applied nursing balm weeks before). So when she did latch on, it was not proper and it hurt like a mofo. With damaged nipples I figured I could just exclusively pump for her and then when she’s big enough I could get her to properly latch on.
THAT was the plan but it didn’t happen. What did happen were the sleepless nights. Her crazy acid reflux and her gas issues and me being in constant pain. This all amounted to having next to no time at all for my son who I vowed NOT to neglect when the baby was born.
This was pretty much my routine with a baby that needed to feed every two hours:
1:00-1:30pm – bottle
1:30 – 2:30pm – burping and holding up for a good 20mins because of reflux
2:00-2:30pm – pumping while my mom held her because she wouldn’t stay on her own
2:30-2:45pm – washing and making bottles
2:45-3:00pm – doing what needs to be done like chores, eating, bathroom break etc..
3:00pm – next feed
Yes my mom was in town to help out but I wasn’t going to burden her with my baby 24/7 so that I could rest, pump, drive my son to and from school because when she goes home I will have such a hard time to do anything on my own. She was already helping with the cleaning, laundry and cooking.
We had a routine going where she would have the evening shift with the baby until 3am while I had a 4-5 hour nap that would last me the whole night/day when we swapped until 7am. At that point it was time to get my son ready for school.
I attempted to get my daughter to latch on after about 3 weeks and she did great. But only that one time, all the other times she would be screaming just like she did when we would bottle feed her… the culprit? Her bad reflux or what they call “silent reflux”. So back to pumping it was.
Finding the time to nap was difficult because of the engorgement, I’d actually choose sleep over anything and everything else. That included pumping, so when I did wake up from a 3+ hour nap I was hurting so bad. This went on for weeks and I got mastitis twice on the same side. I got it a third time and that was the last straw.
The pain was now radiating in both breasts, up the sides of my arms. I was in constant pain, my let down the entire time was so painful. I was in a bad mood, snapping at my son and yelling at the baby who was constantly crying…… I just wanted to sleep.
I made an appointment to see my doctor, my nipples were cracked and damaged and she told me “just stop”. Finally….. THIS is what I needed to hear and it was from a professional. From those 2 words I heard:
“choosing not to breastfeed your child is NOT the end of the world, you and baby will be just fine.”
Yep… that’s what I heard and it made be feel better about my decision to stop nursing and pumping all together. The entire time of my suffering I was thinking I would be a bad mother for not feeding my child my own milk when I was capable of doing it. I felt defeated… but the fact was even though I was producing the milk I wasn’t capable of delivering it without doing harm to myself. And that’s what it came down to… thinking of myself and my OWN well being.
Constantly cracking and never healing would definitely lead to something far worse than mastitis and giving up the time I used to spend with my son was heart breaking (I will elaborate in a future post).
The whole thing was just time consuming and mentally draining. I was in pain ALL the time, and I hardly had time for the rest of my family and I was in a foul mood and that was reflecting onto my kids. Not to mention battling the bout of postpartum depression that most of us go through after childbirth.
So don’t tell me that I didn’t “try” and that there were other alternatives because I told myself these things too. No matter what I did (remedies, different flanges, creams, medication, lactation consultants, help lines), tried or thought, it came down to ME being the BEST ME for my kids and that wasn’t happening while continuing the grueling quest to pump milk and try breastfeeding.
My daughter got a good 6 weeks of my milk plus all the good stuff they say that is in the colostrum when she was first born.
My mom went back home after 2 months waiting for my milk to dry up and for my pains to subside (God bless her). My awesome husband gets my son ready and to school in the mornings and I pick him up a the bell. My daughter is now on formula and she’s perfectly fine and healthy.
I’m happy. She’s happy. My son is happy and my husband doesn’t have a cranky pants wife.
It’s all good :)