Thursday, September 2, 2010

Breastfeeding woes

This is going to be a long post. This is mostly just me talking about my past experience, for myself, trying to figure out how I feel, haha. It would upset me too much to write about it when it happened, so I never really posted about it until now. I realize most people won't read this.

I am absolutely PETRIFIED of breastfeeding again. It was very traumatic both physically and emotionally for me last time, and I'm trying to decide if I even want to try again. (More because of the emotional) In 5 months or less little #2 will be joining our family. I had a really hard time breastfeeding with Samantha. I know a lot of people struggle, and I'm definitely not saying mine was any worse- you can't truly know how someone experienced something. period.
Anyway, little Sam came out of the womb healthy as can be, and everyone left and I got to breastfeed. All I really knew about it was it was supposed to hurt, but the hurt would go away. I also knew a few other small details about the process, but I'll leave those out of this very public blog ;) I was exhausted, but she seemingly ate just fine. As the stay in the hospital went on, I requested help, because I was positive it wasn't supposed to hurt THAT bad. They said she had a really bad latch, and showed me how to work on that with her. So I did.

When we got home from the hospital, things pretty much kept getting worse, the following days. I started bleeding horribly, I was sooooo cracked and chapped and I was all frayed looking. I've never had chapped hands, lips ANYTHING even 1/100 as bad as it was. I started taking my percocet based on when I was nursing, (and I had some nasty pain down there- it just wasn't as bad as breastfeeding). I also developed some nasty mastitis. yay. After a few days I'd had enough and went to a lactation consultant. The lactation consultant took one look at me and told me I needed to stop breastfeeding and allow myself to heal. (I've had people tell me this is strange, that a lactation consultant won't tell you to stop. I'm telling you- she TOLD me to STOP, she said I HAD to heal). She gave me a few prescription creams and balms and told me to come back in 2 weeks and we'd see how I looked. I rented a pump and my new life became pumping for 20-30 minutes, feeding for 20 minutes, 1 hour break. Lets just say that got old fast, haha. I had a hard time keeping up with how much she was eating, even though I pumped an extra 10 minutes after I'd gotten all the milk, trying to get a little extra production. Honestly, looking back, I was a little too fixated on losing my baby weight and wasn't eating nearly enough.

So 2 weeks later I went back to the lactation consultant and she said I might need a little longer to heal (yes, they were THAT bad) , but that I should be okay if I was really careful. So we tried to get Samantha back on. It was painful, and Samantha still had a terrible latch. She also hated it. She screamed and hollered and was SOO mad. She had grown used to the bottle, and the speed of the bottle, and wanted nothing to do with nursing. The lactation consultant tried to help me, she said I could do it, but I left feeling discouraged. I tried another day or 2, but Samantha still wanted NOTHING to do with nursing, she wanted her bottle. I was crushed. I gave up and decided to just pump for her til my milk ran out (that ended up being about 2 months). I cried all the time and was so depressed for more than a month. I felt like a failure. I finally snapped out of it, and realized I wasn't doing anyone any good by moping about it, especially since there wasn't anything I could do about it. For about 6 months I still felt like everyone was watching me in church when I went in to the bathroom to make a bottle instead of into the mothers room to nurse. I felt like they were judging me, and shaking their heads at me. And maybe some of them were. But then I decided who cares? I'm sure there were some who weren't, and some who were, but it doesn't really matter, does it? Also, Samantha was FINE. When she turned a year old I realized something... there is NOTHING wrong with her compared to other kids who were nursed a full year. (imagine that?!) AND she didn't even get sick until she was 11 months old! I know plenty of nursed babies that got sick 3 or 4 times during their first 12 months. (I'm not in any way saying that breast isn't best, I'm just saying, unnursed babies are actually okay, and not diseased, haha)

Now that we're about to have another one, I 'm trying to decide what I want to do. I think I've decided on a few things, but not for sure. I think I've pretty much decided that if #2 has a bad latch like Samantha, that's that, it's a done deal. I think I'm just going to see how things go, and take it from there. I don't want to fully invest myself and be as crushed and devastated as last time, but at the same time, I do want to try. So I think I'll just see what happens. BUT I think I'll probably end up pumping for a month or 2, depending when #2 is born, (I have like a 70%+ chance of getting cholestasis again, which means induction at 37 weeks) basically I'd like to pump til the end of February, and get #2 through the winter months.

I'd like to add that if you have an opinion that could possibly make me feel bad, keep it to yourself, I have definitely felt enough guilt about this whole thing, and don't need anymore :)


Charles and Nancy said...

Oh, Nicole! I'm so sorry that you had such a rough time. I don't blame you at all for being nervous about trying to breastfeed this baby. I think you are making a good decision in seeing how it goes and then going from there. And I agree that sometimes breastfeeding is not right for you or the baby. The people that may have judged you about bottlefeeding obviously either never breastfed or had a really easy time breastfeeding and don't know the complications that can happen. Good luck!

Sara said...

My 2 cents (because that is probably what it's worth): First of all, do NOT let yourself feel an ounce of guilt for not breastfeeding. In fact, I would say you should be pretty darn proud of yourself- 1. you tried and 2. you pumped that much! Holy cow! I think all pumping mothers deserve an award. Seriously. Never look back with any regret, you did your best and hey guess what, there is NOTHING WRONG WITH FORMULA! (And this is coming from a mom who has/will nurse both kids to a year.) I wish I could take all guilt away from new mommies when it comes to nursing it is sad to me that it becomes such a stress and pain that it robs mom of enjoying the newborn time period, which goes by so fast.

I would say give it a shot with this baby, his/her latch might be completely different then Sam's and you may find you enjoy it. You still might experience a little bit of pain, normal amount if he/she latches correctly. My mom (who is a midwife) always gives her patients the advice of sticking with it for 6 weeks. If it's not going well by 6 weeks, never look back.
If baby has a bad latch from the beginning don't stress out and do what will make you the best mommy! And again, do not let yourself feel an ounce of guilt with your decision. Just remember that it is making you a better mom and that is what is most important.
Good luck and please don't stress the rest of your pregnancy about this! You are a great mom, Samantha is happy and healthy and this baby will be too!

mvbarnes said...

I can totally relate to how you felt! My scenario was almost the opposite though. Since Eleyna was a premie I had to pump right after she was born and as soon as they let me, I nursed. When she nursed she hardly latched and I would sit there and after 20 minutes on each breast, she probably hadn't drank more then an once. So I would let her nurse (which she didnt mind)then I'd have to pump afterwards while she drank from a bottle, then clean and sanitize the pump and 30 minutes later It started all over again! I was a zombie and after 3 months I couldn't take it any longer and gave up. I felt like a failure! Maybe I was a weenie and should have hung in there longer. IDK, but I knew I did what I could. But..Eleyna to date is one of the healthiest kids I know. Besides getting a warm temp each time she was teething I think she's been sick maybe 2 or 3 times max. So... no regrets but when we have a second kiddo I do plan to try again :) I know you'll do what you feel is best for you and the baby :) Whatever you end up doing :) PS I hated when people would ask if I was breastfeed! :)

Stacy Robbins said...

I can relate as well. Caleb just refused though and had jaundice really badly - almost enough to put him in the hospital again...and one of the things they tell you is to make sure baby is getting enough to eat - and he refused. I'm talking screaming when it's time for him to eat. I was just like you - I hated feeding him in church.

And I almost have no desire to try it ever again - EVER! But I might change my mind. I'm totally with you! And it's true that Mom knows best - not everyone else. A friend of my mom's once said, "it was better that I loved my children when they wanted fed rather than cringing and trying to put it off." Mom's know best - and I'm sure you will. Good luck!

Scott and Heather said...

oh my gosh! This is my story too! Thanks for sharing, it makes me feel so good to know that someone understands. And I think it's a little postpartum that causes that horrible feeling of failure. I pumped and tried everything but after just a month I gave up and that was the worst feeling ever. I felt like the worst mom in the world and that everyone was judging me too, but I don't think I will breastfeed number 2. Except formula is really expensive! It's your choice, and I for sure won't be judging you and there are the perks of formula. Such as the freedom to go whenever you want, help from the husband if you're too tired to make a bottle, quick feeding, and your baby sleeps loner throug the night, goes longer between feedings, and you don't have to worry about finding a place to nurse! My theory is, whatever works for you go for it!

Katrina said...

Nicole, you are a great mom! Sam is the cutest little girl and it doesn't matter that she wasn't able to breast feed. I think it happens this way more than we know. I think you are thinking right about wanting to try with #2 and just see what happens! You'll always wonder if you don't try. But you know that formula was a success with Sam so you shouldn't, and I don't think you will, feel guilty at all if this baby just can't do it either!
Good luck! Let me know if you need anything and when you want to play again! Have a great long weekend!

Stephanie said...

Nicole! I miss your face.

I hate breastfeeding too! I did not have nearly the bad experience that you did, but Caleb was intensely spazzy (even WITH a bottle, it just inflicted less pain upon me for him to have it).
I didn't want to try w Sadie, but did anyway and she was AWESOME. I breastfed her for a year.

Sophie is kind of an inbetween thing, because my nipples get super sore... I don't know what the issue is and it isn't consistent. So, oh well. She won't take a bottle so I am just trying to stick it out emotionally for 1-2 more months and which point I will have a smallish break with SOLIDS!!!

YAY! Anyway, you never know is all I am saying. Each kid is different. And if you really are concerned then take it up w Heavenly Father, because quite frankly, he ACTUALLY knows how breast vs bottle will affect the baby.

We need to hang out. Especially if Caleb gets into preschool... it'll be much more fun that way.

Landon and Alaina said...

Oh my goodness your experience sounds so miserable! I hope things can go better this time. I had a really great experience with a lady in rexburg that gives cranisacral massages to babies. She explained to me that babies are so compressed in the womb that they sometimes need help getting the compression worked out. She worked all over Ariah's head including the inside of her mouth. I cannot even tell you how night and day the changes were. I took her in mostly for colic but I am thinking that maybe if your baby needed help to get its mouth in shape to be able to latch properly that might help. She only charged me 10$ for a visit. She is here in Rexburg(in my home ward actually)If you ever get that desperate I can get you her number but I really hope things go way better.

Team Shelton said...

I too had major problems with breastfeeding (you can read it here: Henry had tongue thrust really bad, and had feeding issues with breastfeeding and the bottle. What made it worse was that I wasn't producing enough milk. I had a girl at church ask me, "Oh is that breast milk in that bottle?" I know she said it just to make me feel like a bad mom for not breastfeeding. I know how emotionally draining it can be. In the end I had to do what was best for my emotional state- and that meant stopping pumping at 8 weeks and letting the babe drink formula...and we are all fine here! Do what is best for YOU and forget about what everyone else says/think!

Kendra and Caleb said...

I am so sorry. I had a horrible experience with breast feeding and it was NOT worth all the stress and guilt I put myself through. I went to the lactation consultant 2xs and have a huge scar...but I feed Porter with a nipple shield still and I love it. It doesn't hurt and we are both happy. So if your open to it, I would recommend trying the shield. Whatever you choose you are still a great mommy. And my dr told me... formula fed babies go to college too ;)

Angela B said...

You can always try again... It seems alot of moms struggle the first go around. So, LEARN from your mistakes, get a little more educated-- read a book or two: The Nursing Mother's Companion has like 60 pages dedicated to, "before you begin nursing" and most hospitals offer a pre-natal nursing class.. like a birthing class only not as much. And then give it your best if that's what you decide to do.

6 cute kids said...

I always say it is what is best for YOU and the baby. Each one of my kids have been different. I don't love one more because they nursed longer, I love them all the same. That is why I chose to be a SANE mommy and do what is BEST FOR ME!!!

Lauren Alberts said...

(and you thought you wouldnt get comments on this haha)

ok I am probably just repeating what everyone said but I will say it again, just do what you feel is best, you have been blessed with mommy intuition, you know your body and you know your baby, you will know what to do!

formula is GREAT and this is coming from a crazy mom who nurses her 16 month old. and i promise you WAY more moms are using formula, even at church, then you realize. no one will ever look bad at you. and if someone ever does that person is not a parent and deserved to be smacked with a poopy diaper.

just give a try in the hospital just so you wont have to wonder if it could have worked. you will totally know if its a good fit.

either way best of luck. my heart is BREAKING that you felt like you had to keep your struggles a secret til now I feel so bad :(

Lauren Alberts said...

P.S. more moms have a hard time breastfeeding then we all let on! its the blind leading the blind, how can that ever be an easy thing..