Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Off Course

So what have I been doing the past few days since we returned home? Besides cuddling and cooing and not sleeping? Well, I've been trying to breastfeed.

And, oh, I've been having the hardest time!

I remember rough patches with Evie. Waiting for my milk to come in, trying to get her to wake up for feedings, the whole milk/soy thing... But the relationship we had during our nursing sessions made it all worthwhile. I loved the whole thing, and breastfed her for 20 months. It's an accomplishment I'm still very proud of.

Ethan is a different story, though. Just hours after he was born, he was in the NICU with jaundice. It was important to get him eating right away, to rid his body of bilirubin. So I agreed to supplement his feedings with formula. And he drank a LOT of formula! The nurses were all impressed with his appetite, and everyone was happy when he started getting better.

But all the bottles have caused me problems. I can't get him to latch on. I worked with a lactation consultant at the hospital, and she gave me lots of tips. I was so enthusiastic at first, but after so many days of Ethan refusing to nurse, after days of trying everything I could think of, of calls to several lactation consultants, of pumping around the clock to protect my milk supply, of more tears than you can imagine, after nipple shields and dripping syringes of breastmilk, and countless pleads to Ethan to JUST LATCH ON, I am done.

It makes me so sad. This is never something I even considered. Bottle feeding just wasn't in my plans at all. However, here I am.

Talking with Ethan's pediatrician last night made me feel so much better. Really, there's not much more I can do to encourage him to nurse. And it's not a choice I made for him - he made it for me.

The new plan is to pump a few times during the day and feed him that milk from a bottle. His other feedings will be formula. And I'll cuddle him often, wear him in a sling, sing to him, and kiss his little head so he still feels nurtured. It's a compromise I never wanted to make, although I'm becoming more accepting as time goes by.

But it sure feels like failure.


Stam House said...

Breastfeeding is a beautiful things but yes each child is different, Praise God that we had formula available and baby do not need to starve is not nursing!!!

Ashlee said...

I'm so sorry you are have had so many problems. We had to do the same thing when Blair got home. After two months of bottles, she latched back on, but then we had to start putting calorie supplement in her breast milk, so we went back to bottles full time, and she never went back to the breast. I pumped for 11 months. I hate you're not going to have that special time like you had with Evie. Whether you continue pumping or not, you are a great mom, and Evie and Ethan are so blessed to have you! If you ever need pumping support, email me, and I'll give you my phone number! I'd love to chat with you!

Alaina @ Three Ladies and a Dad said...

I know how you feel...Macie had the hardest time latching on. And with her having colic, it made it that much worse and harder (on both of us!)

Do what your heart tells you too...remember the most important thing is getting him to eat. That's what I thought about and Macie ended up using bottles/formula.

Moms in your shoes would have to do the same thing so do be so hard on yourself.

We only do the best we can do!

Hang in there Mama and I am sorry this is hard for you. :)

Jenn @ A Country Girl's Ramblings said...

I absolutely understand how you are feeling. I had the same problems with my second son. I think we both cried buckets during that time when I was trying to nurse him. I eventually gave him bottles, because I, like you, was done. I couldn't do it anymore.

I'm sorry to hear that you won't be able to nurse him, but you definitely won't lack for cuddle time. I loved cuddling my son just as much with a bottle in my hand as I did when I breastfed my others.

I'll be praying for you!

Prasti said...

i'm so sorry you will not be able to nurse him. i know it must be hard. BUT you have listed other wonderful bonding opportunities. you are doing the best you can for him and that's what counts!

Fiona said...

I'm also sorry that you've had to struggle so much.

But like everyone else, I think it's great that you can give Ethan a bottle and know that he'll be ok.

Iain was not terribly good at nursing, and I tried all the stuff you have tried. Then my milk just disappeared at 5 months. Bam!

You do what you have to do. Ethan is a miracle who you adore. He's getting quality nutrition and he could *not* have a more loving family. It's really, really ok.

Mary/Mommy of 5 said...

I know exactly how you feel! All I could think about during my hardest times attempting to nurse was "Why can everyone else in the world do this and not me?" I felt like the worlds biggest failure!! The only thing that got me through that awful time was telling myself that time flies so fast. When they turn one, no one will even remember how they were fed, and that year is such a drop in the bucket of their lives. You know how fast it goes. I didn't want it filled with tears, frustration and feeding struggles. I wanted it filled with snuggles, kisses, contentment. If that's what bottlefeeding gave us- so be it!
Hang in there, momma! You are a fabulous mother and feeding with love it what matters! Still, I know how you feel, and my heart aches for you! What lucky kids you have!

Sara said...

That sucks babe. But you tried. Remind yourself that you've done all you can do. That is just as important.

Lots of love and support from here.

JOYFUL447 said...

oh sarah, that stinks! I never had to go through it so i don't know how you feel BUT i do know how frustrating it is from other friends that have went through the same thing ... you did everything you could... don't be so hard on yourself! I know, easier said than done - but look at it this way - you can be thankful that you will have LOTS of time with Ethan as an infant since you will be home with him the first year while you were not with Evie - so look at it that way - each baby will have their own special way to bond with mom as an infant! Ethan is happy and content - yay! I hope you're doing better! You know you're a good mommy and your babies know that too too!

Alexandra said...

I am so sorry!! That sucks! Just remember you are a wonderful mom!

Just a side note -- my younger brother took over a month to finally latch on and then my mom nursed him for a long time. Maybe you could still try if you want but also be ok with bottles? That way there isn't a lot of pressure on you and its ok if he doesn't ever latch on.

Anonymous said...

OH no I am so sorry to hear this. But you've tried your best to get him to latch on. Its a tough thing, but he will be just fine on formula.