I tried and tried and tried and it's okay

by Lauren

I had 2 very complicated births.

I had preeclampsia with my first child. He was born 4 weeks early. I had decided to give breast feeding a try with him, but wasn't overly committed to the idea.

My mom, grandmother and aunts did not breast feed any of their children, and so I had no one really encouraging me to do so.

Due to medications I was on after my son's birth breast feeding (or staying awake for an extended period of time) was not possible right away.

My son started out on formula and by the time he and I was able to come home I was content to keep him on formula.

When my friends became pregnant they all asked me about the moment my milk came in and shared their experiences with me.

It was then that I realized that after the birth of my son I never experienced my milk coming in. I never once had to wear nursing pads, I never saw even a droplet of milk on my nipples. At the time, I didn't even give it a thought because I wasn't breast feeding.

My daughter was born 5 weeks ago and today is actually her due date. I had preeclampsia with her as well but this time I also developed HELLP syndrome.

My daughter was in the NICU. I didn't even see her for almost 24 hours after she was born. I had several complications with her birth.

This time around I REALLY wanted to breast feed. Again, due to medications I was on I was not able to start breast feeding right away so my daughter started out on formula.

When I was able a lactation consultant helped me get started pumping. I pumped practically around the clock. I was in the hospital for 7 days after my daughters birth. The entire time we were there I only produced enough colostrum to rub it on my daughter's lips.

The nurses told me every little bit helps. I know that my milk "should" have come in while I was still in the hospital, but I was assured that it doesn't always come in 3-4 days after birth so I didn't worry.

However, 14 days after she was born I was still only producing tiny drops of colostrum. On the 15th day I could see a change in the color and that told me that my milk had come in, but I didn't have any of the sensations of my milk coming in that my friends had talked about.

By this point I was only pumping due to the small amounts I was producing and had been supplementing with formula from the beginning.

Because my son was solely formula and had no complications or adverse reactions to it I had no reservations giving my daughter formula I just really wanted to breast feed.

I bought several different milk storing containers. I was ready for the milk to just start flowing like everyone said it would. Only it didn't. The most I ever produced at one time from both breast combined was just under a half ounce.

I consulted my doctor and he recommended 2 herbal remedies and one medication. The medicine could cause depression as a side effect so I opted to go the herbal route. No change. I am really not willing to try a medicine that could cause depression.

I'm sad that breast feeding is not working out but I'm not depressed and I'd like to keep it that way.

Here I am 5 weeks later and I know I am close to quitting. My nipples are chapped and have bled and I have never been able to produce enough milk at once to give my daughter a full bottle of breast milk.

My doctor has recommended that I have no more pregnancies, and after everything I experienced I would have to agree. I think I'm trying so hard because this is my last child.

However, to all the moms who are depressed let me offer you this encouragement:

My son was 100% formula fed. I never felt that my son and I were "less bonded" than my breast feeding friends and their children.

In addition formula feeding allowed my husband to actively participate in feeding our children. He feels that this has helped him to bond with our children. We have friends whose husbands have NEVER fed their babies. My husband actually enjoyed/s taking the middle of the night feeding time. He said he likes when the house is quiet and it's just him and his baby. Hearing this has helped me make peace with what I feel is my inadequacies.

My daughter is also doing perfectly fine on formula. Logically I keep telling myself that making sure my child is well nourished by any means does not make me a bad mom. It doesn't make any of you a bad mom either.

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