Preemie Mom Breastfeeding Problems

by Jen

I've wanted to be a mother for as long as I can remember, and I've always looked forward to breastfeeding as well.

I was thrilled when I got pregnant. Unfortunately, my water broke at 30 weeks and I had my son at 31 weeks and 4 days. I was completely committed to breastfeeding him when he was able to start eating on his own.

I started pumping less than an hour after giving birth. I talked his neonatologist into letting me try breastfeeding at 32 weeks, which is the earliest that babies can begin to coordinate swallowing, sucking, and breathing.

I pumped for twenty minutes every 2-3 hours, just as I was instructed, and I NEVER skipped a session overnight.

I quickly started taking reglan and fenugreek, and was drinking mother's milk tea and eating lactation cookies.

I cannot even count how many times I consulted with a lactation specialist. I still could only produce about half of what my baby needed, but was able to keep up with my son's intake until he was about 2 months old thanks to the surplus I had pumped while he was in the NICU.

My son never did learn to nurse well due to some sensory issues, but I continued to pump religiously. I sobbed the entire time I gave him his first bottle of formula, and I will always remember how defeated I felt that day.

My son is 3.5 months old now and doing amazingly well. Even with all of the interventions, my milk supply has dropped to about 1 oz every four hours or so. Today, I am giving up pumping. I just can't take the disappointment anymore.

I feel so broken today. I know that I tried absolutely everything that I could and that I should be proud of the mother that I am for him. Instead, all I can think is, "What kind of woman can't carry her baby to term, and then can't feed him?" I feel like my body has betrayed both of us. I hope that I can figure out how to forgive myself.

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