To try again or not?
As a first time mom I was determined to breastfeed. My goal was to do so for at least 6 months. Everything I read assured me it might be a little challenging at first, but that after the first few weeks it would be the wonderful beautiful bonding experience all the pro-BFing pamphlets promise.
I gave birth to my little girl in January 2010. She fed well in the hospital and was a good latcher. Things went well those first days. My milk came in on time and everything. Things quickly went downhill, however. My right breast soon began producing less. I was feeding my daughter every hour, that's how often she wanted to feed, and pumped between. I never got much out when pumping. By the second week my right breast stopped producing milk. I talked with lactation consultants over the phone and they told me to keep pumping and trying to get her to feed from my right breast to get it producing again. It didn't work.
My daughter refused to have anything to do with that breast, but I kept offering it. I was struggling with PPD along with these issues and after trying several things to no avail I decided to feed from my left breast alone.
the LCs and online articles assured me again that it would be fine. I'd just be lopsided. Things went from bad to worse. My daughter began screaming every feeding. Then she started screaming for hours every night. Her pedi told me she must be colicky and that it couldn't have anything to do with my breastfeeding issues. her constant screaming began to wear me down emotionally and soon we were both bawling every time we tried to breastfeed together.
I noticed my left breast was not producing much anymore. I kept trying though, i was so determined. Looking back I feel nothing but guilt.
My baby girl was starving! At 5 weeks post partum I put her to my breast and she just kept popping off and crying, without even trying to drink. Concerned, I tried to express some milk. I had moments before and gotten a few drops. When I tried again, nothing. I tried and tried...nothing. Those last few drops must have been my last.
Luckily my husband was home that day and left immediately to get some formula. I held my baby girl and just cried and cried at my failure. She drank formula the rest of that day and the next morning I woke to a new baby. A happy baby.
Overnight, the screaming had stopped. My daughter was finally getting the food she needed. She is now an incredibly healthy happy 2 yr old. Has never been sick enough to need to see a doctor yet!
My second daughter was born in April 2011. I was hoping maybe the first time had been a fluke. Maybe this time I would produce more milk and if not I'd breastfeed as long as I could. Crazy I know, but I know part of it was me wanting to help myself feel less guilty about not being able to before.
My second daughter was born and I got to breastfeed her right away. She latched and fed and my hopes were high. This time though, I was in for a huge reality check from the very beginning. After the first feeding after her birth, she absolutely refused to latch on. the nurses and I tried and tried to get her to feed during the hospital stay, and she wouldn't.
Things didn't get any better when i got home. She would not latch or feed at all. To get anything into her belly I had to express some onto a spoon and feed her with a dropper. She saw the dr at a few days old and they ordered a pump for me right away, because she had lost a significant amount of weight.
I began pumping. I was glad I was producing enough to give to her each feeding. *Just* enough. But there was another problem. Ever since the day she was born she had been gagging.
Everyone told me it was because she still had mucus left in her chest from delivery, but I knew they were wrong. She would gag so badly she would stop breathing and I had to face her to the floor and pat her back to get her to breathe again. She, also, threw up everything she ate every feeding. I was exhausted from all the pumping, and so stressed and worried about my baby girl.
I took her to the doctor for her one month appt expressing my concerns. Again the dr(same one as with my first) told me the problem wasn't with my breast milk, I just wasn't trying hard enough.
She told me breastfeeding skin to skin was a must and that by not forcing myself to breastfeed skin to skin exclusively for 6 months at the least I was endangering my child's health and life. I left that office in tears...and we never went back. We found a new doctor who shockingly listened to my concerns.
He diagnosed her at 2 months with reflux and milk intolerance. He told me I either needed to switch her to soy formula asap, or add cereal to my breast milk to make it easier for her belly to digest. By then I had also developed mastitis. My supply was quickly dwindling down to nothing and i was in a lot of pain.
My oldest was definitely feeling neglected big time since I was always hooked up to my pump. I had to choose, keep pushing forward and hope my supply came back and she stopped throwing my milk up? Or make the switch?
I looked at my oldest daughter and knew what i had to do. Yet again once we switched to the Soy formula, she was like a new baby. She began gaining weight and becoming the happy wonderful baby she is now. Her reflux issues cleared up by 6 months of age. Other than her reflux and intolerance, she has never been very sick either.
But my story isn't over. Here I sit due at the end of August 2012 with my third and last little girl. What do I do? No matter all i have been through, the guilt eats at me. The breast feeding advocates everywhere make me feel bad about myself. I fear the judgement and rude comments I will get from not breastfeeding, and part of me stupidly thinks maybe, just maybe, this time will be different. And I feel lost on what the right choice is...and I wish just the thought of breastfeeding didn't make me feel so physically sick and emotionally fragile.