Tag Archives: breastfeeding

A Break Up Letter

17 Sep

Dear Bo.obs,

I’m sorry, but the Bunny and I have to break up with you, though we hope we can remain friends. It’s not that you’re not perfectly nice – because you are. You’re great boo.bs. But you’re not making enough milk for Bunny, and I don’t have the strength, patience, or time to coax you into trying to make more. Plus – while you were being lazy, Bunny got used to getting fed from a bottle and she doesn’t like latching on to you guys any more. I don’t know if you noticed – but she hasn’t latched on in three days. And you know as well as I do how hard we’ve been trying. We even brought in another Lactation Consultant and her help didn’t make a difference, as good as she was. Frankly, I don’t think there’s any going back at this point. So it’s really time to move on to milkier pastures.

It’s not that I don’t plan on keeping in touch. We definitely should. If you don’t mind, I’d like to pump you guys about 3 times a day so that Bunny can get the benefits of as much milk as you can muster, without me being a slave to the pump. A mom’s gotta keep her sanity after all, and there’s only so many hours of mooing and milking I can stand a day. I hope you don’t take that personally, and give me what you can. I promise to ask nicely, and to only use the fancy electric pump I just rented, because you deserve the best.

So fare thee well my dear boo.bies. I hope there are no hard feelings. The Bunny and I will keep in touch.

Sincerely,

Mo and the Bunny (Though she can’t read, write, talk, or convey complex ideas just yet, I assure you she shares my sentiments completely.)

 

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Thank you all for your advice and words of encouragement on my last post. I think what I really needed was “permission” to let it go, and so many of you gave me that, which made me feel better and allowed me to be more forgiving of myself. I hope I continue to make peace with this decision. I truly think it’s the best one for my sanity, and therefore, for Bunny’s well being. To quote what so many of you said in the comments: I am feeding with love, and that’s the most important thing. Now I just hope I can continue to remember that and not feel too much guilt about this. I think it just wasn’t meant to be. If there will ever be a Bunny 2.0, I’ll take the lessons I learned this time and try again. But for now, we move on.

The Hard Stuff

14 Sep

Like I promised in my last post, I want to be honest about this experience. So bear with me, this one is going to be long, and hard.

We got released from the hospital when the Bunny was 2 days old. The first day home was awesome. I was still riding on a complete high. Breastfeeding seemed to be going ok (though the Bunny kept falling asleep while nursing), we were getting in a groove. Mind you, I hadn’t slept a wink literally for a week, but at that point it didn’t bother me.

The next day, my milk came in, my hormones crashed, and that’s when the fit started hitting the shan.

My back started spasming and hurting like a mofo.

I was beginning to feel anxious, all the time.

I didn’t have an appetite, and was having problems keeping food down.

I couldn’t sleep a wink. Even when Shmerson sent me to the bedroom while he watched the Bunny I would shut my eyes, and nothing would come. It was like this animal instinct. Whenever I would start to fade into sleep I would immediately wake up with a start, feeling panicky. It was like this chemical cycle was triggered in my brain to stay awake at all costs, and nothing would shut it down.

This went on for three days. I had gotten all together maybe 3 hours of sleep. The only time I could sleep was when I would put the Bunny on the couch, and then curl up right next to her on half the couch and put my hand on her chest so I could feel her breathing.

By the third day I was melting down. I knew this was a chemical thing. I was frustrated beyond belief because I also knew that all I needed to make it go away was a single dose of Xan.ax. But I knew I couldn’t take it, because it would transfer into my breastmilk. I was in hell. I’m not exaggerating. Here I was, with this beautiful baby girl, so exhausted I couldn’t function, and too anxious to enjoy her even one little bit.

The next day in the morning I made some phone calls, talked to my shrink, and finally found a pill similar to xan.ax (though much weaker) that was safe while breastfeeding. Shmerson went to pick up the prescription, and within hours I finally got some blessed sleep. The pills are helping to keep the anxiety managed, but I’m still feeling anxious and I find myself crying, a lot. I know some of this may go away in the next week and it’s normal, but I’m not sure how much of it will linger. At least now I can sleep.

But even with the pills, things kept on getting harder. No matter what I tried, Bunny would not stay awake while nursing (and I really did try EVERYTHING). And with every session, she would detach quicker and quicker, and fight me at every turn. Every feeding was becoming a battle, and yet another source for anxiety.

My cousin, who is a lactation consultant, was supporting me through this, but all she could do was give advice. At this point I was truly getting worried that Bunny was not getting enough to eat.

Then on Thursday, when she was a week old we went in to get her weighed, and my concern became justified. She hadn’t gained an ounce since we were discharged. She wasn’t eating enough.

After losing it for a bit, I talked to my cousin and we started a new regimen: Every three hours we try the boo.b, then I pump for 20 minutes while Shmerson bottle feeds Bunny either pumped milk if there is any, or formula if there isn’t. Feeding has become an hour long ordeal, where I fight with Bunny for her to stay awake and latched, we fail miserably for about 30 minutes, she finally latches but barely sucks anything, and then off she goes to get real food from her daddy while I pump.

24 hours after starting this, there was another crisis. Bunny hadn’t peed for 20 hours straight. After consulting with a nurse she told us to go straight to the ER, so we did. I was crying hysterically the entire way. I don’t think I’ve ever been that scared in my life.

Of course, the second Bunny was put down to get examined, she peed like a champ. Shmerson and I laughed with relief, the doc examined her, and she was pronounced perfect as usual.  She also gained a little weight since the day before, which made me feel better.

So back to the feeding nightmare we went.

I think what happened was that I have a supply issue as a result of Bunny’s sleepiness in the first days when my milk came in. At that point I was in such a haze that I did what I could to keep her eating, but it obviously wasn’t enough to get my supply up to scratch.

I’m on day three of pumping and I’m not feeling as if there’s an increase in my supply, and we’re still in a serious struggle to get Bunny to latch, stay awake, and suck when she’s on my boo.b.

I know when we bring her in to get weighed tomorrow she’ll have gained because of the bottle feedings, but I just don’t know what’s next. I’m not sure my supply will increase, and once we’ve started supplementation, is there really any going back?

I’m starting to think that maybe it’s time to give up and move to formula. I hate that every feeding becomes a fight. I dread the clock going off and having to start it all over again. I’m not enjoying my daughter enough because of this, and I’m seriously starting to wonder if it’s worth it. Why not just give her formula, stop the fighting, and always know for sure that she’s getting enough to eat?

Do I really need MORE reasons for anxiety right now? If I move to formula I also know I’d be free to take whatever meds I need to get my moods stable and truly enjoy my daughter.

But then there’s another part of me that says that we’ve worked so hard, it’s a shame to throw it away now. And the guilt of course, and the fear of missing out on all of that bonding and all of those benefits that are supposed to happen when you breastfeed (though right now there’s really none of that, just the anxiety).

But I was brought up on formula, and so was Shmerson, and honestly – so were a lot of people I know. We all came out just fine. Is it really worth all of the drama?

As of now, the decision is to give it till Wednesday and re-assess. If my supply isn’t up by then and we’re still relying almost completely on formula, I think I’ll probably give up the boo.b. Shmerson is going back to work in a week and it’s critical we get a good routine established (and my mood stable) before that happens. So Wednesday seems like a good day to cut things off and assess the situation.

I’m at a loss about what to do. I thought that giving up or pushing on would be an easy, clear-cut decision, but it’s murky and emotional and anything but clear-cut.

I just want to enjoy my daughter, and know that she is eating enough. But I don’t want her to miss out on things that would be good for her. This is so freaking hard.

Just a note here: I know breastfeeding is a touchy subject. I appreciate all of your feedback and please do leave it, but for FSM’s sake – no preaching, it’s the last thing I need right now. And no fighting amongst yourselves either. Breastfeeding and formula feeding are both legitimate choices and we shouldn’t judge anyone for choosing either. That being said, I would love to hear what you guys think. Let’s just keep it civil and non-preachy please. Thanks. 

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