Thursday, February 18, 2010

Making the Switch

Mommy Brain posted today on Nipple Confusion and reading it made my eyes sting a little with tears. So, I thought I'd tell my story thus far with breast feeding.

BG was breast fed. It took us both a little while to figure it out after birth, but once we got the hang of it, we did great. My goal was to exclusively breast feed her for 6 months and I did that. After 6 months, we started weening, mostly because pumping at work was such a hassle. By 8 months we had switched to bottles full time.

When I was pregnant this time around, I had every anticipation of exclusive breast feeding again. In fact, I was thinking I would try to do it for longer that I did with BG. Since it was never a problem with BG, I never supposed I would have any issues this time around.

After Blanche was born, she took to the breast and latched like a champ. I was surprised how easily she latched and thought we were off to a great start. I knew that it would hurt for some period of time while my body adjusted to nursing. After four weeks, I was cracked, it was still incredibly painful and I knew something was not right. I pumped and cried the first time I gave her a bottle.

Last week I went to the lactation specialist who gave me all kinds of gizmos to try and let the cracks heal while still nursing. She told me that Blanche latches fine; she is a strong sucker which is part of the problem. I stopped nursing and pumped for two days while trying to heal. I told myself I would give it another week.

Blanche did ok with the bottle. She did figure it out, but it took a lot of sputtering and soaking burp rags first. I started nursing again slowly and she latched well, but seemed frustrated that the milk wasn't coming out fast enough. That first nursing didn't hurt at all and I thought "Hurray! I've healed and we can move past this." But the more I nurse, the more it hurts. I have tried doing a combination of nursing and bottles, but that is confusing for Blanche. She chokes on the bottles and doesn't get enough on the breast. JM suggested pumping and giving it to her in a bottle. She acts like I'm starving her and sucks down formula faster that I can produce breast milk.

So now I'm to the end of the week I told myself I would try. I'm still cracked. My daughter is confused from switching from breast to bottle and mama's own to formula. I cry when I work hard to pump and she spits out most of it. I never thought I would be a formula mom but all this making me change my tune. I think are going to make the switch.


Margaret said...

I had a friend that it was painful for and she switched. You have to do what is right for your child and not anyone else.

Kristina P. said...

And this is exactly the reason why I am not a breastfeeding nazi. I don't know if I will breastfeed when I have a child. I've always thought I would try it, but I just won't put myself through the pain or heartache when I know that bottle fed kids are fine too.

You need to do what's right for you and your child.

Ellis Family said...

I hope that in the end you'll find that you're both happier. One of the best pieces of mommy advice I ever got was "if you find that you're resenting something then you need to change it (despite what the experts may say is THE WAY to do things)." When I found that it was so painful and frustrating to breastfeed and that I didn't enjoy that time with my baby, I knew it was time to change. Amy was happier because I was happy when I fed her from a bottle. As she got older and we were more on the go I really enjoyed the convenience of a bottle. But the main thing is, don't feel like you're a failure! Formula babies are still very happy and healthy babies, and she was so lucky to have gotten mama's own for the first several weeks. Chin up, and best of luck!

April said...

Well, I can see you have already gotten many great comments. But I wanted to add too that I've been through this same issue twice! My last two babies gave me the same painful nipples and the switching back and forth was just confusing them. I have found that formula is SOOOOO much easier and like Kristen commented, a happy mom makes a happier baby. Good luck with the new choice. You are doing a great job! You've already taken every step you could to provide the best you can for her. Most women won't even see the LC! So props to you for that.

Mary said...

Like everyone has said, you have to do what works for you and your baby, and ignore any negative comments from 'breastfeeding nazis' as Kristina put it.
I'm sure you've done your research and know the benefits...but if you drive yourself insane, no one benefits!
Good luck girlie...I'm starting to freak about trying to breastfeed the twins b/c I can't fathom paying for formula for two!

MommyBrain said...

Oh, I am so sorry to hear about your tough time. Isn't all of this just so darn hard?! You definitely should not feel bad or guilty about making the switch. You have to do what is going to work for both of you. I can imagine that you will mourn it a little - you're entitled to be sad. But once you get past that part of it, I am sure you'll feel so relieved and realize that you've made a good decision for both of you. Hugs from the NW!

ukyankoz said...

I know I'm not a mom, but breastfeeding nazis make me mad. It seems simple to me: happy mom = happy baby = happy everyone.

Marissa said...

You are doing the best that you can for your child and that is all that matters. Don't stress out about it. I know that when I used to pump, the more I stressed, the less milk I got, and then I would get more stressed and frustrated. It took me a while to calm down and stop listening to what everyone else was telling me about how much my daughter should be eating and when. Every child is different. What is best for one may not be best for another. The first few weeks are when it is the most important so you should be proud that you were able to work at it for that long. I think that most women would have given up long before that if they were in the same situation as you. I hope all goes better now!