Sunday, August 15, 2010

When the Going Gets Tough....

Breastfeeding. "It's the hardest thing you'll ever do," "It's the most painful thing you will ever experience," "Give it 2 weeks," "Give it 8 weeks," "Give it 6 weeks," "You may bleed," "you're nipples may crack." Sounds like fun huh?? Sign me up! But the end line always goes the same: "It's the BEST thing you'll ever do, and you'll be so glad that you did it!" These are all of the things that I have heard for years! As a daughter of someone who birthed 8 children and breastfed 6 of them, I have seen a lot about the miracle(s) of child birth and rearing. I have heard these one liners since I got pregnant from just about every person who has breastfed successfully, and very rarely (if ever) did I hear that this task was "wonderfully pain free and extremely easy"

When I got pregnant I decided early on that I was going to breastfeed because it is the most economical, healthiest, most convenient option. I didn't even register for bottles or pumps because I wanted to be fully dedicated to doing the whole "nursing" thing. I spent 9 months preparing my mind and receiving many "pep-talks" about this "joy" of motherhood. I was "game" for this...or so I thought.

My most magical moment in the delivery room was when I nursed my son for the first time...surprisingly, he latched on immediately, and started going to town! He was a BIG boy, and he was hungry! This "magical moment" slipped my very quickly, never to return. Because my boy, was on the larger side they told me that his blood sugar was low and he needed to be supplemented, therefore he received a bottle...uh oh. Then, I was told to start pumping, finger feeding and nipple shielding by the 3 lactation ladies who cam to visit me...this was not what I was expecting. I was expecting to be told about the "cradle hold," the "football hold," the "side-laying position" and the ways I should try to get him to latch on. My nurses were very helpful in this area, as well as my mom and other supporters, but I was kind of surprised at the lactation people, who were trying all the ways to get him my milk, without actually breastfeeding. This was discouraging to me. By day 2 The Kidd-O had been exposed to bottle nipples, my finger, daddy's finger, plastic nipple shields, and me (the real deal). Talk about "nipple confusion," it's no wonder he had trouble latching on after our "magical moment"!!! Then they told me that he was tongue tied and should have his tongue clipped...good grief!

When we got home I had dedicated myself to getting him to latch on and I was gonna do this thing! Easier said than done. Turns out it is "the hardest thing I'll ever do"! And also, as it turns out, I'm not the most dedicated person on the planet either. I'll tell it like it is, and this was hard for me to admit after a few days, but I guess I just didn't want it bad enough! I didn't want to experience the pain (that was supposedly "worth it"), and My baby was sooo good and the only time he cried was when I was trying to nurse him, he got very frustrated (he has my Italian temper), which in turn, made me frustrated! I wasn't enjoying meal-time at all, and I always gave in to pumping.

I went back and forth a MILLION times about whether to just pump-n-feed, or keep trying to get him to latch on. And I'm not going to lie, I felt some guilt about not breast feeding directly, but after it was all said and done, and I came to the realization that he was getting MY milk, just from a bottle, the guilt lifted immediately, and I have enjoyed his feedings ever since!

Yes, I have become a slave to the pump, and it is probably more work than if I had committed myself to nursing, but it is my joy to do it. It's the least I can do to give him my milk even if I spend a TON of time washing the parts to the pump and the bottles!! I'll ride this train for as long as I can, and maybe I'll become a more disciplined and dedicated mom for the next one.


  1. I believe its the American Academy of Pediatrics who say :as long as it is mutually enjoyable" and I don't think that was the case. Cut yourself some slack. I have had friends who have pretty much exclusively pumped for the entire first year so just take it as it goes, know it can be done, but do whats right and best for you and Cooper :) Lucky guy to have a mom so committed to him to pump so much!

  2. you might periodically want to try nursing again. as he gets older it may become easier & nipple confusion will be less of a problem. if you do try again get your milk coming first before you latch him so that it's instant gratification like the bottle.

    i know a lady who pumped for 6 months & then she & her son were able to breastfeed. i'm not surprised by the lactation consultants at the hospital. that was close to our experience too & many others i have talked to. it is very disappointing. did you guys get his frenulum cut? it's a very common procedure & will help him nurse.

    i understand your frustration. when lily was born she had a small mouth. it took us 4 months to learn how to nurse & now she's a pro. we finger fed, bottle fed, used the nipple name it & we did it. there were tears, lots of prayers, & many days of wanting to give up. i had great support from james & another friend who had lots of trouble too. looking back i would go through it all again just to be able to nurse her.

    i'll be praying for you guys. i know how time consuming it is to pump. he's a lucky guy to have such a loving mom.

  3. I am so thankful for the pump! At least we have that option!! It was my "breastfriend" for 9 months-ha!!


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