Giving Up or Giving In

“Breast is BEST!” I know this, the doctors know this, the world know this.  But what the world doesn’t know, is that it is easier said then done….

I knew I wanted to breastfeed my baby long before he was even a thought.  Everything about it was everything I ever wanted.  The bond, the health benefits, the savings. I was going to be one of those mama’s who didn’t give a crap about what people thought, and would whip those bad boys out whenever my baby wanted them.

True life. Things don’t always go as planned.

I may have been prepared for an early delivery, but I wasn’t prepared for the work that breastfeeding entails. I didn’t know that my body wouldn’t be able to produce enough milk for him && how much work it would be just to make 15ml. I didn’t know that I would have to wake up every two hours in the hospital to pump, to produce literally nothing. I had no idea that it would be so physically, mentally and emotionally draining.

Because Clayton was in the NICU for his sugar levels, they had to give him formula to help regulate his numbers. The very first hour after Clayton was born, he latched on, and he latched on so well. I was excited about it.  They said preemies tend to have a hard time latching on, and that could lead to bottle feeding only. BUT in that moment, I was hopeful.  He was able to pull the good stuff out, but it still wasn’t enough to keep his levels up. So they took him from me, in order to continue with the bottle feeding.

In the beginning, I would pump for 20 minutes at a time, and get NOTHING!  NOTHING!  They said it was because he was early and my body doesn’t know yet.  They said it’s because I’m stressed.  They said it’s because the baby does a better job. Over and over they said it was okay, that it was coming.  By the third day, I was engorged.  I don’t even know how, because I wasn’t producing anything.  I swear the poor lactation lady lived with me. I was in so much pain, but she insisted it was good, it meant my milk was coming.  So we massaged, we iced, we heated, we pumped, we let little man latch on.  BUT still I would only make 20ml.

 

When we got home, I was so worried about his sugar levels dropping that we continued to breast feed && supplement with formula.  A week later (so two weeks after delivery), I still wasn’t producing.  I tried everything; lactation cookies, taking shots of Brewers Yeast, Mother’s tea, drinking all the water in the world.  BUT surprise, surprise, I wasn’t flowing with the goods.  I was able to get myself to produce max 40ml, but that was only once a day.  So I continued to see a lactation specialist, who helped me stay hopeful, but also continued to make me feel like poop.

I found myself getting so emotionally raped (pardon my language) by the whole ordeal.  Anytime people offered advice, or wanted to talk about it, I would just cry.  Cry because I felt like I was failing my baby.  Cry because I felt like an incompatible mother.  Cry because nothing was going the way I expected it to go.  Cry because I hated the way the world was judging me.  Cry because the doctor would look at me like I was a disgraceful mother.  Cry because I needed to.  It was the only way to deal with the situation.  There wasn’t an answer, a fix all.  But every time I feel like giving up, I am reminded that something is better than nothing.

And just when I thought I had come to some kind of terms with the situation, Clayton began to have tummy troubles.  And the whirlwind of emotions started again.  Would he be having these issues if we could just exclusively breast feed?  It’s my fault he is in pain. And as I sit here and type this, I can’t help but cry again.  It is a hard pill to swallow.  Something you wanted so badly, just doesn’t work, no matter how hard you try and how much work you put into it.  But this time, it ins’t just about you, it’s about another life. A life that is looking to you for the answers.

Now that we seem to have his issues under control, I sit here and wonder if it is time to stop pumping, stop trying, stop stressing, and just give in to the situation.  Is it giving up or just giving in? I am not a quitter, and dislike the sound of giving up, but I am also so done with being so emotionally invested into something that just isn’t changing.

I am so torn. I don’t want to cry about it anymore. BUT I just can’t seem to close the book to this chapter. ❤

 

 

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17 thoughts on “Giving Up or Giving In

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  1. When I had my first child, 10 years ago, I had planned on breastfeeding too. I wasn’t for or against, but wanted to try. My son wouldn’t latch on, then I tried pumping & nothing. It got to the point where he needed to eat & that was that. I had people try to help also & continued tryingto pump & Everytime I got more discouraged. I was young at the time and had a lot more acquaintances than close friends who I let get in my head. I would hear about comments like” How could you give a baby a bottle? etc…” I was heartbroken. ….but then my husband reminded me I had to do what was best for my baby & me. Nobody elses opinion matters. For me, I bottle fed & didn’t look back. I was less stressed, and my son was fine. My 2 daughters were bottle fed too (I couldn’t go through that again mentally). My kids are now 10, 8 and just about 5. All are healthy, smart thriving kids. Rememberto do you….you are the only one who knows your situation& what you & your baby needs 💙

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    1. Thank you for sharing your experience. I feel like the outpouring of love and similar stories proves how backwards our world is. Why don’t doctors and hospitals prepare you for things like this? Why is it always one way is the best way. Any other situation, they have to tell you all possible outcomes, but why not this? Either way, I am slowly coming to terms with it is what it is. He is growing. He is happy. and we still get to cuddle all the time. ❤ Thanks again sunshine! 🙂

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  2. A healthy, happy, engaged mom is WORLDS more important than how he is fed. If you don’t want to stop pumping or letting him latch for those 20-40mL a day, then keep going with it! But if you are tired, irritated, or feel that it’s taking ANYTHING away from your time together, then stop. It isn’t quitting. You’re feeding your baby. You’re playing with your baby. You’re cleaning, talking to, and caring for your baby.
    In the big picture of things how he was fed as an infant makes no difference. The bond you two have experiences you’ve made as a family are what is important.
    It isn’t quitting. It’s reprioritizing.

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    1. Thank you for this love bug. Everyone’s love has really helped. It’s a shame the people who are supposed to tell you it is okay, make you feel like crap. But I have switched doctors && that has helped a lot too. ❤

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  3. Yo girl this is melgunter from ig who offered the Brewers yeast shot idea :/ so sorry about that.
    On motherhood I found that it hits like a tsunami that first time and the more I tried the more I felt I was failing. Eventually I had no choice but to give in- to the extra lbs, the messy rooms, the change in relationship with my husband. And then I was free and it felt so good. Motherhood changed me but for the better. It took a long time too- about 15 mos for that metamorphosis. It was hard. I had anxiety and maybe depression. Eventually I got back to my prepreg weight and a sub 7 min mile. My house was clean. I had spare time. Life was grand. A month later I found out I was pregnant. It was a lot easier to give in the second time bc I know how fast it goes and that its all temporary. I also started some meds at 6 weeks pp this time 🙂
    On bf I know it’s a great loss. I also know how fucking hard you worked as I have been there myself. Obviously ig makes everything look lovely but with my firstborn there was syringe and sns feeding, supplementation and domperidone use.
    My point is motherhood strips you down girl. To your core. For some it may be for the worse but you seem the type for whom the laying low will eventually lead to rebuilding where you’re even better than you were before!
    Love,
    Melissa

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    1. Hahah, please don’t apologize for the advice. I was desperate and would’ve tried anything. I DID TRY EVERYTHING, actually! SO no worries, please! And thank you for this. I often tell my doctors, they should stop asking every so many days if we feel depressed and educate us on how to handle the changes. The relationship one with your hubby is a huge one. But once we communicated about it, things changed drastically. I also stopped apologizing for my messy house. It’s crazy how much you think you do in a day to keep up, and how much there still is to do. I feel like I do the dishes and laundry EVERYDAY! I literally take it day by day, but really do love motherhood. His squishy little face makes anything and everything so worth it. I know it is going to get easier. Well not easier but different. The things I thought were hard now will become something new in the future. Thank you for supporting me and always sending your love. It means so much! ❤

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  4. I have been following your story with particular interest as I am a runner as well (not as devout as you) and we had the exact same due date! My little girl also came early but just by a week. I am currently over supplying and if I could ship you some milk from here in Ontario it’d be on its way! Your obvious dedication and passion about your running and yoga practice make it obvious that you are by no means a quitter and understand what it means to remain dedicated to something. Your perseverance toward BFing would- and I’m sure has- been no different. The big deal here is that in this case it directly affects the new person you love the most. I remember while trying to get pregnant one of my guy friends and I were running and he said something to the effect of ‘is getting pregnant the most important thing to you?’ And I remember my voice getting caught in my throat as I told him ‘ if I had to give up running in exchange for having a child, I wouldn’t even run up a flight a stairs again.’ What I’m saying is, maybe in this case you could look at bottle feeding as a sacrifice your are making putting your little man ahead of what your first choice would be? Ignoring all the other factors that tell you breast is best- he needs the quantity and here you might have to put his choice over your own. Maybe looking at it that way could help you come to terms with it ? There mere fact that this is such a tough choice for you shows how great and dedicated of a mom you are 🙂
    Good luck!

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    1. Awww thanks for the love mama! Congrats to you too! Being a mommy is the best. Definitely a life adjustment, but so worth it. And I like your perspective. I don’t know why I let myself dwell on it and let it tear me apart. I guess because for so long it was what I thought was going to be. But he is just as happy (if not happier) on formula. And I am slowly becoming more relaxed with EVERYTHING! ❤

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  5. Girl, you do what feels right for you! If you enjoy the short latch/feed that you get with your little man then let it happen and supplement the rest with formula! In my opinion, the bond is what shouldn’t be broken. You are not broken. Keep that adorable little guy close and he will love you unconditionally! There is a struggle no matter what route we take as a Mother, but know that it is never your fault and he won’t love you any less 😉

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    1. Thanks Jenna! You have been such a role model to me, before, during, and after pregnancy. I appreciate your love and support! It is crazy how much different motherhood actually is, compared to what you thought it was going to be. I’ve worked in infant rooms for years, and never experienced what I am currently experiencing. Maybe because he is my own. Maybe because I am older and wiser and worry so much more. But yes, I am not broken. Just learning to take it one day at a time and accept what is. He is the cutest, most snuggliest, and everyone is right; he won’t know that any of this ever happened. ❤ Thanks again, love! Enjoy your snuggles too! ❤

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  6. Hey girl, while I may not have a whole bunch to offer as a first time mom myself.. I am exclusively breastfeeding going on 4.5 months. I hear it all too often that women say they didn’t produce enough. I would often feel puzzled, because I don’t really even know what that means. I never pumped, because I feared the pump. I had friends who believed strongly that it led them to mastitis, or women believing they didn’t have enough.

    I’ve come to the conclusion that support is the make it or break it. One thing that I think set me apart from a lot of other mamas is that I did deliver in a hospital that specifically was a 10-step program and awarded for there breastfeeding initiative in a number of ways. Reflecting on this often, I believe what can make a mama have a better chance is their support system: their OBGYN, lactation consultants, pediatrician, family members, husband, and support groups (plenty of GREAT Facebook pages). In my breastfeeding class, they SWORE that you couldn’t “not produce” so I believed it.. although I later learned from people’s personal testimonies how much they personally struggled. I would be taught that the saliva of the baby and their crying can get your body in gear to produce.. which often left me struggling as my baby would bob off and on at my breast screaming.. and leaving me feeling super drained… it’s a definite struggle.

    This weekend is breastfeeding awareness week’s end. There’s a “Big Latch On” going on.. it’s basically gathering mamas to breastfeed in public worldwide and break last year’s record. I suggest you look into it and see where it is nearby you. It could offer great support.

    Again, while I admit I myself don’t really know much about it.. I do believe the single reason I am still breastfeeding is pure support. I hope this helps somehow. Even just a little.

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  7. Your story is almost identical to mine. Planned a natural birth and had my pump all ready to go on delivery day. He latched on but after a week of literally no sleep, he had lost an entire pound. Hospital told me to keep trying bc he would nurse and then fall asleep (because he was lethargic and starving). Finally found a specialist who could look at me and tell I had low breast tissue. I only produced 8 ml barely every time I pumped. I was tied to it for hours every day and it was so painful. I felt like a failure. No one tells you that not everyone can do it. I can remember falling over crying in my shower. Luckily, we reached out and had some breastmilk donors help us get him the best nutrition for 3 months but it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Thank you for being brave enough to share. It does get better. My son is 3.5 now and has always thrived. Where I couldn’t give him bm as an infant, we have made choices as he’s grown to help his body the best we can do. At the end of the day, God doesn’t care if we breastfeed or not. He cares that we take care of our children, love them and teach them well. Hugs and love to you!

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    1. Girl, thank you, thank you! It is so reassuring to know I am not the only one experiencing this. It’s crazy how people only ever share how great everything is, but once someone else shares their struggles, people feel more comfortable to open up about it. I am so humbled by the stories people have shared these last days. It has helped me feel so much better. I just wish the people who are supposed to prepare you for things would actually prepare you for all outcomes. Enjoy your little man and thank you for your love! ❤

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  8. Thank you for your post. This has been my life since my son was born on 20th July. I didnt produce milk either and pumped nothing – a few times i get 10mls! Its so upsetting I cried for days. He lost so much weight i was told to supplement too. And now face the same decision, give him the breastmilk i have (he sucks then sleeps stroaght away) or stop and do exclusive bottle feeding. It feels like i’m doing twice the work mixed feeding. I’m really looking forward to hearing what you decide. Either way i think you have to do whats best for your whole family not just what you wanted to work. I desperately wantes to breastfeed but i’m slowley accepting that it might not be possible. Xxx

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    1. Girl, this is exactly me. He got better at staying on the boob for longer, but still tanked 3oz of formula after, which let me know he wasn’t getting much boob milk, because he eats 3 oz without ever going on the boob. And it is a lot of work. I think that is where i was getting most frustrated. They kept telling me dont trust what you get pumping as all you can produce, that he gets more than a pump ever could, but I don’t know about that. Because of what I said earlier. He would still eat the same amount, whether he had boob before or not. I’ve been solely bottle feeding for two days, and have already basically dried up without any engorgement of pain, which also shows how little i produced. Clayton actually seems happier too. He sleeps better, he is less gassy, everything just seems more relaxed. We all seem more relaxed. Thanks for reaching out and sharing your story. Hang in there love. We are doing everything we can! ❤

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  9. Hi– one thing I would advise is that you know what is best for you and baby and try not to listen to anyone.

    Thanks for sharing and open your heart to your decision and be proud. You are a great momma no matter what you decide.

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