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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Coming To Terms: A Mommylog

Disclaimer:  It's all about breastfeeding.  Feel free to stop reading now if it makes you uncomfortable.

I really, really wanted to breastfeed.  I'm not going to sit here and preach the benefits, because I'm pretty sure most people who care already know.  From the very beginning, formula was never an option for me.  I never considered what kind of bottles I would use, or which formula, or any of that.  I was going to breastfeed, and I would pump to build a stash so that when the time came, someone else could actually feed her.  I had my breast feeding pillow picked out, the storage system picked, the pump.. the whole nine yards.

When Katie Beth was born early, the ability to bond with her by breastfeeding within the first few hours of birth was taken away.  Oh well, things happen.  I was disappointed, but it never occurred to me that I wouldn't still be able to nurse my baby.  Well, since she was so small, that was not possible for the first few weeks, so I started pumping.  It made me feel better that, if nothing else, KB was getting my milk from a bottle.  I still fully intended to breastfeed.

Well, here we are 6 weeks later, and KB has yet to latch more than once.  The one time she did manage, she fell asleep after just a few minutes.  We've tried almost every day, and almost every day it turns into a fight.  Consider this:  Newborns eat every 3 hours.  So, at 9 am KB gets hungry and we attempt to breastfeed.  The fight here lasts about 20 minutes.  At 9:20 I stop and go warm a bottle.  That takes 5 minutes, and then KB takes about 15 to eat.  So we're at 9:40, then burping and changing take us to 9:45.  I have to get her settled back in wherever, so lets just say we're all the way to 10:00.  Now that she is settled, I have to pump to keep up the supply of milk she's getting.  That takes 20 minutes, minimum.  After I finish pumping, get the milk stored and bottles washed, etc, I'm at 10:45.  And it's time to repeat just over an hour later.  Talk about exhausting

So as of today, I've decided that I will exclusively pump.  My wonderfully loving husband bought me a crazy awesome breast pump that should make my life a little easier.  (I'm currently using a rental, which is due back this week.)  It's been really hard for me to come to terms with the fact that we won't actually nurse.  She'll still be getting all the benefits of breast milk, but I'm sad that we won't have the bond - and lets face it, convenience - of breastfeeding.

I don't know.... Maybe I should find a support group for this or something.  I feel like I'm giving up on KB, and that makes me a bad parent.  I just don't want to make myself crazy.  I'm also scared that this is some slippery slope.  Like, if I "give up" on her now, what's to keep me from giving up pumping in 2 months?  I'm pretty positive that formula would be so much more convenient than sitting down to pump for 20 minutes EVERY three hours.  That's so far from where I wanted to be, and that makes me really sad.


  1. No NOT feel like a bad parent! It's very understandable to feel cheated out of the bonding experience, frustrated at the attempts (let's face it, MOST women that give it up don't give it anywhere NEAR 6 weeks for it to work), and wish that convenience was still an option.

    But please dear Emily don't feel badly at all. You know she'll still be getting amazing benefits, and there are so many ways to bond with the precious little one. Not "as good as" , because you had your mind and heart set on nursing, but still wonderful.

    Definitely seek out support if you think that will help you come to terms. And keep doing what you're doing. You landed in a rocky situation and you're really setting an amazing example for forging on! I'm proud of you and looking forward to meeting that little girl when you two make it back to this side of the world.

  2. you have to do what is best for you and KB, if that is pumping then that's what it is.
    Just wanted you to know in case you didn't but you are entitled to a lactation consultant and Tricare will cover it, if it's a route you want to go. They have amazing tricks to get that little one to latch on, however, still don't feel bad if they never do, Lizzy was one of those who never did, she actually couldn't even latch to a bottle at first.

  3. I felt the same way too Emily. Kristina was in the NICU for a week after she was born and had a hard time latching on. But my problem was it was terribly painful for me. I would get anxiety attacks when it came time to feed her and cry uncontrollably while pulling my hair to get through the pain. After two weeks of this I had no choice but to give up. I had the same feelings, like I was giving up on her. But once I changed to formula I could finally sit and enjoy feeding her without crying my eyes out. Breast feeding is just easier for some than it is for others. She will be healthy and strong no matter what you decide to do.