I originally posted this on my first blog, and got a lot of great reviews so I thought I would repost this here. I will be doing this for many of my posts as I am shutting down my first blog.
A lot of people have asked me why I don’t breastfeed my baby girl. I am going to start off by saying this is not a post about why you shouldn’t breastfeed or why you just absolutely have to breastfeed. This is about my choices and what happened along the way.
So I know everyone has their own opinion about breastfeeding. As a nurse I know that breastfeeding is best for both mom and baby, but I also know that sometimes breastfeeding just is not an option for whatever reason. Sometimes it is health related and sometimes it is just the mothers choice. With that I am not going to tell you all the benefits and why one is better than the other. What I am going to tell you is the circumstances that brought me to bottle feeding.
I had full intentions on breastfeeding. I wanted to breastfeed her since the day I found out I was pregnant. I bought a pump and storage bags and so on. I had my heart set on breastfeeding, but at the same time I was open to the possibility that I might not be able to for some reason.
It all starts with Bug (my daughter’s nickname and how I will refer to her on this blog) being born. Just a brief look into my birth story for now. Thursday morning I was up at 5 AM to go to the hospital to be induced, but Bug wasn’t born until 2 AM on Friday. You would think I would be exhausted after all this, but after she was born I was so full of energy. I was just ready to hold her and start breastfeeding. Well she had other plans. She was tired, she had a long day too. That was okay, I just held her skin-to-skin for half an hour. Then my husband and my mom held her for a little while. Then, just as I was about to try to feed her again, the nurse came in and said she needed to take her to the nursery for a little bit. I explained that I hadn’t fed her yet and the nurse said that was fine, she would bring her back soon to eat. Now at the time I worked on labor and delivery so I knew how things worked. That being said, I had to pee so bad it wasn’t funny. Usually if you have an epidural the nurse will not get you up for a couple of hours to make sure that your legs are not numb any more. I asked my nurse and she got me up to the bathroom.
Like I said I really had to pee, and when I got to the bathroom, it burned, but I thought I really went. Then the nurse said “your are really swollen and the first time is hard, you really didn’t go much we will try again in half an hour.” I just started crying. God bless Mary, my nurse, she comforted me through it. I was crying because I didn’t pee, then it was because I was a horrible mother and my baby was an hour old and I hadn’t fed her yet. Mary just told me it was fine and helped me get cleaned up and back to bed.
By about 5 AM Bug was back in my room and ready to eat. She latched on, what I thought, perfectly. Then she was ready to eat again at 8 AM and again at 11 AM, I thought we were doing good. Then at 2 PM we had some trouble and it was really starting to hurt. The hospital is a small hospital so we have only one lactation consultant and she wasn’t in on Friday. I asked several nurses to help me, and unfortunately no one wanted to help because they felt awkward since I worked there. I was feeding her every 3 hours around the clock and as time went on it hurt more and more. I knew that there might be a little pain when she first latched on, but after it shouldn’t hurt at all. That was not the case for me. I had stabbing pain the entire time she was latched on. I left the hospital Sunday morning.
Once I got home the pain just continued to get worse. It was to the point I would cry when it was time to feed her. I didn’t have much support from my family either. When they would come over and visit they wanted to hold Bug. Which was fine, until it was time to feed her, then everyone would say “you need to eat” and similar things, making Bug wait until she was so hungry she couldn’t latch on correctly. I eventually developed a blood blister and I couldn’t breastfeed any more. I even tried to pump, but with a blood blister and cracked nipples it hurt worse than breastfeeding.
So at five days old I couldn’t do it any more. I decided this around 2 AM, not the best time for a sleep deprived mother to make decisions. I might have stuck it out though if I didn’t have a choice, but the hospital sent me home with formula. I think this is the worst thing that a hospital can do because it makes it easy for emotional sleep deprived women to give up. When I decided this I honestly think I may have been suffering from a mild case of postpartum depression.
I think the most difficult part was the fact that what I thought would be the problem was not. I thought for sure that I would have trouble with supply. This was not the problem, trust me. I would have to keep a towel under the breast she was not latched onto and I would soak it. When I did try to pump I would easily get 2 ounces out of one breast, at five days old. It took 2 months for my supply to dry up. The plus with that was I thought for sure once I was healed I could pump or get her to breastfeed again. That didn’t work, she did not want anything to do with it after having the formula, and I didn’t get near enough milk after a month and my supply wasn’t increasing.
I know this is a long post, but I want to end it by saying a few things. First of all, there are resources out there for women who want to breastfeed. I did not know this until after I had stopped. Also, just because it didn’t work out with Bug, doesn’t mean I will not try with the next one. The next time I will use the resources available. I think if I would have had some help I would not have had the trouble I did. I think Bug had a shallow latch and I just let her continue with that and when no one helped me I didn’t know how to fix it.
Now I may be opening a can of worms here, but even though I know breastfeeding is best, I still have a very happy, healthy, chubby, baby girl!!
And I still get to have cuddles with her on my chest!!
With all of that being said I also want to tell every woman out there, it is your choice. If you want to breastfeed or not, you have the right to choose, and no one should judge you. If you need help ask for it. And most importantly, if you can’t breastfeed for whatever reason, or you choose not to, DO NOT FEEL GUILTY!! All that matters is that you care for and love your baby. You do not have to breastfeed to love, care for, and provide for your baby.
I want to thank you for reading this and for supporting me. It has taken a lot for me to write this, but it has helped me get over the guilt of not breastfeeding her.
How about you, did you breastfeed? Did you have the support you needed?
This post was linked up at the #BreastfeedingandI linky party!