Tuesday, November 12

The Thankful Project Day 6: A Failure

Today's Prompt for The Thankful Project by Chasing Happy is A Failure.


I never wanted to breastfeed.  It was just something that I never really thought of before getting pregnant and honestly, it made me a bit uncomfortable.  However, when we got pregnant and I expressed to J my feelings on it, he asked that I at least give it a try.  I agreed and went to a Breastfeeding class at the hospital.  My Mom went with me and at the end of the class I was onboard.

I was looking forward to the bonding that I would have with Jamison daily being that I would be his only food source.  I knew though that I wanted to start pumping right away to have a freezer stash and for J to also be able to feed him.  
I was ready and excited, something that I wasn't even close to just months before.
But, I seemed to have trouble from the start. When Jamison was born, he didn't latch right away.  It was almost two hours after birth and two nurses later when he finally did latch.  For the next 3 days until we went home, I needed a nurse to help me each time he fed.  He could not latch properly and it hurt so bad when we tried.  I hated that he cried everytime and that I had to hold his tiny head, basically forcing him to do something that he so clearly did not want to do.  He eventually got it but man, it was exhausting getting there.
Once we got home it was the same, however at this point, Jamison would use his hands to push away and was constantly moving his head around.  J was a huge help during this time and would typically hold his arms down while I directed his head towards his food.
He never latched properly though.  I would be in so much pain that sometimes I would just cry.  I never wanted to take him off and re-latch him either because it would take about 10-15 minutes to even get him on there.
A normal nursing session for us would last anywhere from 45 minutes to almost an hour and a half.  And that was each side.  I felt bogged down and didn't even feel like I was properly bonding with him at those moments especially since I dreaded every feeding time.  I thought that even though I hadn't quit yet, that I was failing him because I wasn't enjoying that time with him.
I ended up pumping pretty soon after we got home.  He even had his first bottle of pumped milk at a week old.  He did okay with the bottle and a few days later when we gave him another he took right to it.  I ended up doing both and by about week 3, I was trying to just pump exclusively.  It was a pain but I wasn't in pain so it was worth it.  I was always concerned when pumping about the amount I was producing though. I know that your milk supply is basically based on demand and that actual nursing would make you produce more than pumping but I didn't want to get back to how I felt in those first couple weeks.  
I started taking all kinds of supplements to up my supply.  Mother's Milk Tea, Fenugreek, Mother's Milk Plus....drank a ton of water and made sure to eat, eat, eat.  No matter what I did, I was still producing only enough for the next bottle.  I remember one morning, J got up with the baby and there were only two bottles of milk in the fridge.  He warmed up the bottle and while letting the air out, the liner slipped off the top.  Totally not his fault because there was no way to know, but when the bottle was turned over to feed him, the milk spilled everywhere.  Knowing that I worked really hard for that just devastated me.
Eventually, I couldn't keep up anymore and one night, broke down and used the formula sample that the hospital sent us home with.  I knew that formula wasn't poison and it was still going to be good for him, but it was very discouraging to quit. My goal initially was to go 3 months, then it went down to 6 weeks and by the time he was exclusively formula fed, he was 4 weeks old.  In a way I felt bad.  Like I was starving him of the 'good stuff' or that I didn't just stick it out.  But in the end, I was much happier and was able to fully enjoy the time with Jamison.  
During all of this, we found out that Jamison had reflux.  The spit up he did was unbelievable, sometimes it was like a fountain and I just had to make sure to have burp cloths everywhere.  He was nursing one day early on and about 30 minutes in, he basically spit up everything he had just drank.  When he started a bottle, I tried pretty much every brand out there.  Surprisingly the cheapest bottle you can buy ended up being the best. 

I am going to try breastfeeding again once we have baby #2 and I hope it's a better experience for both of us.  A few things I would do differently is to get with a lactation consultant if I'm having the same trouble as I did with Jamison and not give up so easily. At that time I felt like I did all that I could but writing and thinking about it now, I really didn't.  I don't know if he nursed for as long as he did because I wasn't producing enough and he wasn't satisfied.  But because of what I actually saw being produced, that was my first and only thought.  I tried all different positions and pillows too but I'm sure there was something I was missing when it came to him latching properly.  So even though I felt like a failure at that time, I know I'm not.  But I know what I will do the next time around.

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