Monday, October 15, 2012

Guilt if you don't, Guilt if you do.

Nursing a baby is an incredible journey.
Its not an event.
Its a process, one that has to be learned.
It looks different with each baby.
Its the most natural thing in the world,
the most unnatural thing in the world at the same time.

It is one of my most favorite things to do as a mother.
I mean, I think its as close as we can get
to having superhero powers. Ya know?
Seriously, you nurse and grow another human.
I mean wow.

Here is the truth though.
Major cases of guilt can stem from breastfeeding.
Or this is the truth for me.
Whether I am doing it or not, guilt is the result.

As I have shared before on this blog - my 3rd baby,
sweet Laynee Blair,
is not a great nurser.
She was born little. With a very weak suck. Very sleepy.
 She is a little bit lazy when it comes to eating.

It took extra long for my milk to come with her, because sweet girl
would half suck for like 7 seconds before falling into a 
coma-like sleep state.

I tried every trick in the book to get that girl to stay awake long enough
for a full feed. She finally did it,
but those early days were exhausting.

With Kensington my supply waned a bit, when she started sleeping though the night.
It was harder with her than with Anslee to keep up how much she needed.
So I worried this would happen again with Laynee.
I also just hated that really the only time she was fussy,
was when we were nursing.

Then we talked with the pediatrician about her growth and such, who strongly advised supplementing
and of course it was all downhill from there.
She did alright with nursing and taking a bottle,
but clearly preferred the easy way to feed - 
the bottle.

Part of me felt relief.
I knew her belly was full. She was perfectly content.
Part of me felt anxious.
All of my plans with this baby revolved around nursing.
It was what we were going to do. There was no other option.
No one can argue that breastmilk is healthiest thing you can give your baby.
Formula labels tell you just that.

I loved nursing her. It was never a hassle for me. 
I had all the appropriate gear and gadgets.
I visited with a super knowledgeable, reputable certified
Lactation consultant.
I took fenugreek, blessed thistle, and brewers yeast in pill form.
I power pumped once a day. I pumped at least 3 other times per day.
I even ordered domperidone from
I fed on demand.
I never really stressed out about it -
but knew it was not going very well.

So, after 10.5 weeks of nursing Laynee - the very best I could,
we have made the decision to call it quits.
I feel so guilty. I feel selfish sometimes.
I feel like I need to tell everyone who ever sees me give my baby 
a bottle why it didnt work for us. Maybe they will be understanding?
I even feel compelled to dedicate an entire blog post to it.

You know what else though?
I felt guilty breastfeeding. Almost as guilty as I feel not breastfeeding.
Every three hours this is what would happen:
1. we nurse: 20 minutes.
2. we supplement: 15 minutes
3. I pump 15 more minutes.
You know what was not happening? Me being able to supervise my very busy
preschooler and toddler.
I was not able to supervise, so I was clearly not able to be engaged
with them either.
Having more than 1 child puts a whole new spin
on how your nursing experience plays out.

I am thankful that formula is a nutritious option for me and other moms 
who need it to have.
You won't ever hear me say its a better option, because its not,
but she will be just fine taking a bottle.

It was a hard decision to make, seeing as how I did everything I could 
to go in the opposite direction.
When I go to a playdate and see my fellow moms nurse their babies,
I will probably ask myself why I couldnt make it work,
and what I could have done better.

But - at this time I at least feel like I am doing what is best
for every person in this family - not just me and Laynee.

so here we go. bottles up, everyone.

1 comment:

Julie and Ross Lerch said...

After stumbling upon your blog - this post rings so close to home. Thank you so much for putting this experience into words! After nursing my son for 7 months, he just quit. He wasn't having it (and he was falling off the weight charts). Maybe it will be different with the next baby (who knows if for better or worse) but I will do everything in my power to nurse him/her for as long as possible, and not get down on myself when that ship sails. Thank you again for this post!! :)