Friday, August 30, 2013

my struggle with nursing, take 2.

breastfeeding didn't go so well for round one. i was convinced that having done it all before, that this time would be easier. perhaps a bit too optimistic. or confident. in some ways, it was easier. but what i wasn't prepared for were the things that would be different. after all, this isn't the same baby, and things at home were different this time around, too.

i blamed my dwindling milk supply the last time on stress. coming home from the hospital, i had my husband and my mom here for 2 weeks. and my baby gained weight immediately. like a champ. i was doing great. but at the end of that 2 weeks, things changed. my mom went back home, and my husband buried himself in the construction of finishing our basement. and the demands of a newborn were high, and being a new mom turned loose in this world.. well, it all got to me. and unbeknownst to me, for the next 2 weeks, my baby was being fed less and less. 

this time, i knew what i was getting myself into. i've got this. 

but this time, my mom left the day after i got home from the hospital. my husband wasn't building a basement, but our basement did flood. and we were dollars deep in having our back porch transformed into a screened in porch and outdoor space. and it wasn't the beginning of my husband's summer break. it was the tail end, and he was back to school in no time. but he also was still managing the pool, which makes for very long hours. and this baby? he was even smaller than my first. and weaker. and he had his nights and days partially confused to begin with. no one was sleeping. and naps didn't happen while the baby slept during the day, because it was still summer break for my 3 year old. and 3 year olds don't sit still. or nap. or let their mommies nap. (at least, not mine.) and my baby was becoming hungrier.

he wasn't gaining weight like a champ. i wasn't doing great. so we had a series of weight checks. and suddenly, here i was back in that regimen that i never wished to revisit: nursing, supplementing, pumping. and frequently. and it was national breastfeeding week, as social media reminded me on multiple occasions. mostly, i just cried.

with little success in the increased milk supply department, i decided i would continue to combo-feed [as i did the last time] until i felt i had dried up.  but even that plan failed me. sleep deprivation paired with having another child to care for while trying to balance nursing, bottle feeding, and kept me in tears.

i was worried i was headed in a post-partum downward spiral, and realized i was emotionally unable to keep up with the combo-feeding method. for my sanity, i began weaning at 2 weeks. 

i'm no longer breastfeeding. and i'm coming around, but it still hurts sometimes. and at times, i feel shamed with guilt. a lot of "what if's" cross my mind, and thoughts that leave me wishing i could have changed just this one thing, and that this would have turned out differently. but that's an unhealthy place for my mind to wander. i have to remind myself this: i know that my decisions were best for our family's current circumstances, and everyone under this roof is better off because of it. and that alone makes me feel good.

i had a good friend send an article to me during national breastfeeding week who knew of my struggles. of course, it made me cry, since that was my expertise that week.. but it also was therapeutic, in a sense, for that time. you can read it here: I Support You: The Conversation We Should Be Having About Breastfeeding And Formula


Leslee Dummermuth said...

no shame, sweet sister. you are an AMAZING mom. said...

I heard the best piece of advice just this weekend... Do what you need to do to survive. It seems like you're doing just that. Keep your chin up.