Wednesday, April 13, 2011

the issue of breastfeeding.

I can't think of any one thing in my life that has caused me as much grief, anxiety and tears as breastfeeding has. Before Hannah was born Matt and I went to a class on it, I read books, read internet forums and generally felt over-prepared. When Hannah was born she latched on immediately and I felt so proud of both of us. Over the next few days, I began to worry, she seemed so hungry. The third day we were at the doctor's office and were told she had dropped 12% of her birth weight and we needed to supplement with formula. I cried.
I spoke with my community nurse who was amazing and supportive and I continued nursing Hannah, topping her up with formula and pumping for twenty minutes after every feed. There was no real change so my doctor prescribed Domperidone to "bring the milk in", I took the maximum I could as well as fenugreek and blessed thistle supplements. I hired a lactation consultant, went to more classes, cried a whole lot.
At a mom and baby drop-in I was accosted by a nurse when I started to mix Hannah a bottle, "What are you doing?, You should be nursing", she had a whole lot more to say - I kind of lost it. I received comments from total strangers on the importance of breastmilk while mixing bottles. I was constantly explaining my reasons for formula feeding to people.
I wish people other than my doctor, my family and Matt had told me it was ok. There was no shame in formula, that there are some women who just can't breastfeed and that's ok. I don't know where the intense pressure to breastfeed even came from, it just seemed like the "right" thing to do. Everything in the media, baby books are all very anti-formula.
I would get jealous of my friends who would have these sweet quiet moments with their babes while feeding them. Nursing for me was always stressful and anxious. In the seven months I tried, I had maybe a dozen feeds with Hannah that were great. In retrospect, I would say I had some postpartum depression and that nursing and my difficulty with it was my outlet.
With our next baby, I will try for the first six weeks and if it doesn't take I will move on. I might have a few quick tears, but the tears will not last for eight months, it's just not worth it. I'm a formula baby and I turned out a-ok.

2 comments:

East of Main said...

Ironically the ad running under this post is for formula! And I couldn't agree more about all the BF pressure. Even though I was successful in the end, in the early days when we supplemented I felt like I was giving her Sunny D. (ie. like I was poisoning her) Crazy hormones don't help.

Kate said...

Totally like Sunny d! Also, I don't understand why there are ads! I removed them from the blog.
Sorry I missed you yesterday at the pool! The exploding oven took priority around these here parts!
Hope you are having a good day.

k