Friday, February 11, 2011

I Gave It My Best Shot!!

You know how in your head you plan for things to go a certain way, but when it finally comes time for those things to happen, they don't happen the way that you planned?
Grayson never was able to latch on properly in order to be fed directly from the breast. Even the lactation consultants had some difficulty with helping me out because Grayson wasn't going to have it. I would try and try and try, and Grayson would just scream and scream and scream...(ask my mom. She witnessed this.)
Well, since I was producing milk, and it was important to me that this be what Grayson got, I pumped. For the last 12 weeks, I have pumped for many, many hours. At the beginning, it was great. I was producing so much milk, I felt like I had a little baby food storage going on. I also thought that I would never run out of breast milk.
Well, for the last couple of weeks, my milk supply has been dwindling. So, I tried increasing my fluid intake, that didn't work. I tried massaging my breasts, that didn't work. So then I started pumping every 2-3 hours for several days, that didn't work. Then I combined the following...increasing fluid intake, pumping every 2-3 hours, massaging and Fenugreek. For those of you who don't know, Fenugreek is an herb that has been known to help some women increase their milk supply.
Well, last night at 9pm, I pumped for the last time. In a 24 hour period for the last few days I haven't been able to pump enough for even one feeding.
This isn't what I had "planned" on happening. The decision was a struggle for me to make. Many tears were shed. I do feel confident however that I have made the right decision for my situation. It was probably one of the hardest decisions I have had to make.
I have been reassured by many that I am not a bad person because of my decision. I gave it my best shot. I could have made this decision a long time ago when Grayson wanted nothing to do with breastfeeding. But I didn't. I pumped, then I fed him, then I cleaned the pump then I slept for 1-2 hours, then I did it all over again. Guess what? That was hard.
Grayson still has several days of breast milk left. I will make sure most of the breast milk is used up BEFORE introducing him to formula...I don't want him to end up liking formula more before most of the breast milk is gone.
I appreciate the encouragement from the people that I have talked to, and also for Tom who reassured me that it isn't my fault and that he would support whatever decision that I made.


disillusioned said...

Did the lactation specialists tell you that babies that are born even a couple weeks early can have a harder time latching on? Usually--even just a couple weeks early still affects their fatigue level when they eat (meaning they often are burning so many calories just trying to stay awake to feed from the breast, that they burn off what they eat before they're done eating). My sister tried, like you, to breast feed both her first 2 babies. The first came 6 weeks early--the second 5. Both had a REALLY hard time latching on--staying awake, and actually feeding. My sister bumped like you with both of them. She produced so much milk, that she ended up with horrible infections both times. With the 3rd (who was the only one full term) she said "enough" and just did formula.

BUT--here's some info. that an awesome Lactation specialist gave her with the first. She was also a part of the La Leche League. That really--breast milk within the first 6-12 weeks is the best time for the babies to get breast milk. That most of the anti-immunity that mom passes to baby occurs within the initial 6-12 weeks of the baby's life. SO--even though breast milk is good for a baby at any age, those first 2-3 months are the most important. This helped my sister feel better (especially since her older 2 have been the one's with the most health problems. In fact, her pediatrician told her that my nephew's lung infection was probably not discovered earlier than after he was a year old because she had pushed to breast feed/pump for those first 8 weeks of his life). So, I hope you take this as a "job well done mom!!!"

I've had many friends who have done what you have done....I like how I heard 1 person put it as she stood in the grocery store buying formula for the first time. She realized that the Lord created breast milk---AND the Lord created formula--and BOTH are beautiful things that help parents feed and raise their children. Adult's testimonies in the Gospel aren't different whether or not they were breastfed or formula fed---but they wouldn't have been able to grow up to have a testimony without both forms of feedings!

I thought that was a beautiful realization that woman had!

:) Mary P.

Debbie said...

I can completely relate to you on this one Erin as I had a similiar exp with my first. He had blood sugar issues at birth and the colostrum was not enough to bring his levels up so they gave him a bottle. Afterward I tried to get him off the bottle he refused to latch on. I tried pumping but was never able to get any milk out. So I ended up formula feeding him. there were times I felt like a failure especially with getting bombarded with breast is best statements all the time. There even a couple of times when I was criticized by people who don't know me when they saw me giving him a bottle. But deep down I knew I had made the right choice because I was so stressed out trying to get him to latch on, I was constantly in tears and once I just decided to go with the formula I was so much more relaxed and able to enjoy and nurture him. The good news is baby #2 latched right on as soon as he was born and I was able to successfully nurse him and #3 even though she wasn't as natural at it as #2 but since I had been successful once I knew I could do it. And Matthew is probably my healthiest child even though he was formula fed. we hardly ever take him to the dr except for check ups. So don't feel guilty even for a second and just ignore any one who every tries to tell you otherwise. You are doing great Momma!:)

Becky said...

The same exact thing happened for me. I wanted to run screaming into the night, but I was so done with pumping at 10 weeks or so. Don't feel guilty. Paul is the healthiest smartest kid and Grayson will be too. I'm just sad for your wallet, but join all the online formula clubs and you'll be in good shape with coupons for awhile.

Chelsea said...

Wow, I had no idea! We have a lot of catching up to do, Miss.

I remember how hard you tried and it's just tough! (from what I've heard and seen).

Maybe he just wants solids. KIDDING! You're a great mom and it's obvious that you'll do anything for the health, well-being & happiness for your family. You did great!

And you're right - it's not a bad decision if that's what your body is telling you to do.

And I love the advice Mary gave you! I love reading all the information and learning.

Keep those eyes (and nips) dry!

Love you!

i like whispering too said...

Your desire was there, and you can't really control all that, so don't blame yourself or feel bad! Grayson will keep being awesome.

dxeechick said...

oh honey! i feel your pain! before Stephen's surgery, he would have nothing to do with breast feeding. then after, it seemed like we were getting the hang of it. but not for long. he is struggling with it again, so i have been the pumping queen. i pumped the whole time in the hospital as well and even filled their freezer to capacity. haha! i built up quite a supply but as the weeks go on, i'm realizing it won't last long. its very disheartening for me too. i guess i just want you to know you're not alone. grayson will be great regardless. being a mom is hard!

Emilee Bailey said...

I agree with all the comments on here. Lydia only got a few feedings of breast milk before she had to go on formula and is wowing us and the Dr by her progress and development. Like it was said before, after 2-3 months, it's not much different than formula (except A LOT cheaper). So you gave him the best stuff you could. Now sit back and enjoy the extra time you will have. You deserve it.

Tom & Erin Barker said...

Thanks everyone for your comments. I really appreciate the fact of knowing that I'm not alone...and I knew that, but knowing that some of my friends /family have gone through it, makes me feel "not alone." I'm not feeling so bad, but now I just wish I didn't hurt so bad. THIS TOO SHALL PASS!!

Mark and Aupreille said...

Oh Erin I am so sorry you have had nursing issues, that makes everything so hard. Teairsa would not nurse without a nipple shield for the first 3 months of her life and even with the shield, it would take her forever and I would have to pump after every feeding, so I understand how exhausted you are feeling. It was so frustrating that her doctor, my doctor, and none of the lactation people could help me. Some one finally suggested I take her to an ENT to see about getting the little skin under her tongue clipped because she might be slightly tongue tied. I took her in and he said it was about a 50/50 chance it would solve her nursing issue but it wouldn't hurt her and if it was going to be a issue for speak it wouldn't show up until she was in school and by then it would be a procedure that required sedative, whereas when they are little it bleeds for a second and within minutes they are fine. And he wasn't exaggerating, she cried more from her 2 month shots then getting her tongue clipped. And within a week she had figured out nursing and was eating better and faster. But those first 3 months where horrible and the emotional turmoil of whether to just stop was awful. So I am sorry you are having to go through it.
But I just wanted you to know and remember that all the doctors and even the lactation specialists, said that formula is not the end of the world and that it is there for a reason because before there was formula some of these babies wouldn't have survived, so don't feel bad at all.
I think they push breastfeeding so much because it's so hard, and if it wasn't pushed so much, who would do it.
Hopefully you will start getting a lot more sleep now too because not only do you not have to pump but hopefully he will stay fuller on the formula, so that is a great plus!!