Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Making hard decisions...
... and facing them... is one of the hardest parts of parenting. I have put off writing this post because I didn't want to face people's reactions. But the purpose of this blog is to be honest... I've said it before... and I'm sure there are others that have been or are in the same situation I was. I know there will be mixed reactions because I have friends that are crazy pro-breastfeeding, friends that think it's the only way, friends that have had difficulties and get it, and friends that never bothered.
I was convinced I was going to take another shot at breastfeeding with Bees that I didn't get with Bear. Bear was so small and not on the growth chart so we didn't get much time before we had to start supplementing when she wasn't getting enough from breastfeeding. Bear did well with formula, has been very healthy, and is a smart little girl so I didn't feel bad about our decision. That being said I always got embarrassed when asked "How long did you breastfeed?"
So for Bees I was certain I would breastfeed. I bought a nice pump, I stocked up on storage bags, medela bottles, and mother's milk tea. It seemed like it was going great. She latched on right away, gained appropriate weight, and seemed happy. I had mastered the blanket over the shoulder, breastfeed in public move. I love breastfeeding because how content and happy it makes me and my sweet babies. I love being able to feed them in the middle of the night with a simple unsnap of a nursing tank versus getting up and making a bottle. I love that no matter where I am I can feed my child and don't have to guess at how many bottles I need to have prepared for her prior to leaving the house.
At her 2 week check-up we talked to the doctor about how much she was screaming and how much pain she seemed to be in. Gone was the sweet baby from the hospital. From the time my milk came in she had been screaming pretty much every moment she was awake but even worse at night. The doctor told me all about colic and said to try the "5 S's" I tried swaddling, she screamed more... I tried sucking, she refused a pacifier... I tried swinging, she HATES the swing... Nothing was working. At this point she was having crazy spitting up after every meal, horrible gas, a bad rash... the list goes on and on.. I turned to facebook and got two suggestions of help from mom friends.... Dairy allergy or overactive let down resulting in foremilk/hindmilk imbalance (she wasnt getting to the good fatty milk). Despite everything I know about scientific methods and 1 control I both cut dairy out and started block feeding to help with the OALD at the same time and we started to see some changes. I went back to the doctor and she said it isn't dairy... she's gaining great weight and doesn't have bloody stools. At first I was angry and irritated at the doctor. Here I was drinking almond milk, cooking with soy butter, avoiding McDonald's fries (yea they have dairy) and downloading dairy free iphone apps... what does she know... But guess what... as soon as I stopped block feeding it got worse again. I stopped the dairy restrictions and focused on block feeding. While it seemed somewhat better she was still miserable. When I pumped I could tell how thin and watery the milk was... her poop was electric green... I finally broke down and gave her a bottle of formula mixed with pumped milk. And guess what... the screaming stopped.. not only that but she smiled at me...
I know all the benefits of breastfeeding. I really really wanted to do it... but to see my child so content (one of my favorite parts of breastfeeding in theory) and happy and out of pain was amazing. I decided I was going to pump and still mix it because then she will still get some benefit and breastfeed her at night... But you know what happens? Every morning and throughout the night she screams and spits up massive amounts of milk... I mean massive. After a couple of formula bottles she smiles, doesn't spit up, and is happy. Everyone in the house is happier. Daddy can help feed her, Bear can play with her and dance for her and make her smile, and I don't spend the whole day panicking about what is wrong with my baby.
So do I wish I was a super breastfeeding mom? Yes I wish I was... but am I still a Super Mom? yep I am... the proof is in that sweet baby's smile... so think what you want but I think I'm doing what is best for my family.