Holy Tits Breastfeeding is Hard

Samson is 3 weeks and a day old today.  Physically having a baby was hard, but I was prepared for that.  I knew it would be no piece of cake.  I was ready for the most exhausting workout of my life.  I was not, however, prepared for breastfeeding to be this hard.

I’d read some about it and Carol had given me some information on it, which I briefly looked over.  It seemed from what I read that this was going to be a ‘natural’ thing.  I mistakenly interpreted ‘natural’ for ‘easy’.  So many emotions are stirred up with this process.  Inadequacy.  Failure.  Stubbornness and an attitude of “I can do this”.  Excitement.

Everything you read nowadays gears you toward breastfeeding and how superior it is to formula.  Of course, I want my baby to get the very best!  But not only that, I want to be the one who comforts him.  It’s just something that I saw myself doing when I became a mom.

During our first three days at home, I tried every little tactic they showed us in the hospital.  Each time we tried to feed him while we were there, we got different advice from different nurses.  Each time, it was quite a stressful situation.  Samson was so worked up he wouldn’t eat.  I would calm him down and he would go right to sleep.  Not knowing any better, we thought perhaps if he was sleeping, he was content.  I started getting concerned that he was sleeping too much, not eating enough and that he hadn’t peed or pooped very much.  

“Don’t give them a pacifier, it’ll cause nipple confusion.”  “You don’t need a nipple shield unless you have inverted nipples.  So try and stay away from that.”  “You can’t force feed a breastfed baby.” “Just kind of stick is head on there even if he’s wailing.”  etc.

After our weekend in the Beloit hospital, things seemed to go better.  By this point, we just needed to get some fluids in him, so we introduced a bottle.  I would pump, then try and nurse him, then give him the bottle with the remaining breast milk.  Was I producing enough for him?  Was I pumping too much before feeding him?  I felt inadequate; like I could not provide for my baby.

I called the volunteer for the Mitchell County Le Leche League and spoke with her quite a bit.  She offered some more advice that I tried and it seemed to help a little.

One afternoon last week, Drew came home one early afternoon to a sobbing wife.  I’d just gotten Samson to sleep, but only after pumping and feeding him the bottle.  He would resist me each time I tried to nurse him.  I felt so rejected.  I wanted him to be comforted by me!  Not the dang bottle.

Another rough night,  I had a fever and was exhausted.  Samson would eat, but it would take nearly an hour to get him to settle down and he was still kind of showing signs of hunger.  I broke down and we supplemented with formula.  And the waterworks came again.  I felt like a failure.

Yesterday, Sam and I went to a lunch and learn event at Heart Choices for breastfeeding.  Hannah told me her story and why she’s passionate about breastfeeding.  I told her about our experience and the problems we were having.  I told her I would have probably given up by now if I wasn’t so stubborn!  I want this to work!!  After we watched a short video, I was able to stay and nurse him there.  It was still pretty rough, but the video and Hannah had provided some new ideas to try.  Sometimes, I think what seems to help the most is being encouraged by another mom who has been there.  My husband is supportive, but encouragement is different coming from another mom.  It’s much more calming.

I was very somber yesterday, as my husband described.  Today, I am happy to finally get to the last emotion described.  Excitement.  Samson and I are both a little calmer since yesterday and I’m doing my very best to keep our nursing time stress-less.  I even moved our spot from the chair to the couch because I felt stress was associated with that chair!  Our feedings last night were better and today he latched on very quickly!! YAY!!!  We’ve now gone through a few feedings without the bottle at all.  I’m so excited and praying that this continues.  I feel like things could change any minute so Samson and I decided we’d start saying a mealtime prayer each time he eats.  Sure doesn’t hurt to have God help us through this!

 

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1 thought on “Holy Tits Breastfeeding is Hard”

  1. You’ve got this Shannon, keep trying and yes I give you so much credit for wanting to do this, most young mothers would’ve given up a long time ago and make excuses why it can’t work. I’ve nursed all my kids and it always worked very well (except the first one, when you don’t realize the pain involved, when it feels like you almost lose the nipples after they latch on !!! ). And I do think it develops a very nice bond and closeness with your baby! But I know all other moms that can’t nurse will feel the same using a bottle !
    Best Wishes,
    Vali

    Like

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