Today the lovely Nikki from Mommy Oblongata is so kind to share her story and her struggle with breastfeeding and the guilt she experienced when introducing formula as well. Here is her story in her own words:
I never thought I would have a problem breastfeeding. All the women in my family have been blessed with fabulous milk makers that could feed multiple children, so I assumed I would be fine. Plus, at around 28 weeks pregnant I started excreting colostrum, so I had no doubt in my mind I was going to have plenty of milk for my new baby.
When my son was born, he had a very mild form of torticollis. It wasn’t too bad that a little bit of stretch therapy has completely remedied him, but enough where he preferred to lay only on one side while nursing.
So, I would do the cross cradle position for one side and the football hold for the other. This affected my supply a little. On the side I had to use the football hold, he never ate much out of, so that side’s supply kept going down.
Then, my son had his first check up and it was discovered he had lost more weight since leaving the hospital…which is never good for a very young infant. I was told by my pediatrician to feed him basically whenever he wanted food and not to go over two hours between feedings. In addition, I was to nurse him on each side for 20 minutes. When it boiled down to it, I would feed my son for twenty minutes, burp, twenty more minutes, burb and then we had an hour before he would need to eat again. I felt like a Jersey Cow offering my boob to my child over 12 times a day.
At the next appointment to check his weight, he still hadn’t gained what the pediatrician would have liked, so they chalked it up to my supply. Cue the herbal supplements, mother’s tea, gallons of water and even non-alcoholic beer to increase my supply. I tried it all. In addition, now after the hour of feeding for my son, I had to pump any amount that was left in me out so that my body would make more milk. Now I only had 40 minutes between feedings.
And at his next weigh in, my son had gained weight, but he still wasn’t where the doctor wanted him to be. So the doctor suggested something that I knew was coming but dreaded hearing. Supplement with formula. GUILT! Oh, the mommy guilt hit me like a wave crashing down on my wonderful breastfeeding dreams. How could I not make enough to feed my baby? I was his mommy! I was letting him down! I felt like a failure to my child, and I worse, I called myself a failure. I felt worthless. Feeding my child was the one thing I could do that no one else could. It was our special thing, and it was being taken away from me.
And of course, the more stressed out and depressed I got about being a failure, the less milk I made. So, I had to swallow my pride and realize that my baby needed to be fed, no matter how it was done. So we began supplementing with formula, and even though I was warned that he might refuse it and the bottle, he took to it like a champ. That was both a good thing and a bad thing for me. Good, because if he hadn’t taken to it, I don’t know what I would have done…probably gone even crazier than I already was at that point! But bad, because I kind of wanted him to refuse it. I wanted to see him like my milk better. That was just me being selfish. I know that now.
Month by month my supply kept going down. I never did anything differently, it just went down. What started out as one bottle of formula a day, turned into two and is now currently three. Along the way, I kept giving myself goals. “I’m going to try to make it until I go back to work.” “I’m going to try to make it until he is four months old.” “I’ll keep going until he is six months.” He is now a little over six months and he is nursed in the morning and right before bed. I’ve now made my goal, “He will continue to nurse until he doesn’t want to anymore or until my supply is completely gone.”
That in a very long nutshell is my breastfeeding/formula supplementing story. I still have guilt from time to time. Mostly when I read other blogs or articles advocating that all women can breast feed and if they can’t then they aren’t trying hard enough. Ladies, I tried, and it didn’t work for me. I don’t know what makes some women have gallons of milk and some women have little, but I can’t let that make me feel guilty anymore. I couldn’t keep up, that’s the fact, but I also have a son who is in the 95th percentile for weight now, so I don’t feel like such a failure anymore!
Thank you so much Nikki for sharing your story! Stop my her site and give her a Hello and browse around!
:: Did you do a combo Breastfeeding/Formula Feeding for your children?::