With Aiden, breastfeeding did not come easy. As a matter of fact, it lasted three solid weeks. He wouldn’t latch, pumping didn’t produce enough, and we were both miserable. I remember the night that Brian finally put his foot down about nursing. I was in the nursery with the door shut trying to nurse him. Aiden was screaming. I was sobbing. He came in, sat on the stool in front of me, put both hands on my knees and said, “You will not be any less of a mom if we give him formula. I’ll be able to help you.” I went to Target that night and cried while looking at all of the formula options. I came home, immediately mixed the formula, and proceeded to feed Aiden (all while still crying). He sucked that bottle down like he hadn’t been fed in a week! Brian did the next feeding and I napped. It was glorious… for a few hours. The formula made him very colicky. He was miserable, screaming in pain from his stomach. It took us three more types of formula before we finally realized he couldn’t process the lactose. Once we tried the lactose-free, soy formula it was smooth sailing. The funny thing is he can drink milk like crazy now. I guess it was just a newborn phase.
Fast forward to Sawyer. After he was delivered, I tried with everything in my power to prevent my milk supply from coming in. I wrapped my breasts until it felt like they were going to push into my spine. I tried ice packs and Luke warm showers but it didn’t matter. It came in… a lot of it. I leaked for weeks. It was a constant reminder of the baby I didn’t have. It was awful. I decided then that if we had another baby in the future, I wouldn’t let that liquid gold go to waste like I did with Aiden.
Then little miss Aubrey came into the picture. My breasts started leaking by thirty five weeks. My milk supply had completely come in before I even left the hospital. I had a phenomenal lactation consultant that helped me every time I tried to nurse her. This time, I felt like it was going to work. And then they told me she had to stay in the nursery. I was able to nurse her every few hours but they had to supplement her with extra breast milk, and at times formula, in order to expel the extra bilirubin in her system. I think she was spoiled by how fast the milk flowed out of the bottle because her excellent latch didn’t last. She got to where she would only latch on for a few seconds and then scream for the bottle. For the first two weeks of her life, we had to continue the supplemental breastmilk/ formula. So, it tuned into me trying to nurse until she became hysterical, then giving her either pumped breast milk or formula. I was engorged, had a clogged duct, and my supply started to dwindle. I got to where I was only producing 1.5 to 2oz and the supplemental amount we were suppose to be giving her was 2oz. I finally decided to stop breastfeeding all together. This was a hard decision for me. I had a mental image of being one of those women in public with the cute nursing cover and the little baby just nursing away while she holds on a conversation. Honestly, I am sure there are things I could of done to become that woman. I could have made lactation cookies, drank even more water, pumped in cycles (whatever that means), but instead I gave up. Besides my momma guilt that I felt, do you know what happened when I did? Feedings became a lot more pleasant. Everyone could feed her, even Aiden (who still feeds her every morning before going to school). She was happy and we could enjoy that time. Everyone talks about the “bond” you have while nursing. Well, Brian put it perfectly when he explained that you could hold the bottle right at breast level and she would not know the difference. The bond is still there. Now, neither one of us is frustrated and we are enjoying each others company. Yes, there are women out there who can breast feed their child well into toddlerhood, but I’ve accepted the fact that I am not that mom. And that’s okay. I tried.
I would also like to add that Aubrey was 7lb 13oz when she was born. She was 7lb 3oz when we left the hospital. She was 8lbs 8oz at her two week check up and the pediatrician said she couldn’t be healthier. He also said, “Whatever you’re doing momma, it’s working. Keep it up!”. So if anyone knows someone that could use a really cute nursing cover, let me know.