What day is it today?

I have to ask myself that question constantly. Thanks to the alarms on my phone, I always know what time it is, but the days and the hours all seem to melt together. 

  

My Sister in Law left this morning after spending 4 days with us. Given everything I was experiencing when she arrived, the absolute last thing in the world I wanted was company, but it ended up being ok. I certainly don’t recommend house guests 1 week post partum, but my SIL was pretty fantastic. Her gift to her new niece was a deep freeze for the garage, and she spent her entire visit cooking and filling it with food. Enchiladas, stuffed peppers, breakfast burritos, chicken pasta, calzones… The girl cooked her heart out. It is amazing. Color me surprised. 

Nursing-wise, things just suck. And not in the good way. The mastitis is better and my poor nipples have mostly healed, but I’m just not producing milk. I get just under an ounce every 3 hours, mostly from my left breast. Righty had the worst of the mastitis and isn’t showing any interest in cooperating. I started on fenugreek yesterday, and today the lactation nurse asked me to add brewer’s yeast, blessed thistle, and goat’s rue. We’re going to try that for a week and see how it goes. The next step after that will be a course of Reglan if I can convince my doctor. They are attributing my supply issues to PCOS. The gift that keeps on giving. 

This is what 25 minutes of pumping with a hospital grade pump (Medela Symphony) gets me from righty. Talk about depressing.   
I’ll be honest. I don’t know how much longer I’m going to be willing to keep trying if I don’t start seeing some improvement. I can’t decide what hurts more–throwing in the towel, or being reminded every 3 hours that my body isn’t good enough to sustain my baby girl. 

I will say this: My medical group spent my entire pregnancy drilling the benefits of breastfeeding into my head. It was inescapable. They never once said, “Some people can’t breastfeed, and that’s okay.” I wish they had. I wish they’d taken just a brief moment in all of that breastfeeding education to discuss what happens when your body just won’t cooperate. This breastfeeding guilt is like an open door that leads straight to post partum depression and anxiety. I barely get the chance to sleep as it is, and now in the moments when I can, I either lie there awake on the verge of tears or I am so riddled with anxiety that I can’t sleep. 

Clearly, my body is just not a fan of this baby making business. It didn’t want to get pregnant. It didn’t want to let me keep both of my babies. Birth did not agree with my body. Post partum does not agree with my body. At some point, I’m going to have to make peace with that. 

Charlotte, though… Oh, our beautiful baby girl is thriving. That’s really all that matters. She is amazing. She is so happy and cuddly. She hardly ever cries. We are so, so lucky to be her mothers. 

   
    
    
    
   

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29 thoughts on “What day is it today?

  1. Please, I beg of you, find a way to stop beating yourself up over the breastfeeding. Yes, in an ideal world every mother can do it, but it’s not an ideal world and I am firmly becoming a member of the camp that “breast is best” is just cruel torture to anyone who isn’t a human milk machine. I now firmly believe that the motto should be “nutrition is best” because ultimately that’s what all little babies, like Charlotte need.
    I will say, even at our adoption parenting seminar the book was 1/3 full of how breast feeding is best. They just touched on it and did start to tell us it is best to at least try. I was hurt, Mr. MPB was livid for me. It was cruel and honestly, it’s unacceptable. I’m sorry that our systems put so much pressure on us when it’s a situation we simply cannot control.
    Also, your little girl is stunning! I just love how cute she is!

    • I’m really working on it. I swear! I have good moments and bad moments. I know that a lot of it is hormonal (and sleep deprivation doesn’t help). God, if a friend of mine were in the position I’m in right now, I’d tell her to hit the formula and never look back. Happy, healthy mothers are just as important as happy, healthy babies.

      • We all have good and bad moments, unfortunately. Honestly, it’s my fear of the bad moments that means I’m not even going to try to induce lactation – I just know the feeling of failing yet again is something I need to avoid. It may be selfish to some, but I just can’t and I’m learning to be okay with that.
        And yes, happy, healthy mothers are soooo important!! Wishing you the best and sending you so much love!

    • I completely agree. If anyone needs any ammo about breastfeeding not being a huge deal, the siblings study (http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/sibbreast.htm) seems to show that when you control for the family, the amazing benefits aren’t as great. They’ve also made great strides in formula from even when we were children, you can buy age-specific blends and they mimic so much that’s found in breastmilk (minus antibodies). A happy well nourished baby and sane mom is a great combo, whether it be by breast or formula. 🙂

      Also, adoptive breastfeeding seems to work next to never, advocating it to adoptive moms is just setting them up to feel like failures from the get go. It’s cruel.

  2. Molly, she is incredibly beautiful! Your body made her! You are a wonderful mama already.

    Do yourself a favour and stop beating yourself up over the breastfeeding! You are giving it your all and then some. If you’re ready to throw in the towel, then do it. Don’t let this cloud your time with your baby. What’s important is that she gets fed – it doesn’t matter how! I was bottle fed and my two sisters were breastfed. Wanna guess who is the healthiest out of all 3 of us? Both as a kid and adult? Me!

    I love looking at her sweet pics. Never stop posting them!

  3. Btw supplements are not recommended and can reduce supply in some people. Please join the group Breastfeeding Support on facebook. Tbey have a lot of internationally board certified lactation consultants who correct the info doctors and other not certified lactation consultants mistakenly give. There is also information about power pumping and increasing supply.

  4. Always always always the most important thing is that baby is fed and mama is sane and if those things can’t happen nursing, then stop. I’m so sorry that you have experienced pain and grief already, and that we live in a culture that makes moms feel like shit no matter what we do.
    You might ask your doc about metformin. I started taking it around 3 weeks pp and it helped my supply. Also watch the fenugreek because it isn’t the magic unicorn horn everyone thinks it is. But mostly, remember that you are a badass mama no matter how you fed your baby.

    • I made a note to ask about going back on metformin at my next appointment. It makes perfect sense to me, but when I asked a nurse about it today, she looked at me like I was nuts to think it would help supply.

      • the IBCLC I saw early on said “if a mother needs metformin to get pregnant, she needs it to breastfeed.” My midwife said there was some evidence that it helped as well, and there was no evidence showing it passed through breastmilk in enough concentration to be considered a concern. From my perspective, it felt like the possible payoff was worth the basically insignificant ‘risk.’ This is what Kellymom (the go to on the internet) says: http://kellymom.com/bf/concerns/mother/pcos/

  5. I’m going to say it “some people can’t breastfeed, and that’s okay”. IT REALLY IS. Luckily my GP and my OB were supportive of my BFing, but also emphatic that supplementing was ok, and straight formula was ok. You have to do what works for all of you!

  6. Also, can I just say that this should be the happiest time of your life-it was and is for me. Please don’t let anything marr it. If you want to quit, you totally have my support. It won’t matter to you down the road because you’ll have a happy and healthy baby either way 🙂

  7. Adorable photos! I was unable to breastfeed and I understand the feelings associate with that as I stopped altogether after a month. Please know that you are not alone and that Charlotte will be just as happy and healthy no matter what she has to eat! ❤ Be kind to yourself.

  8. I think you rock!
    Honestly I know that doesn’t make anything seem better or easier but you really do rock.
    I honestly can’t get over how beautiful and alike you both look.
    Keep your chin up, you’re doing a great job mummas ❤️

  9. It’s true that our provided is so into their baby-friendly certification that they don’t recognize that issues come up and breast-feeding is not the only way. I know i emailed you about this but the most amazing people I know were not breast fed! You’re doing everything you can, losing even more sleep and encouraging your body in every way, and just because it’s not cooperating doesn’t mean you’re not an incredible mom to Charlotte. She is so lucky to have someone as loving and knowledgable as you for her mom!

  10. That’s about all I was able to pump, I increased it very very slightly. I had read that reglan may contribute to depression; my doctor had recommended domperidone but I never went on it b/c my spouse was very against it b/c it’s not FDA approved in the US. I feel so deeply for you because I went through the lowest in my life dealing with this (my postpartum hormones amplified everything). If you ever want to talk, I could send you my number. I remember feeling so alone and that no one truly got what I was going through, which made me more resentful of people’s good intentions.

  11. Girl, you a rockstar…don’t lose sight of that. You are doing everything in your power to provide for that little girl and just look at her! She’s amazing! She’ll thrive on formula too. Maybe more so because the pressure is off of you and she’ll feed off you relaxing a bit. It’s tough when you watch all of these people producing silos full of milk for their kids and your body just won’t cooperate. It made me really sad for a few days. But ya know what? We weaned a month ago and I don’t even remember WHY I was so sad. I’m bonding with my babies just fine and your daughter already thinks you’re the cat’s pajamas. I hate to break it to you but your boobs aren’t why she loves you :). Hang in there. Take care of you…you just birthed a baby, for pete’s sake! Have yourself a good cry, hug your baby and then let it go. And email me (jennypittsburgh@gmail.com) if you need a sympathetic ear. xo

  12. I first want to say how amazing I think it is that everyone who commented here has been so supportive of you! What a great group of people. They are all so right. You have to do what is best for your sanity and your precious angel to thrive.

  13. “Brewer’s yeast, blessed thistle, and goat’s rue” oh my! That sounds like a potion from a Disney movie. LOL I sure hope it works like a potion, too. I really, really hope you are able to see some improvement, but IT IS OKAY if you don’t. You being a wonderful mother is not dependent on you being able to breastfeed. You are trying and you are putting Charlotte first in everything. That’s what makes you a good mother! I know it has to be so hard though, so I hope it gets better and I hope you start to feel better too! And yay for your awesome SIL! Glad she took good care of y’all by stocking the freezer. That’s great.

  14. There are lots of ways to add a child to your life. They are all fine.
    There are many ways to diaper, nap, fed your baby. You and baby will figure out what is best in each specific instance. And the answer could be different if you had a second baby!
    There are many toilet training ideas. You and your baby will find out what is best for your family.
    There are many ideas about media, books, activities, sports etc. You and your child will find out what works best for your family.
    Absolute rules/”this was best for me therefore it is best for you” are the only wrong approaches.
    You have and love your child. That is wonderful. The rest is not to be worried about. Life is imperfect and full of surprises and joys and real life. You three are doing great.
    Hold that truth and walk forward with that fact.

  15. Bottle-fed babies and breast-feds babies both have one thing in common – their mothers are doing a fabulous job. There is no contest, so long as your baby is fed & happy. If you need to let breastfeeding go, then do it. Make the decision now so that you can start having a good time being a Mummy. Charlotte will be more than okay whatever you decide is best. Repeat after me: you are a wonderful mother and you are doing an amazing job.

  16. She is so precious. That sleeping photo, ahh I want a newborn again! I’m sorry about the breastfeeding. It is SO hard and you are doing amazing, and whatever makes you the best and most healthy (physically and mentally) mama is what is best for Charlotte.

  17. Callie never wanted to breastfeed, and I guilted her. I was so mean to her about it. “What do you mean you don’t wanna breast feed!?!” so she tried it, and she loved it, but she didn’t produce more than 10cc’s per pump for the 4 months that she was pumping. And she was devastated because now she DID want to breastfeed but she couldn’t. She had a cyst under her nipple that needed to be removed and drained or something like that, and since she had surgery, the LC was pretty sure they may have messed with her ducts, so BFeeding went out the window. But after a few weeks, we (she) realized that it wasn’t the worst thing to have to use formula. Our boys are just as smart and healthy (if not smarter and healthier) than some of the strictly breastfed babies. Callie got over it (and she loved not having to wake up a million times a night to pump anymore). They slept longer and they slept better, and that in itself was a win! And look, even little Charlotte is giving you the “It’s all OK mom” gestures in her picture. Don’t beat yourself up friend…whatever works for your family is the best way, and you have my 100% support no matter what you chose! Also, that’s what my alarms looked like when i was inducing lactation! You poor thing….and you might want to try domperidone. My LC is also an RN, so she was able to write be a prescription…see what you can find…

  18. Pingback: The End of the Road: Some Thoughts on Breastfeeding and Postpartum Care | Hound Mamas

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