The Frankenbaby Chronicles

Two girls, three cats, some frozen sperm, a doctor's office, and a big dream.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Two months of breastfeeding woes

The other day in the car, Jen reminded me of something that happened when we went to the next round of classes with our birth teacher for "just had a baby show and tell." (Every cycle, she gets someone from the previous cycle to come and 'tell it like it is.') Well, we talked about our birth and everything, and then we talked about nursing and I mentioned my lack of supply and all of that and Jen reminded me that Vicki, the birth instructor, jumped right in and said very quickly, "But that is /really/ rare and almost never happens." Which is crap, really. Nursing problems happen all the time. Sure, not everyone has hypoplastic breasts and can't make milk because of structural problems, but lots of people have supply issues. So, whatever.

But her reminding me just made me feel really bad about the whole thing. I haven't exclusively breastfed my baby since she was 5 days old and had gotten so dehydrated that she'd stopped pooping and peeing. She now is almost exclusively formula fed and I am the supplement, making about 3-4oz of breastmilk per day with the help of domper.idone. And you know what? That sucks.

I promised the baby a while back that I would take dom and nurse her for three months. It's been two months as of Saturday and this evening Jen asked me if I was going to nurse the baby before her bottle and I said, "No, what's the point?" I guess I'm burnt out of trying so hard for so little. I nurse my baby for 20 minutes 6-8 times a day and still give her 20-24oz of formula. It's like the world's biggest tease.

So it's September 3rd, and I have 27 days to go. I hope I don't completely annihilate my spirit in the process.


Blogger Co said...

I'm sorry Vicki shut you down like that and made you feel badly. Lo and I were talking last night about how angry it makes us when women shut other women down when they try to talk honestly about things that, let's face it, can be problematic, like nursing. (Doing that to another woman isn't very feminist or empowering if you ask me.) And if the point of the guest speaker is to have that speaker "tell it like it is," then why weren't you allowed to? I am sure Vicki just doesn't want other women to feel discouraged from the get go, but I think that doesn't give women enough credit. I think if a woman knows it might be hard going in, then finds it to be hard, it might help her to know she's not the only one. That might be more helpful than harmful actually.

I'm sorry the situation continues to suck for you. You and Jen are great moms to that little baby. That's what matters most. As a former special ed. teacher, I can tell you that lack of stimulation, neglect, malnutrition (and I don't mean formula), abuse, exposure to environmental toxins, drugs or alcohol, and genetics are huge factors in which kids have issues later on. There are many important things we need to give our kids and some factors beyond our control. We give our kids what we can. And you are giving Gus many wonderful things already... love, attention, stimulation, security. These are not small. These are not advantages every baby has. She will benefit from them.

10:58 AM  
Blogger Lo said...

Of course, I echo what Co said. And I have to say, reading your story makes me feel *better* about breastfeeding (both for Co and hopefully for myself someday) because I feel like I know the truth of it. I don't expect it to be easy. So Vicki did all those women a disservice, in my opinion. Let's hear it for honesty. And you have done wonders for the punk.

9:52 PM  
Blogger Mermaidgrrrl said...

It can even go "wrong" for people like me, where I started out with no troubles at all for 4 months! I think if people are more awware of the problems that can occur then they know to seek help with the problems and that MOST problems (not your condition) can be rectified. I went into it knowing that BFing is a huge commitment and that's how I've stuck with it, knowing that it's a basically full time job round the clock for the first 6 months. If I'd thought it was a walk in the park I would have quit months ago - I'd much rather know that there can be huge problems and that it's a huge commitment. BTW - I think you've done ana amazing job BFing too!!!!!!!!!!

5:31 AM  
Blogger FosterMommy said...

I echo what Lo said. Knowing the truth is always beneficial. Especially since many, though not all, of supply issues can be worked through. Parents should know that. And parents should know that you can have unfixable supply issues and it's *okay*. Nobody should feel alone in their parenting journey, because there's nothing that generations of parents haven't experienced already.

I've read that it only takes 4oz of breastmilk per day to impart the beneficial immune stuffs to a baby. So you're giving her that.

I've seen you say that you feel your body is failing you, is screwed up. To that I say, your body made HER. And that's awesome beyond words. You're awesome.

So take that memory of Vicki and throw it on the ground and stomp on it, cuz you're not a freak - you're awesome!

10:18 AM  
Blogger Jude said...

You guys are all very kind and are a non-lactating mama's best friend! I am happy beyond words that my baby likes to nurse for comfort (even if I can't get her to take a paci for the life of me) and will have to be content with that and what I can do. In our case, formula is a godsend and I am glad it exists.

It's true that breastfeeding is hard work and that there are lots of things you can do to up your supply (I am proof of that even in my limited capacity) and it is a full-time job, and I think that as long as people don't go into it thinking you just stick a boob in a baby and transport yourself into mama bliss, they will be okay.

You guys are all awesome. FM, I didn't know that about the 4oz of breastmilk, that gives me some hope. :)

1:52 PM  

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