Dec 12, 2012

The Ups and Downs of Breastfeeding

Oh, breastfeeding. They say it is a natural thing. Not an easy thing, but definitely natural. Although you would think if it's natural then it would be easy. Think that and you'd be wrong.

Breastfeeding is amazing in that your body knows what to do and what your baby needs. In fact, doctors highly recommend breastfeeding or at least pumping so your preemie can have breast milk because somehow your body knows and provides exactly what your baby needs, which is different than what a full-term baby needs. As amazing as breastfeeding is, it is hard. It is frustrating and exhausting.

Okay truth: I don't like breastfeeding. I hate it at times even (depending on the day). I wish I would feel that it is all about bonding, but mostly I just feel like it is something I have to do. So why do I continue to do it? Why do something I don't like doing?


Because it's what best for Addison.

I do it all for all the reason I listed yesterday. I do it for those benefits and plan to continue for those benefits to her. My goal: 6 months. I want to make it 6 months.

As much as I want to make it to my 6 month goal (April), I doubt I'll make it. Not just because I'm not a fan, but because there are other issues that are presenting themselves. But you never know, I could easily make it to 6 months and then decide I like it and want to continue. But right now, I definitely have my days when I would give anything for April to already be here. Especially when she's biting down and pulling while still latched (if you've ever breastfed then you probably know what I'm talking about, if you are still trying to decide if you will or not then you probably will find out and ouch!).

All that be said. I was shocked when I realized that I may not be able to continue quite the way I have been and I was upset about it. Here's what happened:

The last few days we have been wondering if Addie has been getting enough to eat, and that is the reason why she has been so fussy. Right after she was born, she cried then she cried during her bath but that was it. She was quiet. She was content. Then suddenly during the last month we have had a fussy baby. Yes, that comes with the territory but what if there is something else at play? What if she is just hungry because she can't get enough from me?

When we started questioning this, I felt like a horrible mom and a bit of a failure. There's nothing wrong with formula fed babies and those women who just don't have enough milk to feed their babies or heck, just don't want to breastfeed, but have I been starving my baby and just thought she was screaming for no reason? Was she trying to tell me that she's starving? Obviously she's not starving, she's growing like crazy. She's definitely gained more weight and is crazy long. But what if she is still just not getting enough?

So of course that upset me, but even more when we were discussing me pumping and supplementing with formula, I was surprisingly upset. As much as I don't care for, or as much as I thought I didn't care for, I wanted to stop of my own terms. I wanted to be able to hold Addie close and have something that is just for the two of us for a little bit longer.

However, wondering if she is getting enough is not the only issue. She has had some latching on issues lately, which is making feedings harder and much more frustrating. The sudden latching issues are seriously making me consider quitting much earlier than my goal. Or at least supplementing and going only to bottles.

We have decided to give her a bottle right before bed in hopes that she would start sleeping better at night, and I would just continue to feed her like normal during the day (the luxury of being a stay-at-home mom). And so far, so good. It really does seem to be helping. However, this does mean I have to pump throughout the day. Now I'm kicking myself for not being better at pumping, so I had a better supply built up.

We have definitely had a lot of ups and downs as of late involving breastfeeding. I know that breastfeeding is the best thing for Addie, but I have to make sure that she's getting enough and currently I'm having my doubts (we will be having a conversation with the doctor about these problems when we go for her 2 month appointment on Friday).

All that being said, I don't want to discourage anyone from breastfeeding. I listed a lot of negative thing, but it isn't all bad. There really is a closeness that you might not get otherwise. Plus I can't but feel a little like superwoman. I'm giving (or should be) my daughter everything she needs from me. Just as I was her source of life when I was pregnant with her, I'm still her source. I'm still everything she needs and it's an awesome feeling. Even if I have to give it up now, I don't regret it (despite not liking it). I'm glad I was at least able to breastfeed her for two months. It may fall (way) short of my goal, but I'm still proud of what I've been able to do. To me, it's important that I at least tried. That means something.

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