For 8 weeks I tried my absolute hardest to breastfeed our little Oliver. I wanted it so bad. Because at the time I knew it was the best thing I could give him. My body was made to give him this.
Right after Oliver was born, I had hemorrhaged (bled out, for those of you who don’t know the terminology). We were separated for more than an hour and he had to eat. So the nurses had Wayne give him formula out of a bottle because they weren’t expecting me to wake up for another 45 minutes or so. I woke up 15 minutes later instead. I truly believe if they had waited he would have latched onto me so much easier and I wouldn’t have had as much of a hard time getting him to feed off of me. Nipple confusion is a real thing, it truly is. Once a baby has been fed out of a bottle when they are still so little, that’s all they want because they don’t have to work for it. It is given to them, it is easier. So, I tried to get him to breastfeed for 3 days and he wouldn’t latch properly. He wasn’t getting all of the food that he needed, he was losing weight. (Which is normal for babies to lose weight when they are born) but he wasn’t gaining back as much as he should have been in the time given.
From then on I tried the nipple shield, he still wasn’t having it. He would fall asleep right after my milk had dropped and didn’t finish eating. I would tickle his feet, rub his cheek, I tried all stimulation’s, nothing worked. So my next option was to pump my milk and feed it through the bottle.
For 2 months, I pumped 80% of my milk, the other 20% was me trying to get him to latch, just hoping we could be successful at this. I pumped every 2 hours because he ate every 2 – 3 hours. That’s 12 times throughout the day & night. I wasn’t making enough milk to store any, every ounce I pumped went straight to Oliver for his next meal. I was exhausted, Wayne was exhausted. We were both up every 2 hours in the night. He had work the next morning, which made me feel horrible. But I needed his help to make it happen. He’d feed him while I pumped Oliver’s next meal. It was a team effort. I’m so thankful for all of his efforts in that matter, I truly wouldn’t have been able to do it without him. He wanted me to breast feed just as much as I did which was so important to me.
Once I had reached 8 weeks, I had to make a decision. For the last two months I spent most of my time glued to this pumping machine so Oliver could have my milk. Going anywhere from home was stressful because I had a schedule to keep. It got to the point where I was pumping in the car on our way to places! I wanted it so bad for him. But I also started noticing that my milk wasn’t as nutritional as it should have been, considering I didn’t have much time to make myself the meals I should have been eating so he gets that nutrition too.
After the many tears of frustration that I wasn’t reaching the success with breastfeeding that I had hoped and prayed for, I decided I couldn’t do it anymore. The stress was not worth it. Spending more time with my family and being able to take care of both myself and Oliver was more important. Either way he would still be fed, and that is what is most important.
If you’re a new mom struggling to breast feed, it is OKAY to transition to formula if that is what will work for you and your baby. If you have tried everything you can possibly do and still can’t do it, it is okay. The stress is not worth it for mommy or baby. I wish I would have learned that sooner, but I was too stubborn and determined to make it happen. As a mom you see “breast is best” plastered in every doctors office and on social media. You get the question “are you going to breast feed?” from the successful mothers that could. There’s so much pressure to be able to breastfeed and that’s what makes it so hard on us mommy’s when we simply cannot do it. Some mothers can’t even produce any milk, their’s just doesn’t come in! So everyone is different, do what is best for you and your baby. Fed is best, breast fed or formula fed. All that matters is that their little tummy is full and mama and baby are both happy.