I am really passionate about breastfeeding, I truly believe it is the very best thing you can do for your baby, but it is not easy, far from it. Feeding Elisabeth was incredibly painful for 4 months because she couldn’t latch on properly, but I managed to feed her for 8 and a half months and I am glad I did. It was incredibly difficult but I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. I didn’t really enjoy it though, I enjoyed doing the best I could for her, but the actual feeding, not so much. With Jacob things started off a lot better, he latched on fine. But I still don’t do it for the joy of it. I do it because it is best for baby (and me) and how can I justify not doing the best for my beautiful baby, but I also do it because I don’t do failure. Or should I say I don’t do it well.
In my head failure is only acceptable when you are physically or mentally not able to complete a task, in all other circumstances failure is not an option. I know this is quite ridiculous, but hey, try telling my stubborn head that!
During our 4 days in hospital after Jacob was born I had to supplement his feeds with formula because his bloodsugar was too low. He was such a big boy and because my milk hadn’t come in yet he just wasn’t getting enough. This was obviously the right thing to do, although I hated putting a bottle in that tiny little mouth, but it was that or risking him having to go to special care so I didn’t feel guilty about it.
I even didn’t feel too bad for introducing a bottle at bedtime because he just wouldn’t stop feeding in the evening and I was just not able to keep feeding every hour til gone midnight because he just wasn’t satisfied. It wasn’t what I wanted but it felt like the right thing to do. I would feed him during the day, either me or my husband would give him a bottle in the evening and I would feed him again at night.
At 12 weeks Jacob decided that it was about time he slept through the night which is so amazing I hadn’t even hoped for it. I know this will probably change when he has a growth spurt or starts teething, but at the moment he sleeps on average 10 hours straight. This does mean however that during the morning he feeds like crazy, every hour at least, and by the time the extra milk from not feeding at night has gone he is very unsatisfied and hard to settle after every feed. Not only is it hard to see him so unsatisfied, it has made it almost impossible to spend any time with Elisabeth in the morning, by the time I got her dressed and made her some toast Jacob is hungry again. Last Friday he was awake at 6.15 and had had 5 feeds by midday at 20 minutes to half an hour each and still he was hungry. This was too much for me and I decided to give him one bottle during the day as well as before he goes to bed. It was very upsetting giving him this bottle. Over the weekend it was obvious how much more settled he was, but it is difficult to accept that this might be best for him and for Elisabeth as well.
So far I have not noticed a decrease in milk production and I really hope this decision will not be the beginning of the end of nursing, because even though I don’t thoroughly enjoy it, I want him to benefit from it for at least another 3 months. Fingers crossed!