The beginning of the end

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!

7 thoughts on “The beginning of the end

  1. Hi… of course you must do what you want to do..and I’m certainly not a doctor as I’m sure you talk to him about the situation…. but I’ll just give you some thoughts….. For Jacob to need feeding so often during the day to me is unusual…. His little tummy is never empty and to me that’s why with each feeding he only takes a little. I nursed my first two children… the first for about 4 months as I recall, the second for only 1 month. I would do on the average to start every 3 hours approx…. then 4hrs. While he gained weight he did not sleep through at night at all and neither therefore did I. I became so tired and from what I learned this does affect the mother’s milk.. some of the tension etc. is apparent when nursing causing issues. The baby’s pediatrician was of the belief that ‘any’ amount of time given to nursing was beneficial to the baby.

    The second baby… (we’re talking 1965) I felt that again I ‘had’ to nurse… but it was short-lived as after 1 month the doctor said my milk was not strong enough for him…so I went to bottle feeding.

    The third child I determined since the first two attempts were not good ie babies were cranky and didn’t sleep much at all, and I was so tired and overwrought…. that I fed her formula from the first day. I must tell you that of the 3 children she thrived and was more placid and slept AND was healthier than the other 2.

    Again do what you feel right but perhaps consider that the routine that you’re on right now might not be the best for Jacob or you.. and you’re not a bad mother if he goes on the bottle… I wonder if he would thrive and be happier and not cry so much ..(and neither would you)

    .. Just my thoughts .. Diane

    1. Thanks for your thoughts Diane. I think he feeds so often in the morning because he sleeps so well, but even though I sleep quite a bit, the feeding really wears me out, he is such a hungry baby, so combining a couple of bottles of formula and nursing the rest of the time is probably best for us at the moment.

      1. As I said…. yes you do what is best… It’s hard when reading to know exactly what the situation is… I guess I just felt a bit of concern with how you must feel… take care… Diane

      2. Thank you so much, I find it hard to explain what I feel about all of it and my mind changes almost on a daily basis. One day I want to give up nursing and switch to bottle and the next I want to keep going for as long as possible. It is a constant battle in my mind. Thank you for your concern, much appreciated xx

  2. Glad it is working out better with Jacob. To call it failure is a bit harsh. For some, it just does not work out – whether the issue is with the mother or the baby. Good intentions are not always rewarded.

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