Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Let's Be Real.

Sometimes the things you want, aren't always what's best for you.

Case in point... breast feeding.

I've always known I've wanted to breast feed, and since becoming pregnant I always assumed I'd do it for about six to nine months. I knew it wasn't going to be easy even though it's supposed to be natural. I've read and read and talked and talked to women about it. I felt prepared.

Boy, was I wrong.

So you know how I've been so nauseous? [Are you as sick of that word as I am??!] Well, since all of my millions of blood work from three OB and two ER visits came back normal, I started questioning if my nausea was psychological. As I mentioned in my last post, I started wondering if it had anything to do with my mom leaving after ten days? But I ruled that out after STILL feeling nauseous days after she left. I wasn't paranoid or anxious about taking care of Emmalyn. She's a pretty easy baby (so far... knock on wood!) I wasn't depressed, although I questioned this. I seriously tried thinking of how I could be depressed, but nothing came to me.

Then I started thinking about breast feeding. In the beginning things were pretty normal. She was latching on all right, I was sore and tender, but it wasn't terrible. I felt confident Emmalyn was getting what she needed. Em was born on a Wednesday and by Saturday... BAM! My milk came it. It's just like people say... it hits you like a brick.

And guess what day I started feeling nauseous? Yep. The same Saturday. I never thought anything about it at the time. Over the last few days breast feeding has not been going well. For Emmalyn, yes. For me? notsomuch. It has been painful to say the least. I've literally been dreading feeding her. That's not supposed to happen. The whole anticipation and preparation of breast feeding has made me terribly anxious and stressed. I've totally been beating myself up about it and I feel like my body just cannot keep up.... I've been setting my alarm about fifteen minutes ahead of Em's feedings so I can fill both my gatorade and water bottles, plus eat a little something. Then, I change her, set up the bed with the pillows I like, sit down to nurse... And then, there's the pain! So much pain I am gripping the sheets, shouting expletives, and crying in my husband's arms. Plus, the whole process from the time I get up, to the time she finishes feedings lasts an hour!

I cannot go on like this. It's not worth it. To me.

Blake and I have had several discussions over the last few days about whether to continue breast feeding or not. I've had a war with myself over it. (As well as debated posting this since people can be so judgey) Should I stop? Will I regret it if I do? Should I just try to get through the first month--I've heard it gets so much better... 

While all this was going on, I started thinking that maybe I'm nauseous because of the anxiety over breast feeding. Maybe I'm making myself sick over it. So Monday night, B and I decided we would supplement with formula, while I pumped a little to get relief. Then, at Em's pedi appointment on Tuesday, we'd talk to the doctor about stopping breast feeding. Remember how when I pumping before, I was expressing nearly 4oz at every sitting? Well, this time when I pumped, I was barely getting ONE ounce between the two girls. Whaaaat??? Maybe that's why things have been hurting so bad--Emmy is trying and trying to get stuff out and it's just not happening because nothing's there anymore...? It's hard to tell since you can't see.

Any way... were my suspicions correct? Is the nausea related to the breast feeding? Well, I'm no expert, but since late Monday night when I stopped breast feeding, I have not been nauseous, y'all! Now, I do have a clogged duct in my left breast, so I'm experiencing 'flu-like' achey-ness, which is normal. (I'm applying a warm wash cloth and taking hot showers to help clear it up) Plus, I'm a new mom so my energy is still low and I'm tired, so I'm not feeling 100% like myself quite yet. But no nausea.

At Emmalyn's pedi appointment yesterday, her doctor was fully supportive of my decision. She said I need to be happy! And if mom isn't happy, nobody--especially baby--is happy. She was very adamant I don't beat myself up over breast feeding. She said in order to stop breast feeding, I just do it cold turkey, and the nurse at my OB's office said the same thing... and to wear a tight bra!

So how am I feeling emotionally? Let's be real... I can't help but feel a little sad. I don't feel like a failure because I honestly gave it my all, and for two weeks Emmy got tons of nutrients and immunity from me. (Although B says my immunity sucks any way... LOL) I'm not even worried about what people will say. But I loved that when I was nursing, it was just me and my girl; and I loved that she'd hold my finger by her ear. BUT, I know I can get special-mommy-daughter-time in other ways. My mom did. She could only breast feed for two weeks, before she stopped producing milk (which could possibly be what happened to me, too...???) and my mom and I are super close to this day, so I don't see any reason why Em and I won't be.

I've talked to a few family members about this and while they all say, don't beat yourself up over stopping, but I can't help it. It's sort of like I have to go through a little mourning. Not in an extreme sort of way. Just a little grieving. I'm confident I made the right decision for me... for my sanity, for my body and well-being. And what's best for me, is ultimately the best for my daughter.

It may be too soon to tell if the nausea is related to the breast feeding, but it does seem very possible. It all matches up.... the nausea started the day my milk came in, and the nausea has ceased (so far) the day I stopped breast feeding. Makes you think...?

*Thank you ALL for your sincere words and genuine well-wishes over the past couple of weeks. It means so much to me that y'all care. I'm truly grateful.

**Today Emmalyn and I are off to a 'Little Nippers' class at the hospital I delivered at. It's for new moms to discuss EVERYTHING & ANYTHING! I'm excited to go, but nervous because it's my first time driving since delivery, plus my first time alone with my girl. PLUS, it's icky and cold out today and I don't have anything to wear post-partum! HA! Wish us luck!


  1. That makes perfect sense to me! Worth a shot, anyways. Breast feeding is wonderful, but it isn't for everyone. I planned to breastfeed too, but that wasn't in the cards for me either. I'm glad you aren't being hard on yourself about it, because your little lady will grown just as big and strong and healthy as breast fed babies! Keep me posted on the nauseous feelings!

  2. Oh sweetheart, you are so not alone...I have my fair share of breastfeeding dilemmas to share once I get around to writing about it. It has not come natural to us at all! I love it but my body is failing me! I know what you mean about the sadness and guilt that goes along with formula feeding when you really wanted to breastfeed! I'm going through it too. I'll share more when I post about it soon. Best wishes!

  3. I'm obviously not a mom, so I don't have too much say..but I think you made the right decision. I'm a Family & Child Sciences major and we learn A LOT about this subject matter. I agree that if mom isn't happy then it will rub off on baby! I hope this will help with your nausea!! Thanks for being real :)

  4. I'm so glad you are feeling better...and you should be happy that you did breastfeed for 2 weeks- that's an accomplishment! I've been pumping and supplementing with formula (literally about half of her feedings are formula bc I can't keep up with her) since about 2 weeks and honestly, it's what works for us. Breastfeeding was great, but I've noticed with bottlefeeding Grace is more calm, I'm more calm, and she even holds eye contact a ton more than she did when she was fighting with my boobs! I'm glad you found something that works best for you guys, and I totally believe that a happy mommy equals a happy baby! :)

  5. Glad to hear you are feeling better! I'm no doc, but those do match up, so who knows? I think what is meant to be will be, and maybe in this case it's just the way it's supposed to happen??
    But it's like you said, what's important is you and Emmalyn are happy and healthy - and not in pain or nauseous!
    Have fun at your class today!

  6. Everyone is right...dont beat yourself up. And you are have to be happy to make your baby happy. You have to do what works for you both. Breastfeeding is NOT easy. I've been struggling as well. I'm glad your feeling better...maybe now you can just concentrate on your little girl!

  7. Oh Katie, I'm so sorry you've been going through all of this! I can't even imagine. Being stomach sick/nauseous is the WORST feeling, and like you, I would do anything to make it go away.

    You need to do what's best for YOU and your baby, and only you know what that one else. As long as you and Emmalyn are healthy and happy, that's all that matters! :) **Big hugs** to you, and I hope you're feeling like yourself again soon!

  8. Crazy! It really does match up! I totally agree that you need to be happy for Emmy to be happy! Breastfeeding is def one of the hardest things ever! I'm really glad you are feeling better... Aidan has been very patiently awaiting his first 'date' with Emmy! :)

  9. I fully support your decision! :) I just feel if BF is affecting the overall health of the mother, it isn't worth it to push yourself to keep going. I had a similar situation with Story. Totally understand. I Story's feedings were like an hour too! WTH? Too long. I want to see you! Maybe this weekend? I've been thinking about you and have been hoping thing are going well.

  10. Oh Katie, I'm so sorry you have to go through this. I think that as long as you gave it your best, that is all you could do for your little girl. And like you said, it's a lot more important for you to feel healthy and take care of her, than to breast feed and be miserable the whole time. I really hope you feel better soon girly, and that you get to enjoy your time with Em a lot more :- )

  11. I was actually going to comment on your previous entry (just before i read this one) that it might be your milk production/breast feeding causing the nausea. I think your mind is on the right track with linking that to the nausea :)

    No one is going to judge you that really cares for you. Like you said, its best for you and its best for Emmy. My Mom didnt breastfeed me at all and we are super close, so no worrying yourself about things like that :)

    Also as far as stopping the breastfeeding cold turkey that is definitely correct. I suggest (and I know this is odd) but getting some cabbage leaves and sticking them in your TIGHT bra for a few days. Instantly dries up the milk. They taught us that in school and I have had several patients who have said its amazing. Leave the same leaves in for a few days till the cabbage leaves are all dried up. Also, dont face the shower when you shower....causes stimulation and signals to produce milk again if you arent already completely dried up. If the pain is still really bad try making Bra even tighter by wrapping an ACE bandage around your bra.

    Sorry if I am dispensing too much advice...just little pearls I've learned from working OB :D

  12. I just came across your blog and read this post! I understand the feeling COMPLETELY! Don't be hard on yourself - just remember everything happens for a reason...

    I went through something similar (not the nausea - hope that goes away for you now) My little man had trouble latching on at first so we would try and both get frustrated... then I went to pumping and it just was NOT working (at fist was getting like 4oz and then all of a sudden 2 and 1oz) then we said formula after fighting for 2 weeks. My Punkin is now 3months old and going strong; getting too big for his britches haha.

    I felt the same feelings of grief after stopping but it works itself out. Emotions run high so don't worry too much!
    (sorry this comment ended up being so long)

  13. I'm so sorry that you had a rough time with this. I am always so glad to hear that moms gave it a try. If it doesn't work then it doesn't work.

    I was lucky enough to breastfeed for 14 months (started weaning at 12, took 2 to wean him.) I was soooooo glad to have him finished! I couldn't stand it anymore! I always wonder if it will be as easy with other kids, I'm just going to focus on each kid at a time.

    Good luck with formula feeding-she will be a great kid regardless! She just needs to be loved! And from the looks of it, she is going to be well loved!

    Congrats again-I can't say it enough!


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