*Not really a post for the guys, this is more so one for all the Mommies out there*
When Everly was born I had every intention to exclusively breastfeed, however, since day one, nursing Everly has been a struggle for me. With Everly’s reflux it was even more of a struggle. She was throwing up everything, projectile almost instantly after she was done trying to feed or even up to two hours after a feed. It got all over herself/us/you name it. The nurses in the hospital had also suggested trying pumping, and supplementing since Everly appeared to be so hungry (apparently hungry babies after being born run in my family). I became very overwhelmed with visitors over staying their visits, the demand for us to go out and be social because it was the holiday season, and with all of this I was trying my best to nurse. It was a battle I was not winning.
Everly also had terrible latch problems. The nurses at the hospital told me she would figure it out and learn. Jason had also run out and bought a shield for me, to try and help Everly latch. She kept having problems, I started feeling like it was all my fault. We also ended up having her checked several times for tongue tie, and lip tie issues. We were told repeatedly that she was fine. (Though I still disagree about the lip tie as I do believe that there is a slight one.) I’d hoped and prayed that nursing would not be a problem, sadly it had turned into a night mare.
While in the hospital I had started using a pump to try and provide for Everly. After coming home I was still determined to provide breast milk for my daughter, but nursing just was not working. Everly was so upset, so frustrated, and so hungry. I was gifted a Medela pump by my in-laws when my struggles, and Everly’s struggles were becoming so evident. I started to pump even more, and we started to give that to Everly in a bottle.
For the past 8 months I have been dedicated to pumping multiple times a day. I’ve gone through waves of feeling really antisocial because it does take up a chunk of my time during the day. Sure there have been times where I considered stopping, because I felt so isolated with having to pump constantly. Everly started sleeping through the night at a month old, I think its because of us supplementing half of her bottle with formula. We were supplementing with some formula because I was just not making enough, my Doctor and I went over everything and this was suggested. For several months I still had to get up in the middle of the night and pump, not fun. I’d also become very overwhelmed the first few months because of a lack of sleep from doing this. The first month, I’d get Everly to sleep and then there was still stuff I needed to do around the house, and to pump still. When all this was done she was up and hungry again. How I longed to be able to just put my baby on the boob when she was hungry, and she’d be happy.
I’ve had several other problems come up too. I had nose surgery when Everly was a couple months old. With her lack of nursing abilities, and having to pump and dump because of the medications they had put me on then, my supply decreased drastically. I ended up being put on medication along with some herbal remedies to try and help keep some supply. This did help a bit, but it was never the same. Some how I did end up with multiple bags of frozen milk in the freezer. Eventually I did feel like I had gotten the hang of having to pump, and that I was okay with supplementing some of her bottles with formula. Because of Everly’s reflux many different kinds of formula were recommended to us, we tried it all, and finally found one that we just kept going back to because it gave “the least” projectile reaction. The doctors and specialists had all told us to not worry, if she was gaining weight and happy she was fine. It’s been a struggle. We are just having her spit up and throw up finally settle down, she has actually left the house without a bib on. We also tried a whole bunch of bottles and finally found two brands that also seemed to help. I think between the accepting that I couldn’t nurse like other Mom’s, and getting over my sadness and jealousy, and also finding a bottle that helped my daughter just that little bit with her reflux, I am happy. My husband has been so supportive, and such a trooper when it came to all of this, we made decisions together throughout all of this.
With thoughts of the future and the desire in our hearts for more children. I wonder what next time will be like, and what I’d like to do differently.
Don’t be surprised (if we are blessed with another child in the future) if we ask you to keep your visit short (like 10-15 minutes at most). We’re probably going to turn into a bit of a hermit family, as I try to tackle this learning curve again. Please don’t be upset if we say no to going out and visiting else where for a while. I wish I had dedicated more time to trying to nurse and to pumping at the beginning to really set my supply. We probably won’t be out much at all for the first 3 months. If I have to go back down the medication and herbal remedy path again, I will. If for some reason, the only means I have of getting breast milk to my child is by pumping, I will. I’ll probably have to buy a new pump as this one makes some awesome noises now, but I will do it all over again. If I have to mix the bottles half and half with breast milk, and formula because of poor supply again I will. Its not going to harm my child’s development, and it wont be hindering his or her, if their goal in live is to become the world’s greatest brain surgeon. If for some reason, I cannot pump and I cannot produce breast milk next time, I am totally fine with just using formula. What matters most is my child’s health and happiness. I will do anything for them. I’ll probably be that patient, who is constantly pressing the button to get a nurse to come in and help. I will also be seeking out more help from places like La Leche League, and lactation consultants.
I have had a few upsetting comments from others around me because of bottle feeding and not nursing 100% of the time. If you know someone who has struggled like me, be supportive and encouraging. They are doing their best as a Mom, and they do not need your comments and judgement. Those who are Mom’s, be confident in whatever road you take, you need to make the right decision for you and your family.
Recently I had an email back that reminded me I am a committed Mom, and that my daughter is lucky to have me as her Mom. So I am celebrating my success in making it 8 months with her getting as much breast milk as I could possibly provide for her. Everly is a happy, healthy, feisty little girl.