Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Breastfeeding and I have never really had a very good relationship.

With Rayden, things were fine in the beginning but after a couple of weeks, he started to have problems and I chose to switch him to formula. He would scream for most of the time that he was awake and his belly was always swollen, as if it was filled with a lot of gas. My pediatrician was no help and any tests that were performed, came back fine. I was living with my parents at the time and had lots of help so I know that it wasn't just that I was doing something wrong. My mother had five children herself and Rayden was her third grandchild, she knew her shit. But even she couldn't figure out what was wrong.

So I tried a few bottles of some formula and after a few days, there was no improvement. I was at my end with it all and had no idea what to do. But then at our last doc appointment before moving across the country, my GP gave me a few samples of a lactose free formula to try. His first bottle was the evening we left Ontario and that night was the first time that Rayden slept through the night. All of his issues magically disappeared with that first bottle. No one really believed that he had any real issues with breast milk, but there was no denying that he was a million times better on the lactose free formula.

When Chris was a few weeks old, his dad got mono and this was a few days before another move. This time it was only to a neighboring town, but with two small children and a sick SO, it was just as difficult. I had to keep baby Chris away from his father completely because mono is scary when it comes to newborns. With everything going on, I ended up missing too much school and had to drop the semester, leaving us with a lot less money than planned. So instead of pushing The Ex to get a job on top of his schooling, I decided to get something just to get us through the summer.

When Chris was two months old, I went to work from 7:30 to 4:30 each day at an office that literally had no where for me to pump, except the bathroom. So we started to supplement with formula during the day and I continued to breastfeed him in the evenings and throughout the night. After a month though it was clear that my supply was just not keeping up and I decided to give it up completely.

For someone who was so determined to breast feed, this was crushing. I had had two babies and only breast fed for a combined total of five months. I felt like a failure and I was ashamed to tell anyone. I would always go into the whole story if anyone asked about it just because I didn't want them to judge me, which is insane.

When Michael came along, I was determined to make it work. I spent a lot of my pregnancy reading everything I could on the topic and by the time he was born, I had created my action plan; I would do nothing. With the first two I was so caught up with what I should have been doing or what everyone else told me to do that I think I missed out on finding what was right for my baby and I. When Michael was born, I gave all that up and instead allowed him to eat when he wanted, how he wanted. I usually only ever offered him one side and he would eat until he was finished. Sometimes he would eat again a half hour later and sometimes he would go four or five hours in between. With time, he created his own routine and never once did I stress over it. He didn't use me as a pacifier, and if he ever did try to just suck without eating, I would unlatch him. I was lucky enough that I could bring him with me to work and I had so few classes at that it was rarely an issue to be away from him.

Michael and I lasted a year like that until I had to go away for five days to a conference. I only found out that I was going the week before so I had no time to prepare. My poor mother was stuck with the horrible job of switching him to cow's milk while I was away. The first night he didn't sleep at all, but by the second he was better.

Unknown to me at the time, I actually conceived Josiah while at that conference. I don't think I ever actually stopped making milk during my entire pregnancy and Josiah began breast feeding without a problem. With him the issue was mine, I was done. I've never particularly enjoyed breastfeeding but always thought that it was best for them, so I did it. Unfortunately for Josiah though, I just had this longing to be done with it all from the time he was only a few months old. By six months I was ready to just stop. He'll be nine months next week and we have finally finished. He ate last night in the middle of the night and I think that will probably be his very last time. He still wants it from time to time but he is usually just as happy with a bottle.

Im happy that it's over but a little sad too. I don't want anymore babies and so this will probably be the end of that time in my life. I've given up breast feeding this time for completely selfish reasons but I don't feel bad like I did with my first two. I know that this is the right decision for me and Im sure Ill be a happier mom because of it.


Astarte said...

Phew, you have done the duty, girl. Good for you, both on the continuation and on the stopping. I was never able to breastfeed, and I've always been jealous of people who could. It's wonderful that you had that time, and now you have those memories while you are able to enjoy other phases of the kids' lives. :)

Kristi said...

My guilty parenting secret is that I tried to breastfeed Kaeli for about a day before I gave up because I was so frustrated. Compared to me, you deserve a medal!!!

Amanda said...

Thanks for sharing since I'm planning on breastfeeding, but if it dosen't work out, I know I'm not the only one.