Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Feeding Struggles

I thought I had conquered all my (and Jack's) issues with breastfeeding. We made it through his learning how to suck, his weight loss, issues with latching, a growth spurt and other issues. Granted, I was still using the nipple shield, but it was a small step away from perfect.

Yesterday, I broke down. Jack was doing great until a couple of days ago. Suddenly, he wouldn't latch at all. He would get angry, shake his head and pull off my breast. He would make grunting or angry sounds and get frustrated. This led to marathon feeding sessions, sometimes up to 2 hours. He would fall asleep finally on my breast, or just get so frustrated that he would give up.

I chalked it up to my supply being crappy. I haven't been pumping nearly as much as I used to. I used to be able to get 8-10 ounces sometimes at a pumping session, but now I am lucky to get 5. In the evenings, it's even less. So at the OB's office yesterday I asked what I could do to boost my supply. Per my doctor's orders, I am drinking a dark beer every day. I am also drinking a ton more water, eating oatmeal for breakfast and taking Fenugreek tablets.

When I got home, I literally broke down. During a nursing session, Jack did his angry pull off routine. I kept relatching him and finally had it. I gave up. He wasn't nursing off me and when he would pull off, the nipple shield would be full of milk. So maybe it wasn't my supply. At any rate, I broke down. I can't sit and try to feed my baby for up to 2 hours and then turn around and do it again. It just isn't feasible. I am frustrated, he is frustrated and my husband is frustrated dealing with our frustration.

I cried and decided that I would just pump. At least Jack would get my milk even if it wasn't straight from the tap. Whoever said that breastfeeding is "easy" and "natural" upsets me. It makes me feel like a failure that I can't feed my baby correctly. I will probably get hate mail for this comment, but I don't like breastfeeding. It's not fun. I suppose if he ate correctly and my supply was good, I would like it, but I don't.

I don't want to worry about giving my baby food and dread every nursing session so my plan is to pump and give Jack bottles. Occasionally I will offer him the breast, but without the shield. That little piece of plastic was causing me a lot of grief that I didn't need. It went into the trash last night.

Enter this morning. I seemed a little more okay about my decision. The first bottle of the day was hard, but I got through it. The second feeding, I offered Jack the boob. He latched on for about 2 minutes and ate before he got frustrated. Hey, it was two minutes. Later in the day, he latched on for a good 15 minutes total. Both times without the shield! Progress!

I am still not pumping a whole lot today, but I am hoping that my supply will pick up. If anyone out there has any insight on how long it takes to boost your supply, I would appreciate your feedback.

So there you have it. I am still not 100 percent at peace with my decision. Ultimately, I want to be able to breastfeed. It is still going to take a lot of work, but I will keep working. Maybe at month two, I will re-evaluate and decide something different. Hell, I might decide something different next week depending on how the little man and I are doing.

God speed Pachey and Jack, God speed.


  1. Hey lady, I just blogged about my pumping. Try the breast feeding board on the bump. They were really helpful.

    I am exclusively pumping for exactly the same reasons you are talking about here. Kudos to you for giving it more of a "go" than I did. I just was having a hell of a time recovering from the surgery and trying to do all this! Oskar is thriving on the pumped stuff.

    I get about 3.5-4 ounces every feeding, so I don;t have a freezer supply just yet, but it's been plenty for him.

    Good luck guys! Remember, it's the fact that he is getting the milk... no matter HOW he gets it, that's important.

  2. I'm in the same boat as both of you. Noah just thrashes at the boob and I just couldn't handle the marathon bf'ing sessions nor the uncertainty that he was getting enough.

    Right now I'm pumping about 2 oz every 2 - 3 hours trying to build my supply. We've had to supplement with formula a few times because we ran out. I ordered some fenugeek (sp?) and have been sucking down h20 like it's going out of style!

    I'm still trying to bf him during the night time feedings (since pumping and then feeding at 2am is not my idea of a good time:) ) and that's been frustrating but working so far...he's so sleepy at that time he doesn't have much fight in him.

    While I'm not happy to have to pump and feed him, the up side is that my husband can be much more involved in feeding his son and I have peace of mind that he's getting enough to eat.

    I try not to see it as a failure, just a different way to do things. He's still getting breast milk which is the important part.

    Keep at it, like Jenn said, as long as he's getting your milk you're doing a great thing! Good luck!