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Lady Madonna (On Breastfeeding)

"Lady Madonna, baby at your breast, Wonders how you manage to feed the rest!" -- The Beatles

This is one of those posts that if you aren't into TMI, I'd stop reading now. It's all about breastfeeding and the ups and downs that come along with it. First all, I don't care what the La Leache league says, breastfeeding is hard (not that they don't acknowledge that, it's just you don't hear it enough). Now, there may be women out there who had it easy but for Jude and I it has been one thing after another. However, I REALLY wanted to breastfeed my kid so even though it's not easy I've been working really hard to make it happen. I don't even know where to begin. But I somehow wanted to blog about this because it's been such a huge deal for us to get through (and we aren't through it all yet!).

I realize that Jude and I had some upsets at the beginning, he lost weight, we had to do formula for a while, then he didn't gain enough still and then I had to do MORE formula and each time I was on the urge of just quitting. But, I was still making BM so I didn't want to stop because I felt like, "If I'm making it, he should be getting it." I've had long talks with my doctor, I've cried to my husband, and I spent $150 on a Lactation Consultant to reteach me how to breastfeed my kid. Can I say that it's worth it? I don't know yet.

People are SO passionate about breastfeeding. Last weekend I took Jude out with us to Macaroni Grill and went to change him in the bathroom. As I was wiping my kid's butt some random woman comes up to me and asks if I'm breastfeeding. This is when I was doing formula with Jude because we were still working on weight gain and so I said, "We are working on it." Then this random woman, without knowing jack about my situation informs me that "You should breastfeed, even if it hurts." Okay, problem #1 with this statement -- Breastfeeding shouldn't hurt. If it hurts you are doing something wrong. Problem #2 with this statement -- Who the hell are you to tell me what to do with my child? Are you my pediatrician, are you his mother? If I want to give my kid formula then that's my decision, and really none of your business what I do. Even though I am pro breastfeeding I would NEVER inform a random stranger what they should do with their kid. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? It was almost enough to make me NOT try breastfeeding again after I got the go-ahead from my doctor to do so.

Here's something else about breastfeeding. It's time consuming. Let me tell you, making a bottle is so much easier for several reasons. Reason #1 -- it takes two minutes to make a bottle, for me to breastfeed it's a big production, I have to get the boppy ready, I need to get the nipple shield (which helps me breastfeed Jude because my breasts are a bit "inefficient"), I have to get Jude positioned just right and then constantly keep him awake to get him to nurse for 30 minutes on each side. With a bottle he can have it down in about 15 minutes (3 ozs no less, with me it takes almost an hour to get 2 ozs in him!) Reason #2 -- You know how much your kid is eating. Because I am so paranoid about Jude's intake I worry about how much he eats when bf-ing. Currently I have rented a scale from my lactation consultant that I can weigh him before and after so that I can be sure he's had enough. But, I have to give that scale back tomorrow and I'm a bit nervous about it because I'm SO scared he will lose weight again. I don't trust my instincts as much when it comes to nursing, so the bottle calms my nerves a bit. Reason #3 -- Pumping is time consuming too. Not only do you have to nurse but afterwards it's good to pump for 10 minutes, or if I chose to give Jude a bottle of expressed milk, I have to pump to make up for the lack of nursing session and keep my supply up.

Now, I don't want to discourage anyone out there to not breastfeed. I'm still doing it even though it overwhelms me because I feel like it's the right thing to do for my kid. However, I don't think people are completely honest about the challenges of breastfeeding when you read about it in books and on the internet. Everyone makes it seem like everything will just come naturally and you and your kid will be totally satisfied. This IS not the case for everyone. I think it's good for people to know that breastfeeding can come with all kinds of problems. Problems they don't tell you about in the books, problems they don't talk about on the internet unless you REALLY search for it. However, I have found one place of support, This site has been amazing on resources for breastfeeding and all the problems that can come along.

I know this is a decision that is deeply personal with each mother and breast or bottle, every kid is going to grow up just fine! I think sometimes we forget that when reading all this stuff and talking to others. I'm not going to judge anyone for not breastfeeding their kid. And, I'm going to be jealous of those mothers that breastfeeding came easy to, trust me it doesn't work like that for everyone! I wanted to breastfeed, and with A LOT of work, I have been able to do so. But, did I give my kid 2 ozs of formula last night because he was fussy and I was stressed and scared? YES! Am I ashamed of that decision? NO! If anything, with this blog post I just want people to feel supported if they are struggling with breastfeeding and to let them know that you are not alone! I have felt so alone in this process because there were very few people who understood what I was going through. Thankfully I have a core group of friends that I was able to share these feelings with and knew it was a "no judgment zone!" I needed that and I thank them for reading my weepy e-mails and listening to me cry over the phone! My husband has been super supportive, even though I think he feels going to formula would be easier, he understands this is important to me so he has worked really hard to support me.

So, there's my rant about breastfeeding. I'm going for it! It's not easy, and I'm not even sure at this point if I can tell you if it's worth it or not. But, it's what feels right for us right now ... who knows what tomorrow will bring! :)

Now some photos from the past few weeks!

Bath time!

"I'm thinking ..."
Jude's first visit to Home Depot

Landon (Annie A's little one, and Jude)

Chillin' on the Boppy.

My boys hanging out for tummy time.

More tummy time!

Of course! :)

I love hugs!


Desiree said…
Mary, I have been there, and I have felt the fear, sadness and pressure from others too. Derek had to be fed formula as well as be breastfed but it took about 3 weeks for the two of us to figure things out and even then I still had to supplement because he was just such a big baby. It got worse when I went back to school and he was about 3 months old. I wasn't able to pump at school because there wasn't anywhere for me to pump or store and so I was quickly drying up. I finally decided after prayer and lots of tears that I would switch over to formula full time. I love you and hope that you know that lots of women have the same problem but it doesn't make them less of a great mom. I know you and know that you will try every avenue before you give something up. Also, if you have larger breasts it sometimes helps to lay down and breastfeed that way. It help me and derek.
Hang in there. It WILL get easier and Jude will be a beefcake in no time.
Anonymous said…
I tried with the breast feeding and it hurt and I had no milk. It was def something very hard to go thru. I gotta throw my 2 cents in with the bottle tho haha! I have to get the boppy ready too ... I gotta get nipple just right in his mouth or he will leak formula everywhere and if he isn't positioned just right it will leak too or he will decided to knock it around. He falls asleep everytime a bottle goes in his mouth! I have to keep waking him up to feed (lazy lil boy!!) And it takes him way longer than 15 mins to get his 4 oz down!!!

It's all a challenge - each baby is different that is what I am seeing with him and other friends and their babies!!

Trial and Error is my motto these days ha!!
Kara said…
Hi Mary, I finally realized you moved your blog! I will have to add you to my list. I'm sorry that has been hard. I chose not to for health reasons, but also I never wanted to breastfeed to begin with and was secretly glad I had a good excuse. My two cents, I figure a well rested, emotionally stable mommy is more important than the food. Maybe I am a little selfish, but that is how I feel about it. And yes, it is SO your business what you choose to do! I haven't felt guilty about it e-v-e-r! I wish you the best, and apparently you aren't alone because there is so much advice about it. There wouldn't be if it was easy, so you are not alone. Em did it for 6 months (pumped and bottled only) and thinks she may not do it next time. It was really rough.

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