Before I got pregnant, I had ideas about Motherhood and the type of Mother I would be. One thing I was adament about was that I was not going to breast feed. The whole idea just seemed weird and awkward and not what I wanted to do. Then, I got pregnant. Once pregnant, all my pre-conceived ideas changed – of course I was going to breastfeed. Why wouldn’t I? It just started to seem like the most natural thing to do.
The past two weeks have been rough. The baby latched on right away – he was a natural. An expert at only a few hours old. But, then after a couple of days things started changing. The baby was losing weight and feeding for much longer then before. When he lost 9.4% of his body weight in the hospital, the Paediatrician brought us in formula to help supplement him throughout the last night we were hospitalized. We didn’t get any sleep that night, worried about measuring and timing and making sure he got everything he needed.
The first night we were home, four days old, I struggled for over an hour to get him to latch – he just wouldn’t have anything to do with it. Previous to the latch problem, I’d been feeding him every two hours, with feedings lasting just over an hour. We ended up cracking open one of the cans of formula we had been sent as a sample and making him up a bottle. It was such a relief to see the food going into his stomach.
The next day a trip to the Paediatrician’s office showed that he was now down 12% of his birth rate. We were sent home with instructions to keep supplementing with formula, directions to make a trip to the breast feeding clinic and then another appointment the day after to check his weight. We kept supplementing him with formula, I made a visit to the clinic and met a wonderful RN who helped with great breastfeeding tips. The next appointment we were relieved to see his weight was back up and was only 8% away from his birth weight. We were told to stop supplementing and try to feed by breast exclusively.
Great news – but, enough to scare me into worrying about how much food he was getting… thus, began the roller coaster in which I felt like the worst Mother in the world.
I’ve been trying to breast feed, but it’s just not working. He’ll latch on for an hour to two, take a 20 minute break and then be ready for more that I just can’t seem to provide. Even after an hour of breast feeding, he’ll gladly drink another 2 ounces of formula. The first week I cried each time I gave him a bottle, each time after breast feeding that I knew he was still hungry. I tried pumping, but can’t seem to get more then half an ounce of milk out at a time.
Everything I’ve read on the Internet and was told by the nurses at the hospital says that breast is beast. From what I read, it seemed as if formula feeding was equivalant to feeding your newborn anthrax – you wouldn’t do that, would you? Every time I googled formula feeding, the first lines on every website were questioning why you would want to formula feed… why is it even an option? All good and educated Mother’s breast feed, why won’t you?
It wasn’t until last Thursday at the last appointment to check his weight, when we found out that he was just half an ounce away from his birth weight, that I started to feel better. Then, the paediatrician shocked me by not being angry that we’d continued feeding with formula and I was only breast feeding two or three times a day. In fact, he told us that he supported our decision if we decide to stop the breast feeding altogether and just formula feed from now on.
And, it was like all of a sudden all the guilt and anxiety I had been feeling was gone. I no longer felt like a horrible woman who had no right to be a Mother. I started realizing that there is nothing wrong with formula feeding – as long as my baby is thriving, shouldn’t that be all that matters?
And so, we’re formula feeding mostly, but still breast feeding as much as I can. I’m not crying with each feeding and I’m sure that’s a relief on the little guy. I can’t see it being healthy being exposed to all that stress I was passing on to him. I see the food going into him and no longer worry that I’m starving him, or worry that he’ll become dehydrated again… it took two weeks to get to this point, and I no longer feel like the worst Mother in the world.