Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Battle of the Breast

I HATE my breasts... they are failing me, and all it does is make me feel guilty.  Even when I was expecting two mouths to feed, I was planning to breastfeed as much as possible, and only supplement as needed.  Now, it seems like the opposite.. like I am only supplementing with breastmilk.

Even with everything that happened to me, I still worked really, REALLY hard.  The second I came to my senses in the hospital, I asked for a pump, and when I was transferred to another hospital for rehab, I still kept it up as much as possible.  I even thought I was doing good, getting several ounces (2-3) each time I pumped.  I knew I should be pumping more often, but it was hard with all my rehab and the drugs that I was on, so I just did the best I could, knowing it might not be enough. 

Then it just started to turn south.  I tried Fenugreek, and eating oatmeal, and lots of water, and pumping all the time, but I just kept getting less and less.  I told myself, "well, I just need to get him to latch on, then my milk will come in" because that's what the lactation consultant said.  Well, that was a battle in itself, and we would both get so frustrated.  He only latched on a couple times, but most just screamed at me.  So, I gave up... and now, I can only pump out 10-30 mL (basically 1 ounce or less) each time I pump.

Its so frustrating, because I feel like I am letting Lane and myself down.  Not to mention it is SO hard for  my husband to understand.  He sees that I can't pump enough, but he thinks I didn't try hard enough to get Lane latched on.  OK, fine, I'll agree with him, maybe I gave up to fast, but it was just really frustrating with everything else on my plate.  All I want to hear from him is that its OK to give up on pumping.  Not that I would, but I just want to know he'd support me if I did.

So, my battle is still on.  I still try with pumping, but really only get enough every two days for one feeding.  Is it even worth it??  Ughh!!!!


  1. You're going through something really common and totally normal. A lot of women feel frustrated with breastfeeding and guilty when it doesn't work. You are doing the best you can for your son and that's all anyone can ask of you. You are not a failure!! Relax, do what you can and don't worry about the rest. Sending prayers and best wishes to you.

  2. Lindsay I've been in a similar situation with my first child. I had an emergency c-section and was not conscious for the birth of my baby. When I woke I found my baby starving but I could not seem to get my body to cooperate. I was in the hospital a week for an infection, and after almost an entire week of pumping and all of us getting frustrated and me feeling like a failure we decided to switch to formula.

    This made a night and day difference in our daily lives. Knowing what I know now I know that it was the right choice for me. Don't get me wrong, I think breastfeeding is great for those that it works for, but I don't consider myself a failure because I couldn't do it.

    I'm 2 weeks from the birth of my second child. Although I'm going to try again this time around I know that it will be a short-lived process because I'm going to work soon after the baby is born and cannot handle too many new adjustments.

    I hope this helped in some way. Don't give up, and don't feel like a failure if it doesn't work out. Hang in there!

  3. Don't feel like a failure! You have been through HELL and then some!

    I could not get Kristin to latch! And the battle was NOT worth it. I pumped and did what I could, however, it is NOT worth getting frustrated! If you want to stop pumping, Stop! If you want to keep pumping and giving him what you get, then do that. But breastfeeding/pumping is not easy! And it is not something men can understand!

    Wish I had some words of wisdom. But I will say, lots of babies are formula fed and they are JUST FINE! (I am one of those babies!)

  4. Hey, I sauntered over here from the November 2010 WTE community, and I wanted you to know that I completely understand.

    I had an emergency C-section and eventually, Sophie wouldn't latch (she did but then got frustrated). Since then, I've been pumping and supplementing with formula whenever needed. At first, my supply was good, and then it went down a lot, and now it is up again.

    I have been all over the map emotionally about it, and have considered giving pumping up completely after a bad "harvest," but I keep reminding myself that every ounce I can get out is one more ounce of breastmilk she wasn't going to get otherwise. Plus, being less stressed about the yield seems to increase it.

    Even though I'm sure she'll eventually be 100% on formula, that doesn't have to be today. Even if there are days when she's taking more formula bottles than breastmilk bottles, that's okay. She's being fed, and that's the important thing.

    If you do give up on pumping, that's okay. You tried, and think of all the breastmilk Lane's already had. You are doing your best, and that's all anyone can ask of you!

  5. I am in the same boat. What's the point of having boobs if they won't work???? I've slowly given up on pumping, but to make it more comfortable to stop, I still pump a few times a day - no set schedule, just whenever I feel uncomfortable. For some strange reason, I don't have much milk, but when I don't pump at all my boobs are screaming at me in more pain than I remember from after losing the twins.

    Stress can definitley be a factor in your supply, so try to give yourself a break and not stress too much over it. I think stress is what initially dropped my supply from iffy to total crap. I tried the Fenugreek and all too. No luck there.

    It's 100% OK to stop pumping if you want to. If you don't want to, just remember that every little bit you can give Lane is worth it's weight in gold.

  6. Hello! Don't know if you're still pumping or not. My mom stayed with me for three weeks after LO was born. The first week and a half LO would not latch. He would scream and cry, push back on my chest, and fight. It made him cry and it made me cry. I wanted to BF so bad. My mom asked me if it was worth it... to have LO and myself both clearly upset. I pumped and supplemented with BM for five weeks because my LO would not latch. He's got a small lower jaw and a very small mouth, so I decided I would try again at a later time when he was a bit bigger. One day, I just decided to try and it worked. So, maybe when your LO is a little bigger, it will work. If you do want to continue pumping, I know there is a prescription you can get that can help with milk production. If not, there's nothing wrong and you're not "giving up." That sounds so negative, and this is not a negative thing, you aren't just trying, you're doing! All in all, when it comes down to it, no one can tell the difference between a BF baby and a FF baby. You aren't failing anyone. You're doing the best you can!!!

  7. Lindsy - there are prescription meds that can help you with bf'ing - they even help mommies who adopt babies be able to breastfeed. They are called REGLAN or DOMPERIDONE. Reglan is inexpensive and easy to get - but it CAN have nasty side effects. Dom is more expensive and easier to order from out of the country, has GREAT results - and NO side effects. Good luck!!