Renee - posted on 04/07/2014 ( 1 mom has responded )
i am about to pour my heart out, so i apologize about the length of this. basically the situation is this. i had my first LO on feb 1st 2014. my intention was always to breastfeed and pump when i returned to work. i was never proud of myself for this decision, it is just what came to me naturally. i never even thought about formula. i had received many kudos and praises by the hospital staff and anyone whom the subject came up with. this always kind of bothered me because i had thought of my best friend who chose to formula feed her three girls. were these people implying that my friend wasnt an awesome mom because of that choice? because she is a wonderful mother to those girls. anyway i had gone for my DS's wellness check when he was 3 days old. he had almost lost too much weight. the lactation consultant, whom i had no idea was about to become my new best friend, had checked how i was feeding DS. his latch was perfect. i offered both breasts, he was on them for a good amount of time, etc. she had recommended that my husband and i bring DS back in 3 more days to check his progress. he gained, just not nearly enough. so again, 3 more days. that time he gained about 1oz more than anticipated, which was great. as a precaution we came back after another 3 days, and he wasnt gaining fast enough again. the lactation consultant had gotten me a rented hospital grade pump, to help establish my supply. i was to pump for 15 min after each feeding, and document how much i had total at the end of each 24 hour period.and of course feed the expressed milk to DS. she explained the whole supply and demand process for breastfeeding. well DS was always feeding, he couldnt get enough of me. there were several times where he would be on me for longer than an hour, and multiple times within an hour. it was a lot of feeding, and a lot of pumping. i would only get about an 1/8th of an oz to 1/2 an oz total for 24 hours.DS still wasnt gaining. i was shown breast massage and practiced it religiously along with the pumping. it barely helped. i tried fenugreek and blessed thistle, even this prescription that is known to cause depression that i took out of desperation, and yes it made me feel so depressed i didnt even want to get out of bed,i cried constantly for no reason. it was awful but i kept taking it though out of determination to build my supply in addition to the pumping and nursing vacations, and massage.i drank so much water and ate foods that promoted a bigger supply. DS was still not gaining after all of this. and seeing her ever 2-3 days was exhausting because it was an hour trip both one way, i was still recovering from having DS was so tired because of all the constant feedings. my husband was so supportive through all of this and even though he hated seeing me exhausted and depressed, he respected my decision to keep at it. after a little over a month, the lactation consultant had me speak with another lactation consultant that was extremely experienced. she asked me so many questions about when i went through puberty, how my periods were, what breast changes i had during pregnancy,etc. she had informed me that i had insufficient glandular tissue (IGT) without hypoplasia. basically you can have double Ds and if you dont have enough glandular tissue, you can not produce an adequate amount of breastmilk. if you are an a cup, but have all glandular tissue and no fatty tissue, you can have an oversupply. that tissue is responsible for breastmilk production. this tissue is supposed to grow like crazy when you are pregnant, which is why your breasts get bigger, firmer, etc. hypoplasia is usually accompanied by IGT which i dont have, but is pretty much too little cells or wasting away cells which causes breasts to be tubular in shape and have an empty sac appearance. there is nothing that can be done about IGT after your baby is born. that was hard to hear. i was actually lucky to be producing any milk, which many women dont with IGT. but no matter what i did, i would not be able to provide DS with enough breastmilk to grow properly. they told me i needed to start supplementing. i looked into donor milk, but was too freaked out about not knowing what these ladies put into their bodies, and how safely their milk was stored,etc. plus it seemed to be a huge hassle to obtain because there were way more moms asking for it than there were giving it. i decided on formula to supplement. the first time i had bought formula, i felt like everyone was judging me. i cried in the car for about half an hour before i could stop long enough to drive the 10 minutes back to my house. the first time i fed it to DS i cried inconsolably the entire time, and for about two hours afterwards. i felt like such a failure. i felt like i wasnt a woman. like my body had failed my son. i felt useless. its crazy because i never judged anyone for using formula for any reason other than myself. it was perfectly ok for others to use it, but for some reason i just fell apart because of it. DS slept so well the first time he had formula to top off his breastmilk. he was so content, he was like a whole different baby. at his weight check after we started the supplementing, he gained wonderfully. and we went to two more weight checks just to make sure, and again he was thriving. i completely broke down at his last weight check with the lactation consultant. even though DS was doing so well i still could not shake this heavy feeling of guilt that i couldnt provide for him from my body. i felt as if i was mourning a death. she was so supportive, and told me that she wished most of the women that she sees would just try half as hard as i did. that i did anything and everything i could, and that she was so proud of me. i was not at all concerned about how other women fed their babies. as long as they were fed, that is what is important. but i still hated myself. the first time i had to give DS a bottle in public, i was so ashamed. i felt as if i was being judged by everyone. i felt almost like i was doing something wrong. i know i was only judging myself. before i had DS if someone fed their LO formula in front of me i didnt even notice, or pay any attention to it, same thing with breastfeeding. but i felt as if everyone was thinking i was a bad mother for giving him formula. i was even starting to make peace with the situation, after seeing how happy DS is now, how much stress has been lifted off my shoulders by being able to have my husband share in his feedings. but then i was waiting at the pediatricians office for a checkup when i had to feed him some formula. i didnt even think about it for the first time while in public. this lady that was across from me asked me very loudly, and very rudely why i wasnt giving him breastmilk, and didnt i want him to have all the benefits of breastmilk, and that sacrificing time out of my day was so worth it for my baby. i lost it, and began yelling at this lady. i told her off in so many ways that i had a few people clapping. i know it was wrong of me, but i even had a few curse words slip out because i was so angry , and so upset. i feel horrible that there were so many children around. i was almost kicked out for blowing up like that too. if there were no children around, i may have even thrown punches at this lady i was that livid. after everything i was going through, how much pain i felt from the situation, when i am starting to accept it, she had to be so rude to me. it was none of her business. even if it was my choice, she should have kept her mouth shut. for some reason i keep encountering the same conversation with other moms about how i cant medically produce enough breastmilk. i give DS as much as i can, but i cant only feed him breastmilk. even after explaining the situation i still get suggestions that i have already tried. did they not hear me when i said medically impossible? why is there an idea that every woman is capable of breastfeeding? and that every woman should? how do people feel so comfortable pushing their opinions and judgement down my throat when it is my baby, my life, my family? i am a wonderful mother. i would give my life for my DS. i sacrifice anything i can to benefit him. i havent bought anything for myself since the second i found out i was pregnant.its all been about the baby. i gave up so many things that i loved, to protect him. i wouldnt and still wont even touch caffeine even though i was told it was fine in moderation. i wake up constantly when i dont even have to just to check on him. i will not hesitate to snarl at people who try to touch him without washing their hands first, just in case. the last few months of my pregnancy i had sciatica so severe that i was in a wheelchair unable to move my left leg out of a 90degree angle. i cried constantly from pain, and i have an extremely high tolerance for pain. i couldnt even sleep for longer than half an hour without waking up screaming and crying. i was offered pain medication but absolutely refused for fear of hurting my growing baby. i had to do physical therapy for three months. it hurt so bad, but i didnt want to risk hurting him. my point is that i am so devoted to my DS, how can anyone sit there and act like i am a bad mother for feeding him formula? i have never cared about what anyone thought about me. my whole life i really did not care, i loved myself, and anyone who didnt accept me wasnt about to be a part of my life. but when it comes to DS its so different. i have always had a huge soft spot for children. i would protect a child at all costs. they are innocent and defenseless. i am an adult, so i feel it is my obligation to protect those who can not protect themselves. when my parenting is questioned it feels so personal and almost as if i am being accused of child abuse. i hate child abusers more than anything in this world. they are one of the only groups of people in which i do not respect their right to live. so when people judge me so harshly for supplementing with formula, and i get that child abuser/bad mother accusation vibe, it makes me hate myself. IGT is apparently kind of rare, so i have no one to talk to about what im going through. i see so many hateful comments online about formula i get so offended and it makes me want to stop looking for support. i dont know what to do and i just really need to hear from women in similar situations.