The First Days of Motherhood, part two

Part One

I went to the nursery and scanned my detailed notes.

And by notes, I mean the chicken-scratch that is my tally marks on post-its of wet diapers and mustard-filled.

There are guidelines to follow when nursing, was I doing it right?

Those newborn diapers were so small, how could even tell if they were really wet. Was she drinking enough to produce enough output? Newborn breastfeeders poop like around the clock. That wasn't happening here.

Had my milk come in? What does that even mean?! I suddenly felt like a child. Helpless, incapable.

Something so important and supposedly natural, and private, and the bonding, the bonding would be so special... and....and....and....

Fail.

Stop the madness.

Hubby cracked open a supplementary bottle, that somehow appeared in our kitchen. Did the nurse bring it, did it come home in our bag of goodies?! Who knows. It was time.

My poor starved child inhaled the bottle like a champ.

A million emotions flooded me. Guilt being the main one.

Hubby was thrilled. Not only was the baby content, but he was involved. From the beginning Hubby was the husband and father you would dream of. Now, he would share feedings with me, be the equal partner that he wanted to be.

I saw this as a sign. An opportunity to sleep, but also a weight off my shoulders. I can do both. A little bonus formula will help me out until I can produce more milk.

Days would pass. I talked to friends. I should be feeling "full" if my milk was in. Heavy. Pain like you need to feed to relieve yourself. I had none of that. DQ still had the same latch, it seemed right, but we now had purchased cans of formula and were using them after each breastfeeding session.

Trying the pump one afternoon, I realized there was next to nothing coming out. Huh?!

Every two hours, was I doing nothing but providing a fleshy pacifier for my daughter?

I consulted a friend from our mom's group, a lactation consultant. I was offered sessions where she'd help, and was told to STOP the BOTTLE completely, it's too early and will cause nipple confusion.

My nipples and my brain were confused. Fabulous combo.

My head spun. My heart sank. This isn't working for me.

We decided to bottle feed exclusively.

At home, things began to smooth out. Sleeping for all of us increased. Taking turns worked itself out between Hubby and I. DQ was happy. Healthy. Growing.

It wasn't until I stepped out into public and realized what lied ahead.

.....Part 3.

40 supporters in group:

  1. WeaselMomma said...

    As a breastfeeding mom who always ran dry around 3-4 months, I found my babies were grateful to have a bottle because then they weren't perpetually hungry.

  2. Lindsay said...

    okay this is basically my experience with Sammy.. It is comforting to know others went through this. Thanks for writing this Jen!

  3. Susan said...

    Those days are so tough. I think, like labor, we try to forget just how very hard those first few weeks of not sleeping, trying to figure out breastfeeding and generally adjusting to a baby to care for really are. At least I do!

  4. Jill said...

    It's like reading my own diary 6 years ago...

    ... though I'd also have to add that at 10 days old, my mom, my daughter, and I went BACK to the hospital to meet with the La Leche League Ladies who attempted to help me and the baby get over our "issues".

    We tried for another week before I finally gave up and solely did the bottle thing.

  5. Midwest Mommy said...

    Oh I have a feeling I know where this is going. Everyone thinks it is everyone else's business how you feed your kid. I had huge guilt from other people when they learned I bottle fed BG so much so that I pumped exclusively for 11 months with LM. If this is where it is going...people can suck sometimes.

  6. Annie said...

    Good for you! Mom's know best and while I think we would all agree the wonderful benefits of nursing, a bottle fed kid is not inferior becuase of it. I attempted nursing. I didn't enjoy it or do it well. So, in the end I bottle fed my kids and they eat a pretty healthy food diet now. My good friend nursed for 15 months and now feeds her kids nuggets and hot dogs every day. Even Steven?
    Women should quit judging. The baby isn't being harmed by bottle feeding. That said, I do think everyone should try nursing & see if it works for them.

  7. Sarah said...

    You are so incredibly brave. I didn't have the same struggles you had out of the gate but it sure is sounding familiar for 6 months in. Thank you for sharing your journey.

  8. mamajoss said...

    Hah! - nipple/brain confusion is the worse :) Crack me up! Had the same problem with my son..and my daughter...I soooo tried, but had to go to the bottle.

    ...you are great writer...can't wait to read on...

  9. Tenakim said...

    Can't wait to hear the next part...

  10. Eudae-Mamia said...

    I think breastfeeding opinions need to be on the level of salary and religion.

    Your story sounds so much like mine.

    When I found myself crying out of sheer exhaustion and frustration after pumping 1/2 an ounce - I threw in the towel.

    And felt like a failure as I watched my sister-in-law breast feed twins. For a full year.

    Words cannot express how happy I am that we are past that stage!!

  11. Annie said...

    Yep!

    I linked to your posts on this. Oi, the memories.

  12. Krystyn said...

    I never understand why people feel the need to put their ideas and beliefs on you.

    Even if you never tried to BF, you are taking care of your kid and feeding them and providing for them.

    I've talked about my pumping endeavors, you I'm sure you know how much fun I have. I'm in a similar situation...not enough milk, but I've got some.

    And, I want to quit and give up...but I just can't.

  13. Merrie said...

    I dread the next post because I know what's coming. Is it wrong that I just want to go out and thump some of those people on the head?
    Hey, if you ever have a 4th, you know who will happily offer to nurse the next one, right?
    LOL!!

  14. Michelle said...

    Your experience seems quite similar to mine. Being a new mom I had no idea so many people had problems breastfeeding. I read up on it, met with a lactation consultant, it was just supposed to happen. After 2 weeks of trying to breastfeed, and pumping, I gave up. My husband said it was that or lose my sanity. He assured me B would do just fine on formula and having me sane was more important. I think he was right. Did you try to breastfeed with your other two? I would like to hope if I have another one I could breastfeed?

  15. Colleen - Mommy Always Wins said...

    God, I remember those days! You said it so well: "I suddenly felt like a child. Helpless, incapable."

    I remember feeling that way. The relief I felt the first time I decided I'd ignore those doctors and nurses and lactation consultants. My kids NEVER had nipple confusion. Those hungry buggers would eat ANYTHING we stuffed in their mouths! Boob, bottle, I swear if we'd have stuck the hub's boob in there they'd have gotten something out there, too.

    You need to make sure your baby's being fed, PERIOD. Then get some damn sleep!

  16. momto3angels said...

    I appraise breastfeeding mothers, but I was just selfish and bottle fed all of my babies. There's nothing wrong with either one.

  17. He And Me + 3 said...

    You are describing my first experience to a T...can't wait to read the rest.

  18. Just A Mom (Call me JAM for short) said...

    Oh I think I know what's ahead. But I'm coming back to read it anyway! Hahaha!

    Stop by if you get a chance, I'm taking a survey...

  19. Eyeglasses & Endzones said...

    I just read both posts since I missed day 1 and I think that it is great! Really good post!!! And I bottle fed because I was unable to breast feed...big issues in the mommy world!

  20. AJ said...

    I went through a similar situation. I had no trouble breastfeeding my daughter, but my 9 lb, 2 week early son was another story. I couldn't keep up, so I supplemented...and it was so much faster and easier, and he was full, and I could sleep.....and after he nurse for 90 minutes of every 2 hours, I couldn't do anymore.

    Then my doctor put me back on birth control and said I'd be fine and wouldn't dry up. I was doing about half and half at this point. She was wrong, and I did dry up. And I felt SO guilty. But in the end, he was fine, and I did what was best for his hungry little self.

    But you feel so guilty, which is ridiculous, b/c that's why formula was invented right? And that's why researchers work so hard to make it as nutritious as possible right? Such a head game!

  21. Elaine A. said...

    All I gotta say is "been there, done that" to both of these posts. You are not alone. At. All.

  22. therextras said...

    Mom Jenn, that is almost verbatim the story of breastfeeding my first child!

    A much different story with my second. .....to be continued. hehe.

    Barbara

  23. therextras said...

    Mom Jenn, that is almost verbatim the story of breastfeeding my first child!

    A much different story with my second. .....to be continued. hehe.

    Barbara

  24. Hannah Noel said...

    So in other words, when I eventually have kids, I should just let the chips fall where they may? lol. Man. You deserve chocolate.

  25. Lisa said...

    Just wrote about all the craziness of bringing home a new one the other day. I'm fortunate that nursing was easy for me, but sleep? Not. So. Much. And because my baby never slept, I felt like I must be doing 1,000 different things wrong. Oh the stresses we put on ourselves!

  26. Jamie said...

    Great post!

  27. Momma@Live. Laugh. Pull your hair out said...

    I am a breastfeeding failure. All 3 of my kids never got full and I supplemented from birth.

    I regret not trying harder....but am happy that once they had a bottle, life began to get in some sort of routine

  28. jennykate77 said...

    I had a very similiar experience. Man, you forget how taxing those first few weeks are until you look back and remember all the things you went through, huh?

    Hope you're having a wonderful Wednesday!

  29. Swirl Girl said...

    screw those who are so self superior that they make you feel guilty for bottle feeding!

    I did it , proudly and loudly.
    In fact, I posted a "No Leche League" sign on my hospital room door.

  30. Life with Kaishon said...

    I never knew it was such a big deal. I can't wait to hear the next part of the story. I think whatever works for you is just perfect.

  31. Jenni Jiggety said...

    Oh I hope nobody gave you a hard time, Jen...

  32. A Crafty Mom said...

    Uh oh, I don't think I want to know what happened. This story is all too common, and it scares me sometimes how cruel moms can be to other moms. (((HUGS)))

  33. Mrs4444 said...

    This series is written beautifully, and your vulnerability at that time is clear. Well done.

  34. ciara said...

    my son never took to the breast so i had to bottle feed...mini-me did, but because i had to go back to work i stopped and bottle fed. i decided just to bottle feed miss la-di-da-di and skip breast feeding. it's a personal choice and one people shouldn't be made to feel guilty over. i already have this feeling that the story is going to get bad :(

  35. Shannon said...

    Same thing with me and my firstborn. I had wanted to breastfeed... after all, "breast is best! breast is best!" is all I read or heard.

    But my milk never came in. And I felt so bad... I was a failure at being a mom, since I couldn't even produce milk for my baby (post-partum depression probably also played into those feelings of failure!)

    Then I had to take my daughter to the pediatrician when she was 5 or 6 days old... and when she asked how the feeding was going... well, I lost it and it all came blubbering out. We had a heart-to-heart... and I realized I had to do what was right for me and my baby. We started formula that night... and never looked back.

    Whew, didn't mean for this comment to be so long!

  36. Messy Mommy said...

    AHHHHHHHHHH! The suspense is killing me!!!!!!

  37. Melissa said...

    I don't think I ever felt 'guilt' until I had my first child. And now with my second, a strong willed, independent little lovey, I have learned that it doesn't matter what others think or say. I will do it our way ~ I love your writing. Thanks for sharing your stories.

  38. Sapphire said...

    Can't wait to read the rest....

  39. Amy Amy Bo Bamey said...

    I felt like a failure and felt guilty with my first child too.

    I can't wait for part 3, I love the way you are writing this. I really hope it ends well. Too many people judge these days......Ugh

  40. Messy Mommy said...

    So I'm incredibly disappointed because I'm fasting the Internet for 10 days starting tomorrow, which means I will not be able to finish the story until the 6th! Pooey. See ya then!

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