Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Struggling

This is incredibly hard for me to admit to anyone but you, my mostly anonymous blog readers. I'm completely struggling with breastfeeding. During my pregnancy, I had feared a struggle, but I was much more afraid that my body would fail me and I would have supply issues or something like that. Instead, my struggle is almost entirely emotional. I feel trapped in my home, unable to go anywhere or do anything. I find I can't do anything I want to do because I'm the only one who can give the baby food. I resent my husband, too, who hasn't missed out on hot meals (whereas I've had maybe 5 hot meals since the baby was born), who can sleep through the night if I let him (and even if I don't want him to, he can fall asleep during the hour that it takes to feed the baby every 3 hours or so), who runs to get us dinner (I don't feel like I can leave the house). His freedom just makes me even more aware of my confinement. Add on top of that the fact that he is and will always be the "fun" parent and that I want him to have time with our daughter (and therefore he spends most of the baby's awake and non-feeding time with her) and I just feel like a big old milk machine, like that's my only purpose in life.

All that said, the lactation consultant said we should start offering a bottle at least once a week so the baby doesn't refuse the bottle when I return to work--and that makes me sad, too. Yes, it would be expressed breastmilk, but what if she decides she likes it better? We already have some latch problems (she fights the latch for about 10 attempts each time) and I'm afraid she'll resist even more once she realizes how easy a bottle is. And that would break my heart, too.

I'm a stubborn person. I don't want to take the easy way out (easy in my head--not supposed to be a criticism of formula feeding). I want to keep breastfeeding for a long time. I don't have a goal because I'm afraid if we need to stop before then I'll feel like a failure. But in the back of my head, I'd like to make it to a year so we never have to buy formula. We'll see. I know if I admitted my feelings to my mom, MIL, SIL, or most of the people in my life, they'd say if I'm feeling so trapped I should just stop breastfeeding. That's not what I want. I want to keep breastfeeding and just hope it gets better. DH has been wonderful and keeps reminding me why I'm doing this, but it's just very hard sometimes. I can honestly say I've cried at least once a day since she's been born--mostly because of my breastfeeding frustrations.

Beyond the breastfeeding struggles, I'm happy being a mommy. I love this little girl. I just long for the day when I become more than a milk factory to her.

8 comments:

Mandy said...

((HUGS))

I really feel for you. As jealous as I am that my body doesn't produce enough milk to solely BF, I completely understand that by mostly FFing, I've enjoyed some benefits (like an entire night of sleep) that you haven't.

I think you are doing an awesome job and you should be proud. I'm not going to tell you that you should give up because I want to slug people when they tell me that because I'm BFing only twice or so a day.

I know what you mean about the bottle fears. The boy did get worse at latching when we introduced the bottle, but that was weeks ago and he still takes the breast, so it doesn't totally kill the ability to latch. (The nipple shield helps, and you already have one, so you should be good.)

Finally, we'd love to come visit if you want some company, if that would help with you feeling trapped. Let us know! Sorry for the novel here!

ladybugDZ said...

I felt that same "trapped" feeling for awhile. But then I started going to a breastfeeding support group run through the hospital. I went once a week while on maturity leave. After the support group we would all go to lunch. It was really helpful to learn how to feed in public. After a couple times of that, I was totally comfortable doing it while walking, eating, shopping, etc. It really really helped with that trapped feeling. I was able to be out and about and feed at the same time.

Hang in there it's good that you are trying so hard. You are an excellent mommy and you are doing such a good job.

Em said...

I felt trapped too, and wish I'd gone to a BFing support group like Kenzie suggested just to get out and meet some other moms. After a little while, we started getting into a more predictable feeding schedule, and I would try to time one visit every few days to somewhere close like the grocery store or the library, just to get the heck out of the house and save my sanity.

We are weaning now (@8 mos), but sometimes I still feel resentful that DH gets more sleep and can do a bunch of other things while I'm "stuck" feeding the baby. I have loved BFing and spending time with DS, but sometimes it was just a little too much pressure and I wished that he would've offered more frequently to take over feedings (w/expressed BM) when he was home so I could get a break.

Hang in there, and know that you will eventually figure out what the best decision is for you and your family.

Andrea said...

I think the "trapped" feeling happens regardless of BF or FF. Because there's a great deal of self-induced commitment to being "on-call" because you're the mom. We feel it's our duty to be the primary care-giver. Hell I still feel like that somedays and Tyler is 2! You just need to take charge and venture out a couple hours a day. Go to a park, go to the mall, go somewhere and let people oogle over your beautiful baby.

Don't give up the breast, it's something you want badly. And Congrats for your commitment to that!

But I would consider offering the bottle at least at nights (Chris can feed) to at least allow you several hours of uninterrupted sleep. Which I think you are in desperate need of :)

(((HUGS))) girlie, hang in there. It will get easier. I promise :)

Danica said...

I have no momma advice but just wanted to send hugs. And you ARE more than a milk factory! You are a beautiful, wonderful mother who is caring for a darling little girl. Hang in there!

Mrs. Hammer said...

{{HUGS}} You are not just a milk factory. Your little girl is bonding with you in a way that DH will never be able to nor anyone else. Being held close to you every day, knowing that you give her satisfaction, calming effects, that her mommy is there for her all the time to meet her every need. That is a trust and bond like no other It's really hard in the begining because her tummy is so small but as she begins to grow in the next few weeks it will improve. If you are still having latch issues I might hold off on the bottle a bit longer than the LC is suggesting.

You might want to look into visiting a La Leche League group in the area for support and time out of the house. Their website is: http://www.lllohio.org/groups/columbus.html

crrv said...

For the first few weeks I remember chanting "it will get easier, it will get easier"
and you know what, it does. Hang in there, it will get easier.

Sarah Dee said...

***hugs***