Thursday, March 15, 2012

Just gotta get it out.

I promise I will give a full update in the next few days but there is something I just have to get out of my system.

Let me start by saying that I am a strong believer in breastfeeding. When I first began my journey into parenthood it was never even a question as to whether I would breastfeed or bottle feed.

Enter Elisa and her prematurity. Ok, so I couldn't breastfeed to start but I could still provide it for her by pumping. So I did. Even through supply issues, exhausting nights and long days at the NICU. Got her home and went finally I can stop pumping! Wrong. Weight gain and required intake levels forced me to go back to pumping and supplementing. And then we seemed to have a milk allergy and there went any hope at continuing. Elisa was 5 months old. One month shy of my 6 months goal.

Enter Aidan. Here's my "do-over" right? My term baby. No pumping needed. Simply put to breast, eat for 30 minutes and put back down, right? Nope. 2.5 months of keeping telling myself tomorrow will be better. Or when he reaches "x" age it will get better. Or just get through this growth spurt and it will get better. I will get my life back and I will be able to enjoy my son and daughter and life again. I will be able to get off this couch. And take a shower. And sleep. And clean. And play with Elisa. And eat without a child attached to my boob. And go to the bathroom without interrupting a starving child who had already been eating for 2 hours, therefore getting a stress inducing scream for the three blessed seconds I needed to pee!

Everything I was told through many different sources said this was normal. Normal. Meaning I just had to deal with it. Just one day at a time. Tomorrow will be better.

So I began to try pumping. And surprise! My supply kept up with him, I've been able to store about 6 extra oz a day and freeze and I'm getting rather consistently 2-3 hours between feeds.

So what's the problem? I'm exhausted. Killing myself to get everything arranged so that I can take those 20 minutes I need every three hours to pump. Getting up once over night to pump and feed Aidan.

I don't know what to do. I know by doing this I'm doing my best by him and even the added benefits to me such as reduced risk of breast cancer. But I want to stop. I just want to be able to feed him and move on with my day. 75% of me wants to quit. 25% won't let me. I'm halfway to that 6 month mark.

I think what bothers me really, and what keeps me from stopping, is that I don't want to stop because it's causing problems for him, but because I just can't take it. I know so many women who are doing this and for much longer than I have, so why is this beyond me? Why is this so hard? Is who I am just fundamentally incapable of dealing with the randomness, unorganized, not knowing what to expect from moment to moment when I sit down to feed him?

I struggled just as much with this when I was breastfeeding Elisa, so I'm pretty sure it's me. I thought with her it was a throw back to portion control from the NICU, but nope. I just can't handle what "is" breastfeeding.

Whoever said breastfeeding was easier than bottle/formula...ha! Right. More convenient. Cheaper. But not easier. Easier to me is 30 min from start to finish of a feeding session that allows me to move on to the next thing and gives me 2.5-3 hours until I have to do it all over again.

I am exponentially happier pumping, but still not as happy as I know I would be if I just quit altogether. How do I know? I remember well the sense of relief and how much more free I felt when she was diagnosed with that milk allergy that "allowed" me to quit. It gave me the excuse that said "it's not me, it's her."

There is no resolution to this post, because there is no resolution to what I will do. Maybe tomorrow I'll feel better. Maybe I won't. Maybe I need someone to take the decision from me. For someone who is incredibly decisive (just ask coworkers who marvel at my ability to open a menu and two minutes later know exactly what I want to eat lol.) this is unusual.


kryss said...

You could always compromise by only breast feeding every other feeding... Aiden would still be getting all the benefits of breast feeding but also get the benefit of having a more relaxed happy mom... which is important for both of you.

Anonymous said...

Don't beat yourself up! You have to do what is best for both you and the baby. I know you are a WONDERFUL mother whether or not you breast feed. It's drives me crazy that our society can make us feel like bad mothers if we choose not breastfeed. Just don't feel like you are alone! You don't have to justify yourself to anyone either.