Saturday, November 14, 2009

I HAD a plan...

Napping with daddy
Originally uploaded by Saunch09

I'm learning quickly that when it comes to being a parent, planning is hit or miss. I planned a natural birth and Benjamin's breech position made that close to impossible so I had a C-section. I planned on spending the first few weeks with my new baby naked, laying around just sleeping and nursing and staring at his incredible face, hands, feet, head, ears, belly..and on and on. Our lives so far have been filled with lactation consultant appointments, chiropractor appointments and the latest, dysphagia clinic appointments. Don't get me wrong, I am SO thankful to live in an area with so many resources and to have access to all of this help. The therapist at the dysphasia clinic and our LC have great hope for Benjamin and I and our nursing relationship. I have faith in them, him and myself.
Over the last week I have come to realize some things. I don't need to feed Benjamin breast milk for him to be a happy, healthy, thriving baby. I can feed him formula and he can still be all of those things and more! I spent a few days thinking that I would be what they call an "exclusive pumper" or "EP", someone who spends a lot of time pumping milk so that they can provide their child/children with breast milk when nursing isn't in the cards for them, for whatever reason. Our little family found out quickly that this is not the path we need to be on. I realized some things while hooked up to that breast pump 7-8 times a day, sometimes for an hour! 1. I can't hold my son. Even with the latest flanges that enable you to turn the bottles to the side, holding him while pumping is still awkward and near impossible when it comes to both of our comfort. 2. I was having to pump every time he ate to keep up a good milk supply. This meant that Thom had to be involved in EVERY feeding and putting the baby back to sleep afterward. Sometimes, Benjamin just wants Mommy and I know that cry. I can't bear being hooked up to that cold pumping machine when I know in my heart I should instead be attached to my warm son who needs and wants me. When I put on the Moby wrap and put him in it, he makes these sweet little cooing sounds and falls quickly asleep. When I have to put him in the swing so I can pump, he grunts and whimpers. More about that makes his cheeks SO cold. I hate when I take him out of it and his face feels like ice. His face should be against my chest, warm and cozy. 3. My body is sore. The last time we went to the LC was last Monday. She had me see if Benjamin could latch on correctly. He did not, but she still encouraged me to nurse him for almost an hour. We thought sometimes it was right, but most of the time not. This one hour session destroyed the integrity of my skin AGAIN. I am only now starting to be able to even touch my nipples with any kind of material. I've had to apply neosporin and aquafor to help them heal. Hooking myself up to a breast pump for 5 hours a day has been detrimental to my healing. 4. Formula is NOT poison. I say this to myself mostly because whenever I think about giving Benjamin that first bottle of milk that hasn't come from me, I panic. Will it make him have gas or be constipated? Will he have an allergic reaction? Will he get ear infections? Will he forget to nurse on the breast and I'll have to give it up for good? I met a woman at a La Leche meeting who has helped me to realize that I can be the same loving, caring, devoted mother and feed my baby formula. That he can still be smart and not sick and thrive! I was SO glad that I went to that meeting and that she reached out to me and changed my mind about formula and bottle feeding. I can also thank my wonderful friend Sharon for her advice about formula. Sometimes I can get so close minded about things until I'm faced with a situation that makes me look in the other direction.
Currently..MY PLAN..(there I go again) is to pump whenever I feel uncomfortable so that I can keep some kind of milk supply so that if Benjamin does improve his suck through therapy we can go back to nursing. I also need to pump so that I don't get plugged ducts or mastitis. I will not pump if my baby needs me. I will not pump if it hurts. I will not pump because I think breast milk is the only way to feed my baby safely.
Breast-feeding to me is having my son acquire milk straight from my breast. I WANT to breast-feed. I do not want to be attached to a pump and miss out on bonding the way I wish to with my new baby. If breast-feeding doesn't work out for us I will cherish all of the other wonderful things about being a mother, they are innumerable.


  1. I'm SO happy to hear that you're figuring that out and starting to relax a bit. Perhaps now that the preasure is off somewhat and you have some perspective on the whole thing, you and Benjimin will have an easier time on the next try.

    Wishing you the best!


  2. Thank you Adam. It's nice to know that I have so many people on my side.

  3. We are lucky to live in an age when there are alternatives to breast milk that, as you've learned, are *not* poison. I think its easy to get carried away with our ideas of the ideal situation and forget that, for a lot of people, the ideal just isn't possible. You are going to be the best possible mom because you want to do what's best for your son, not merely what's easiest and most convenient for you. Keep up the good work.

  4. Thanks Amber. I'm glad I also have the medical community on my side. ;-)