Thursday, October 19, 2006

Falling apart

I'm not doing so well here. I need to get all of this out.

Eleanor recovered from her nursing strike. I figured out that for whatever reason, she didn't want to lie on her left side in order to nurse on the right. I brought her to the ped, but no ear infection; she was just being picky. She's back to nursing normally, but now we have the opposite problem - all of a sudden, at three months, she's refusing the bottle. She took it fine from the time she was 3 weeks old - she'd even take it from me. Now all of a sudden when you put it in her mouth, she just sits there, then cries if you try again. We've tried breast milk, we even tried formula. We tried bottles and nipples from Medela, Dr. Brown's, Evenflo, and Nuk. We tried Andy giving her the bottle and we tried me giving it to her. Nothing works.

This is a big problem. I have not been away from her for more than two hours since she was born, and it was only two hours on two occasions, and on both of them it was just me, not Andy (he stayed with her). I am going crazy. I need to get out. Things have been better since I joined Gymboree and met some nice-enough women - we even went to a Reel Moms matinee this week, which was fun. But I need some non-baby time. We have a wedding coming up in a few weeks and my mom was going to watch Eleanor (not overnight, we were going to stay with my mom too, but we'll be gone from 3 pm - 12 amish. Now if the baby won't eat, I don't know what I'll do.

All of the information I can find online says that maybe she'll take a sippy cup, but a baby can't get a lot of milk from a cup at this age. And that's a problem because...well...please don't flame me but...I want to stop breastfeeding in the next few months.

I don't mind the actual physical act of breastfeeding - it's fine, although I don't get the whole magical mystical bonding experience from it that people go on and on about. It's just feeding her, plain and simple. But I hate so many things that go along with it. I hate being the default middle-of-the-night parent. I hate not being able to go anywhere without the baby. I hate that none of my shirts fit. I hate strapping myself into industrial bras even to sleep. And most of all I hate the breastfeeding information I find online. It's almost all of the breastfeeding as religion/lifestyle type, the kind of information that cheerfully advises me that no, my breastfed baby will never sleep through the night, and that's as it should be, and I really should give in and let her sleep in the bed with me, and why should I mind not being away from her when I can just wear her in a hand-sewn organic hemp sling 24 hours a day? All of this does not make me feel better. It makes me feel worse, much much worse. I think of spending the next year waking up multiple times a night to nurse, and never going anywhere alone or with just my husband, and I feel this uncontrollable panic.

And the worst is the guilt. How can I feel this way after what I've been through? Why should I WANT to get away from this baby we waited for for so long? What's wrong with me? Why should I not want to nurse her til she's 20 to make sure she's as healthy as possible? Maybe Joseph is better off, not having to be parented by me. Maybe I should have taken what happened as a sign that I wasn't meant to be a mother.

I still see the therapist that I've been seeing all along, but she's no help at all. Honestly, I don't see why one needs a social worker license to sit there and tell me, "Well, you're going through a lot of hormonal changes. You'll be fine." Shit, I could tell myself that for free. And I can't talk to Andy because we end up fighting; he accuses me of LIKING or NEEDING to worry, and of making everyone around me (read: him) suffer because of it.

I just don't know what to do.

11 Comments:

At Thursday, October 19, 2006 12:40:00 PM, Blogger delphi said...

As much as I am hoping to breastfeed and enjoy it, I sure as hell don't think that it is the only way to feed a baby. My husband never had a drop of breastmilk pass his lips, and as far as I can tell, he is as normal and as healthy as anyone else I know.

I certainly don't think you are a bad mother. It is easy for other people to sit back and tell you what to do - they aren't the ones that have to do it. And I don't understand why there is this one-size-fits-all picture of motherhood out there. I think that you should have the right to live how it works best for you.

Just my $0.02.

 
At Thursday, October 19, 2006 1:27:00 PM, Blogger Catherine said...

I could have written this post after I had Sam. It describes exactly how I felt. So let me say a few things...and I hope you take them in the gentle manner in which I intend them and not as a condemnation of you or your choices.

First...stop being so hard on yourself. Joseph's death was not a sign...and I hope you know that.

Second...you WILL be ok. You may need some help (or need to make some changes) getting there, but you will be ok.

Third...I hated breastfeeding. But now I wish I had slowed myself down and really spent some time doing it...concentrated on the positive instead of how much I didn't want to be sitting there in that moment. But it's too late for my wishes to come true (and it's not looking like I'll get another chance), and that makes me immeasurably sad. I'm not saying you should stick with it if you hate it...just realize that in the long run you have to live with the decision that you make.

Fourth (and sort of related to #3)...your baby will only truly need you for a very brief amount of time (in the grand scheme of life). Try not to think so far down the road...think about THIS moment...enjoy THIS time together. It sounds so Hallmark, but it is true...you only get this time once.

Fifth (and sort of related to #3 & #4)...if breastfeeding doesn't work for you...stop doing it. You owe it to yourself and your family to be the best you that you can be. That means finding what works for YOU and yours...not everybody else in the world. As soon as they move in with you and become a part of your family, they will have an opinion that counts. Until then, what they have to say is just unnecessary noise.

Lastly...keep trying different nipples. Not just different brands, but different sizes. Maybe she's ready for a size 2 already (a faster flow). I know it sounds weird, but think of the mechanics of your boobs and look for nipples that most closely resemble them. I hear Avent works well for picky nursers. We used Dr. Browns, but had to use Stage 2 (medium flow). I also hear that Playtex has a new nipple out that is supposed to work really well.

You're not alone. And you WILL make it through. Don't be so hard on yourself. Like Delphi said...motherhood isn't one-size-fits-all.

{{{hugs}}}

 
At Thursday, October 19, 2006 10:50:00 PM, Blogger lauralu said...

oh, i wish i had some answers for you. milo is on a bit of a bottle strike (he gets about 1/3 of his feedings from a bottle), but he is truly sick and in need of the comfort, i suppose, although i'm panicking a bit because i go back to work monday. my gut feeling is that if the bottle is the only option she has, she'll eventually give in to it, but i know it's easier for me to say than for you to do when she's crying.

 
At Friday, October 20, 2006 2:30:00 PM, Blogger Cheek said...

This is the time when I started to go 'round the bend as well, because I kept thinking, "I should be better at this now, this should be getting easier, why is this still so hard?"

Forget all that "should" stuff - forget all that organic hemp sling crap if it doesn't work for you. Try not to put so much pressure on yourself - my heart is breaking reading some of the things you say about Joseph. You are doing a great job with Eleanor and if you had had more time with Joseph, he would have blossomed under your love.

All you can do is love her the best way you know how - I know it seems like you will be doing this forever, like things will never change and it will always be this hard. Every time somebody told me that "this time goes by so fast", I wanted to punch that person in the face. Now, I have become all that I used to despise as I tell you, this time will not last. She will change every day and in the blink of an eye she will no longer be the little baby. You will guide her, you will help her the best way you know how, she will feed, she will sleep, and it will be OK.

It is OK for this to be hard - no matter what happened in the past to get you to this point. It is OK for you to say that this is hard, for you to need some time for yourself to recharge or some couple time to reconnect. Being gentle with yourself will only improve your outlook as a parent.

There's a newer brand of bottle called Born Free that has a uniquely-shaped nipple - if you have a Whole Foods near you, they sell them.

You are a great mom and you are doing a wonderful job.

 
At Friday, October 20, 2006 4:46:00 PM, Blogger Mrs.X said...

Give yourself a break! Who ever said that being a mom was all rosy, happy, greatest moments ever kind of crazy? Yeah, sure it's great but there are moments where it's... not so great.
There is nothing wrong with stopping breastfeeding either. Especially when it's just not working for you, when it's causing you more stress and anxiety. Vent all you need too.

 
At Sunday, October 22, 2006 8:54:00 PM, Blogger vixanne wigg said...

Oh man. Oh man oh man. You are not a crappy mom because you need to get away from your baby once in a while. When we lost Charlie I was all like...whatever...those moms who have babysitters...what...they don't treasure their kids...what sucky selfish women...blah blah blah. And then I had Gideon. And I was like SOMEONE TAKE HIM PLEASE...you know...just FOR A LITTLE WHILE!!!!!

I have a babysitter 2 days a week for 4 hours each and oh boy do I look forward to those days!!!! Because it's all so nonstop. If you can get a break, it is good to take one.

About breastfeeding. Well, I hated it. But you know...we had problems. But even without the problems it made me feel suffocated and panicky. So, obviously I think you can be a good mom and not breastfeed. But it's kind of like...if it's important to you, you should do it...but don't do it out of outside guilt.

As for advice, have you tried the wide neck nipples like Avent or Playtex disposables? Especially the silicone kind? They are more "nipple" like.

Other than that, I really don't know. My friend had this same problem. She really wanted to quit and her baby refused to take a bottle. :(

Hugs! It will get better!

 
At Tuesday, October 24, 2006 12:07:00 AM, Blogger BethGo said...

The exact same thing happened with my baby only he refused the bottle at two months of age. I have no advice for you really. I just want you to know that you are not alone and it does get better eventually.

 
At Friday, October 27, 2006 6:04:00 PM, Blogger DEMummie said...

I am right there with you on the breastfeeding thing. I wanted to BF my twins, then had nothing but problems with it..... so I ended up pumping and feeding EBM for TWINS. Every LC I talked to made me feel guilty for wanting to stop. I should also mention that I had horrible pain and was pumping "strawberry milkshakes" by the end. It took my OB to look me right in the eye and say, "You are more than a set of breasts to these babies. The best feeding method is the one that makes YOU sane."
If you want to stop, stop. Don't let anyone guilt you into doing what you aren't comfortable doing.
Stay with it with the offering the bottle. She'll take it again.
HTH
K

 
At Wednesday, November 01, 2006 11:21:00 PM, Blogger Julian's Mom said...

To be honest with you, giving up breastfeeding was the best choice I ever made for me and for Natalie, and for my relationship with my husband. The problems with it were driving us all crazy, and now they aren't, and Natalie is thriving and healthy, and that's all that matters. I don't care what anyone says. I used to believe that I had to breastfeed to be a good mother, and that was the experience I wanted to have. I was devastated that I couldn't do it. But get Natalie in a room full of breastfed babies, and she's the happiest baby in the room. I know I'm biased, but I just wanted to say that I agree with you and I got really annoyed with all the propaganda against mothers who can't or don't breastfeed. Smart babies have smart moms, regardless of what they are fed. I truly believe that. I know plenty of kids who are always sick and not very bright who were fed formula and some who were fed breastmilk. Do what works for you and your baby, and forget about the guilt. Once you experience the upside of formula feeding, you will forget all about the naysayers. Bfing doesn't work for every mom and it doesn't work for every baby. There's a lot more that goes into it, as you've realized, than just your pure will to do it, so screw anyone who tries to say or make you feel otherwise.

 
At Thursday, November 02, 2006 5:24:00 PM, Blogger Jay said...

You know what your baby needs most in the whole wide world? A healthy, happy mother. There is nothing more important to your baby than that, so you need to remember that. It's to the benefit of your baby if you take some me time. You deserve to be happy and relaxed, and in the end, that's what makes you the good mother you are. No one needs this stress. You and you alone know what's best for you and your baby. If you feel like you need to stop, then go ahead and do it.

And just so you know, a therapist that you don't like and trust will not help you. At all. If you want someone to bounce ideas off of, you can drop me an email or IM me.

 
At Saturday, December 09, 2006 2:44:00 PM, Blogger Tiffany said...

Dont ever feel guilty,your the mommy and you will do what you feel is best for your child. With my first I nursed for a year with my second for some reason it wasnt the same and I couldnt connect to it and now at 5 months she is on the bottle and loving it. Dont despair mommy always knows best

 

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