Thursday, June 5, 2008

Spoke too soon

Either my boobs are exceptionally sensitive or I just haven't been breastfeeding right for the past six months.

At the advice of my lactation consultant, I returned to feeding on one side when it healed a few days ago. Sure, it made it harder -- warming up half a bottle, feeding the bottle, breastfeeding on one side, pumping the other side and washing all the parts -- but it seemed like the right move at the time.

Now, a mere six to eight feedings later, I have developed an open gash on that side again and it feels like someone took a razor to my nipple. The other side is healing. Sort of. It's a deep wound that I'm sure will end up looking like a permanent dent in my skin once the scab falls off, but at least it's sort of numb at this point. Or maybe I'm just desensitized to it.

For the first time through all of this, I'm considering the idea of switching to formula. Once I've healed on both sides, which now could be another two weeks, I plan on contacting my consultant again and asking to visit with her so she can watch what we're doing.

It's requiring all of my patience and effort to stay optimistic at this point, but there's a small part of me that still thinks it's going to pay off.

19 comments:

Melinda said...

You are doing a fantastic job, and you are a wonderful mother! This might be the point you may want to consider switching to formula. My siblings and I began eating little baby flakes along with breastmilk by two and three months, actually, and then were using formula by five months. So I'd say you have held in there for an amazingly long time - and mamas deserve to enjoy feeding their babies.

Best wishes dealing with these issues -

Anonymous said...

If it doesnt bother you to pump you could do that exclusively for milk feedings and just use formula for cereals...just a thought...

Anonymous said...

Aww hang in there! That sounds really painful.. =( Don't beat yourself up if you decide to switch to formula, you did really well BF her for this long!! Most people don't make it that long...Well good luck!

Jennifer said...

That has to be maddening. My youngest daughter teethed early, her first tooth came out at 4 months old. I breastfed her until she was 8 months old and by the time I was done she had 80% of her baby teeth in. Not once did I have the problem you are having with any of her teeth rubbing on my skin. My biggest issue would be when she would actually bite down... which after a few yelps and strong NOs! it hardly ever became an issue.

I can't help but to wonder if her latch might off a little. Maybe you never noticed because it worked out for you guys... but with a correct latch position her teeth shouldn't be able to rub like that.

Now don't get me wrong... I certainly don't think you have done anything wrong. Allison is healthy and happy and so what if her latch isn't 100% textbook. It worked and that's what mattered. The issue now is YOU and sweetie, as hard as it is to stop breastfeeding... you can't beat yourself up over it if you decide to do it. Breastfeeding is supposed to be such a wonderful experience... something to bring health to the baby and joy to the mother. If you aren't enjoying it... then you know what? Its OK to stop. Listen to me because I know as a mother, sometimes we need someone to say its OK. I promise you that it is.

When I stopped breastfeeding at 8 months I cried. Kayla took her first full bottle of formula with no objection. I was devistated that she had so easily turned to the dark side. It used to be my job to nurse her to sleep each night. When I stopped breastfeeding, my husband had to take over the duty for a few months because Kayla would want to nurse and would become angry that I wasn't letting her. Having Daddy put her to bed was easier on her... but again, I cried over it.

But then.... after about a week of crying over the whole thing I began to realize how much more freedom I had. I could have a glass of wine, or two, or three, with my dinner if I so desired. I could go out shopping without leaking. My boobs slowly went back to normal (read small) but I was no longer having trouble with being engorged. I wasn't chained to the pump at work or at home.

You spent 9 (ok technically 10) months pregnant with her. Then you spent 6+ (almost 7 right?) months breastfeeding her. When you stop and think about it... its SIXTEEN months since you had your body back. For 16 months straight you have given every bit of yourself... and wow that says so much. THAT is something to be proud of.

I know my comment is waaaay too long, but as a fellow breastfeeding mom I know what its like to get to the crossroads of continuing to breastfeed or switching to formula. Unless someone has breastfeed their child, they don't understand how much we mothers torment ourselves and abuse ourselves over switching to formula. I understand. You aren't alone in how you feel.

Regardless of what you choose I just want you to know I'm so proud of all you did and I hope you are proud of yourself too. Switching to formula does not make you a bad mom or a failure or anything like that. You did AWESOME!

www.JenniferSuarez.com

Kathleen said...

It's ok. Formula is not evil.

Traci said...

That sounds so bad! I wouldn't wait two weeks to talk to my consultant...I think I'd be hunting someone down NOW! Good luck, I completely understand wanting to switch to formula. I LOVE breastfeeding but I don't think I could've endured this. Good luck, girly.

wissh said...

Alli has already shown you how smart she is by responding to stimuli you and Jerry provide. She "gets" it and has let you know she gets it. There's no reason for you to be her teething ring. When she bites, say, NO! and immediately stick a finger in her mouth to break suction. If you haven't tried this yet, give it a shot, you may be amazed at how quickly she figures out what the problem is. It worked for me with each of three kids who were nursed 15, 19 and 22 months.
Lastly, please don't beat yourself up if you decide this is the time to switch. You gave her an excellent start, now give someone else a turn to feed her! =)
Good luck!

Karen said...

Hi, have you tried rubbing a little bit of your milk into the nipples afterwards as milk has healing properties. I was also told to try and keep them soft and supple at all times by using a nipple cream (I use Lansinoh in the Uk). The problems start when the skin crusts over and then when the baby feeds it cracks again and gets incredibly sore and could even get infected.

I know mums that just feed expressed milk it's whatever suits you. You have done really well up to now but you need to look after you as a happy mum equals a happy baby.

My little girl, Catrin, went through a phase of using her top teeth to gnaw and made a right mess of my nipples but a few weeks later they are all healed and ok again.

Hope you heal up soon and remember to do what is best for you.

Karen x

Kristin said...

you seem to have some really strong determination that I'm quite jealous of.

-KrIsTiN-

Rachel said...

As a wise mother once told me: "Good grief, it's just formula! Not arsenic!" Good luck, do what is best for you both!

Kriston said...

Lots of positive thoughts coming your way...and prayers too. It's not just mechanics...it's emotional...or at least it was for me.
I'm sorry you got hurt.

Marcy said...

Whatever you end up doing, just remember that you have already done a wonderful thing for her by breastfeeding her for this long. And at the same time, the things you and Jerry do, the attention you pay her and the love you give her, also do way more for her and her growth and well-being than the difference between breastmilk and formula.

We just found out our little one appears to have a dairy allergy. Which means I can't have anything that comes from a cow. Did I mention we live in Switzerland, the Land of Fabulously Yummy Dairy Products? That alone almost makes me want to switch to formula. Except we'd have to get a prescription for special stuff, again b/c of the cow thing. =(

S said...

yeah I think you are amazing. I wish I could have done it as long as you did before switching to formula. But either way you are doing the right thing. Feeding your child :)

Don't worry, be happy! :)

Ray said...

Well, I hope you find out a solution soon with your consultant.

Take, care.

Anonymous said...

Good luck. And if you switch to formula no one is going to think any less of you, that includes your beautiful bub.

Kelly said...

Thank you Jennifer.

It's so nice to know someone else out there gets it. I know it's a seemingly insignificant thing, but I'll be completely devistated if I have to stop now. I feel like I've come so far -- I want to stop on my own terms. And I know Allison misses it, like you said with your daughter. She gets angry and frustrated and it breaks my heart.

kelly said...

And thank you to everyone else offering words of encouragement. I need every bit of it right now.

Marsha said...

You poor thing. I am proud though of your determination. Good luck!! (I agree with everyone else, formula isn't evil, buti fyou feel like hanging in, go for it...and break the latch immediately if she bites, for months I nursed with a pinkie at the ready!)

Anonymous said...

I had that happen once with baby number two I breast fed. I spent a week with my finger inserted in baby's mouth over the sore spot. Incidentally I had not been making the baby latch on fully, not getting enough of the nipple in his mouth. The baby learned to suckle around my finger and after that latched on better. It happened early on as he got his teeth at three months!