Friday, January 2, 2009

Baby Feeding Update

As you may have noticed by my previous posts, we are on a different track with Ethan's feedings. In fact, we have just been on a different track this whole time, apparently! I really had a lot of expectations about this pregnancy and delivery, and things turned out very differently than I thought they would. During my pregnancy, I never got morning sickness, or gained a ton of weight, or got more emotional than usual (probably because I'm already so emotional!), or got major cravings, or ended up with stretch marks criss-crossing my abdomen, or anything like that... all the things I *thought* would happen, didn't. Then, towards the end, the things I never thought I'd have to go through happened-- the constant bleeding, the urgent visits to the Family Birthing Center, the emergency C-section, and then, after all that, my baby didn't seem to want to nurse. How could that happen? I was going to breastfeed my baby, no matter what! And then he was born, and just was not interested at all. In the hospital, it was actually getting scary for a few days there, because he was refusing to eat, and the nurses were adamant that I breastfeed-- even though he refused, and would end up very distressed, crying, red-faced, and shaking, every time we tried.

I had my own crying bout, because I was so sad and disappointed that it just wasn't working, and (silly though it might sound) really felt like I was just a failure as a mom so far. First, I couldn't give birth, and now I couldn't breastfeed. I felt like I was going to miss out on everything that "motherhood" means. Joel tried to stay positive, but ended up having to bluntly tell me to get over it, because my negativity wasn't helping things at all. And after a long, hot shower in the hospital room, I finally started to feel more at peace about the situation. Neither of us, in the end, cared about how he got fed-- as long as he was getting food and gaining weight and staying healthy. Whether or not it came from me was immaterial, as long as he was doing well. And that really helped me come to grips with the feelings I had about missing out on the labor/delivery process and breastfeeding; the bottom line was, our son was alive and well because we had a C-section instead of vaginal birth, and now he was going to be able to thrive because of bottles rather than breastfeeding. In the end, that's all that matters.

We did go through several different attempts to get him to breastfeed, but it just isn't working. Either he doesn't stay latched long enough to get the amount of milk he needs, or he stays on so long that he's actually burning more calories than he takes in-- causing him to lose weight. At this point, we are pumping, giving him milk in a bottle, then supplementing with formula as necessary, around 8-10 times a day. I'll keep pumping as long as I can, but I doubt I'll be doing it once I go back to work. I still wish I could just feed him directly without having to do this pump-bottle process, because that would be so much easier, but the cool thing about bottle-feeding is that Joel gets to connect with the baby during meal-time, too, not just me. Not to mention the fact that Joel also can get up by and go feed the baby whether I'm there (or awake!) or not. So there are benefits to bottle-feeding... and I'm sure one day I'll get over the fact that I didn't get to breastfeed. One day. /:)

No comments:

Post a Comment