I really don't like breastfeeding. It is probably one of my least favorite things about having a baby. That and the horrible afterpains and the seemingly endless postpartum bleeding. But breastfeeding is my nemesis when it comes to babies. I just can't seem to do it and eventually I give up entirely and just switch to formula.
I know, it's not the worst thing in the world to formula feed your baby. And I shouldn't care what other people think about my choosing not to breastfeed. It's not like I didn't try, because I always do.
In fact, while I was pregnant with this baby, I was seriously considering just skipping it altogether because I know how hard it is for me.
I can't ever get the baby latched on right without help from a lactation consultant. And even then, it takes a good 4-5 days before my milk comes in, so I have a very hungry baby for quite a few days. And then, because my milk takes so long to come in, I always, ALWAYS, end up with a baby with jaundice, so there's the extra doctor's appointments for heel pricks and weighing in because they always lose so much weight at first. And then there's the tedious moments where I'm waiting all day for the baby to poop out the bilirubin. And I have to stop and think, should I just throw in the towel and start the bottle?
I decided to try anyway because I'm not dumb and I know that breastmilk is best for baby. Still, I'm having a very hard time with it.
This time around, I can't seem to get him latched on right at all. It hurts like crazy every single time I nurse on either side the ENTIRE time he's eating. That's right, twice every one to two hours for fifteen minutes each time I am in severe pain. Let's see, since he's been eating every one to two hours and nurses for about fifteen minutes on each side and he does this ALL day long, that's THREE HOURS of excruciating pain.
I've checked his lips. They're flanged out like they're supposed to be. I've checked how much he has in his mouth and how wide his mouth is open and all of it looks right to me, so I can't figure out why I am in so much pain. He also never seems satisfied and sometimes, I'll nurse him twice from each side before he's finally done. And then I still feel like my breasts are full.
But I don't know who to ask for help either. I should have sought help from the lactation consultant before I left the hospital because I could already tell I was having problems. But she only came by my room once and he happened to be off to the nursery for a blood test to check his sugar level at that time.
At any rate, I feel like a complete failure when it comes to breastfeeding. With my first, he was premature and stayed in the NICU for two weeks, during which, I pumped every three hours day and night. He couldn't suck, so he was fed through a tube in his nose and I would come in every six hours and put him to the breast while he was being fed through the nose. When he came home, I managed to continue the breastfeeding for nearly three more months, but it was so tiring and demanding that I finally caved and weaned him to a bottle. Fortunately, I had a HUGE supply of frozen milk from that hospital stay, so he continued to be fed breastmilk mixed with formula for about three more weeks after that. My second baby I nursed exclusively for two months (two very long miserable months) and then gave up after two more months of nursing alternating with bottles. My third baby lasted about four months as well, but mostly just the first 6-8 weeks. After that, he was probably getting more formula than breastmilk, but I was still trying. My 4th child, my daughter, I only nursed for two months.
When this baby was born, they put him immediately to my breast, which was what I wanted. But after he was born, I couldn't stop shaking, my whole body was shivering and shaking to the point that I couldn't even hold him. That didn't subside for about 2-3 hours after the birth, so by that time, they had already whisked him off to the nursery and given him a bottle. I wasn't upset or anything, after all, what was I supposed to do? I couldn't even hold him, I was shaking so bad, and since I couldn't hold him, I couldn't feed him. Plus, it was good for my husband to have some time with him, feeding him and bathing him in the nursery.
But I wonder if these circumstances have made it difficult--that the first feeding he had was a bottle, so that's why he hasn't been latching on or sucking right. And I have no idea how to fix it. Today, we are waiting for him to poop. He's had jaundice all week and has gone in repeatedly for heel pricks to check his bilirubin level. It hasn't been extremely high, not high enough for phototherapy, but high enough that they are concerned. He did start gaining the weight back a few days ago, but he hasn't been pooping AT ALL, which is a huge cause for concern.
Anyway, I'm about ready to give up and I'm only at day six. I just can't stand the pain. The lack of sleep, I can handle. I'm pretty good about catching cat naps here and there while he sleeps. And nursing lying on my side so I can kind of doze. But the pain I just can't handle. It seems to be getting worse. And I feel frustrated and like a huge failure.