June 23, 2017

Why I Stopped Breastfeeding

In a previous post, My Breastfeeding Journey, I explained how we had a rough start to breastfeeding and ended up supplementing. I continued to do this until our daughter was three months old. At that point, she began to flat out refuse the breast. She would wail every time I tried to get her to latch. so to make my life and her life easier, we switched to bottles only.

I started pumping more at this point and noticed I was only getting at most an ounce per thirty-minute session, from both breasts! This continued for two weeks and so I finally called it quits.

We had a lot of issues with her gaining weight and now we knew why. I just never produced enough, whether it was because we had a rough beginning so my supply could never recover, or possibly my PCOS affected my hormones and thus I just naturally, couldn't produce the milk she needed.

The only thing I know is that I NEVER got engorged during the entire time I breastfed. The only time I leaked was in the shower or in the morning, after going all night not breastfeeding. This was another sign, I believe, that I just didn't have the supply needed to breastfeed.

I also never got engorged after I stopped breastfeeding. I leaked a little bit maybe for a week, but again, only in the morning or after a shower. I honestly believe that I just didn't have the supply.

Knowing what I know now, I wish we had gone with formula from the start. It would have made life a lot easier and I wouldn't have been so stressed from worrying about her getting the proper amount of food. 

What hurts more is the people who judge you for switching or they bombard you with have you tried this or have you tried that. I am glad you wanted to breastfeed and were willing to eat twenty lactation cookies a day, but honestly, all I wanted was a nap! 

I am positive if I did not quit when I did, I would have postpartum depression. I had the baby blues for the first month due to lack of sleep. I was very weepy, tired, worried, and stressed. My health was suffering and so was my child's, as evident from her slow weight gain.

On top of all that I am a first-time mom. I had no idea what I was doing, nor did my husband as he is a first-time parent too. People kept saying things like" trust your instincts" or "mommy instincts are powerful." What instincts? Is this really a thing and I just didn't have the programming for them? I was clueless and basically reached for whatever book I could get my hands on for advice! I relied on my pediatrician, who is, luckily, also a lactation consultant, for advice. I am so glad we found a good pediatrician who was not judgemental and super helpful. She understood my struggle and did not pressure me to continue breastfeeding.

As soon as we switched to formula only, our daughter began to catch up in weight and sleep better. Her health greatly improved, and because of that, my health improved! No more worrying about if she is getting enough to eat as I can clearly see how much she drinks out of the bottle. She was able to get enough to eat, so she could sleep for longer periods, allowing me to finally catch up on my sleep. At first, I felt guilty, like maybe I gave up too soon, or maybe I could have tried harder, but I quickly shoved those thoughts away because in the end what mattered was that she was happy and healthy. I reminded myself that originally I had not planned to breastfeed, and because of that, I was proud of myself for stepping out of my comfort zone and making the effort. At least I tried right?

I am not against breastfeeding. I think it is great if you want to and can do it! I feel if it had been easier for me, if I had the supply, I would have been able to go a lot longer. 

However, I am against shaming mothers who do not or can not breastfeed. Yes, breastmilk is the best thing there is for a baby, but when you can't provide it, formula is better than letting your baby starve, which is what happened to this poor mom. There was so much pressure on her to breastfeed and if she had just offered her baby a bottle, he may still be alive today.

My intent is not to scare you from breastfeeding. I believe it is the best thing for a baby, but only if your baby is gaining weight. If you notice your baby is losing or gaining slowly, crying after each feeding, not making enough wet and poopy diapers, make sure to see a pediatrician and don't be afraid to supplement! In the end, fed is best.


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5 comments:

  1. It sounds like we had pretty similar experiences with breastfeeding! Fortunately, my husband and our pediatrician were so supportive of supplementing when we needed to.
    You did a great thing by giving your little one as much breastmilk as you did. You also did a great thing by making the right choice for all of your mental health by deciding to switch. ❤️

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    1. Thanks so much! It's great to hear from others and know you aren't alone!

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  2. I feel your pain. When I had my daughter, I couldn't get her to latch on. I ended up being directed to a clinic where a specialist taught me how to nurse her, but there was nothing natural about it. It worked out in the end, but during the process I was ready to switch to formula. This doctor made it sound as if I was ready to give my baby crack when I wanted to switch. It was a really awful experience.

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    1. That sucks that your doctor wasn't more supportive! I was afraid ours wouldn't be because the was also a lactation consultant and sometimes they can really make you feel bad about not breastfeeding, but luckily ours was more concerned about our daughter's health, so she was super supportive of our decision.

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  3. It was such SUCH a struggle for me. I basically pumped like 3oz a day and the rest was formula. You did great making the choice that made mom life better for you.

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