Day 14: Lila Claire's two-week checkup. I'm so excited to see how much weight she has gained with all the breast milk she's been getting. Instead, she LOST 2 ounces. The guilt, the tears, the fear that I'm doing her wrong are overwhelming. The doctor suggests I'm not eating enough and that I supplement with formula and start eating ice cream. Great.
Days 15-16: Terrified that I'm starving my daughter, I decide I will be a pump-only mom. I will pump and pump then bottle feed her so that I know exactly how much she is eating. I will make sure she is nourished with breast milk, because it is BEST ... which I see printed right on the bottles I use to feed her the supplemental feeding of formula the doctor recommended I give her. It's actually even printed on the cans of formula - "Breast milk is recommended"!
Day 17: Pumping AND feeding is about all I do ... oh except for washing and sterilizing all the bottles, nipples, breast shields, membranes etc. over and over and over again. My hands have aged a year in just the past two days.
I'm ready to give up. I hate pumping, and breastfeeding is too ambiguous, too scary for me not knowing if I'm starving her. I feel like a total failure - as a mother, as a woman.
Day 18: I can't bear the thought of another day washing and pumping and feeding. I decide to put her to the breast again, but I'm trying to convince myself it's OK to quit too. I start telling my friends I'm thinking of giving up to see if anyone tries to talk me out of it ... no one does. They all, diplomatically say, "do what works best for you." But they don't tell me how to deal with the guilt.
Day 21: Three-week checkup. I undress Lila Claire and carry her to the scale ... 7 pounds, 13 ounces. She's back to her birth weight. I had hoped she'd be a little heavier than that, but the doctor says it's pretty good. I can stop the formula supplements. I'm feeling better ... a little at least. That afternoon I nurse for the first time in public and feel strong and proud and committed ... though VERY annoyed that a man chose to sit on MY bench while I was breastfeeding when there were clearly plenty of other vacant benches around!
Week 4: She's eating for shorter periods and falling asleep every time I put her to my breast. NOTHING (undressing, tickling, talking, singing) I do will wake her up to continue the feeding ... until I lie her down. Then she screams. So I pick her up to try ... over and over again. I have no clue how much she's eating ... maybe she only gained weight last week because of the formula. Am I starving her again?