Every time I walk into my laundry room I see the free sample cans of formula sitting there, tempting me. I HATE BREASTFEEDING ... there I said it. Let the La Leche League come hunt me down. I want to like it, but I just don't. I want to do it for my daughter, but the stress of it all can't be good for either of us. Every day I consider giving up.
Week 5: Now she's screaming every time I try to breastfeed her. Does she have nipple confusion already? Thrush? Clearly she hates breastfeeding too. I'm a failure at this.
I can't help but wonder if I would still be fighting this hard to do it if it wasn't supposed to help me lose weight. There I said that too. I'll also say that during much of my time spent pumping I consider the need for a breast lift at some point in the near future. Could I do it? What kind of message would that send my daughter? How much would it cost, and how badly would it hurt?
Week 6: Somehow (probably from the guilt) I haven't given up, but I've given in to giving her a couple of bottles of formula a day. The rest of her meals are breast milk. I get her to nurse a couple times each day for a while before she screams, and the rest is pumped. When someone asks me if I'm breastfeeding, I give them kind of a dumb, blank look. Sometimes I try to explain the mishmash of meals she's getting. Once I just burst into tears.
And that's where we are now: some pumping, some nursing and some bottles of formula. Because I can't pump as often as necessary and because she's not nursing regularly, my milk supply isn't increasing quickly enough to keep up with her. I see more and more formula in our future, and I wonder how long I'll rent the breast pump.
But I'm OK with this situation ... mostly. There's still a lingering sense of guilt with each bottle of formula I feed her. I know I could have tried harder, done more. But that's how it is with parenting. There will always be more we could have done, should have done - more books that could have been read, more games that could have been played, more healthy meals cooked, more patience practiced. But we can't beat ourselves up for it all. We have to find a balance ... or at least strive to.
One thing I know I'll never question though is if I loved them enough. And for me, that's enough.
While Lila Claire is my second child, this has really been my first experience with breastfeeding. Because my son was born so prematurely, he wasn't able to latch on. I pumped for about four months so that he would have breast milk to supplement the formula he had to have for his growth.