Monday, March 30, 2009

The Nursing Debate

On Friday and Saturday I had to go to the hospital to get my series of two steroid shots. While I was there they also monitored me for any contractions. Which, praise God, I am not having any thus far. Both times, before I could leave, they ask you the same never-ending slew of questions and inputed my answers into their computer.

Is this your first pregnancy? How much do you weigh? What was your weight before you got pregnant? What is your due date? Do you have any allergies to drugs or latex? Do you have a living will? If you were in an emergency situation would you like a blood transfusion? Are you planning on having an epidural? What is your favorite color? Do you prefer pepperoni or sausage on your pizza?

Okay, just kidding about those last two. I was seeing if you were still paying attention. But seriously. Don't you have that all in there from the previous day? The one that always gets me is, "Do you plan on breast feeding, bottle feeding or both?" In which I shamefully lower my head and mumble, "Um, well, ahhhh, I guess bottle feed."

Even before I had children and we were thinking about starting a family I never had the "urge" to breast feed. Throughout my pregnancy with Kaiden I can honestly say that never once did I say, "I would really like to at least try." Hubs always encouraged me to give it a whirl before I ruled it out completely. I reluctantly agreed that would be the plan. I would try it and then make a definitive decision from there. Yes, I know it is absolutely the best thing for my babies. Yes, I know about all the benefits. Yes, I know that your kids will probably be smarter, healthier, thinner and less hyperactive then mine if you breast feed. And, yes, I felt, and still feel, extremely guilty that this desire still is just not within me.

So when Kaiden was born and whisked off to the NICU I never got a chance to actually start breast feeding. I did start pumping, however, the next day in hopes that my milk would come in. A few days later, and feeling like my chest would literally explode from the worst engorgement EVER (my mammary glands hurt just thinking about it), I finally got some supply going. I pumped around the clock every 2-3 hours and would take my milk to the hospital everyday so that they could feed it to Kaiden through his feeding tube.

Towards the end of Kaiden's stay in the NICU, they did let me try to get him to latch on for a bit but they still needed to monitor everything that he was ingesting. I never did have a great supply of milk, and by the end of his stay he was eating more than I could produce. I guess it's true when they say that your baby is your best pump. And quite honestly, even when I brought him home I can't say that I fully gave him a chance to really latch on to eat more than a few minutes. Eventually, two weeks after I brought him home, I dried up and we went to full bottles.

So, here I am with this pregnancy debating the same scenario. Do I give it a try again? Or knowing that my heart and mind just wasn't into it do I just stick with a bottle right from the beginning? It's a hard decision as I know how society makes you feel. I constantly get the question, "Are you going to breast feed? Did you breast feed your first born?" And every time I answer it I feel shameful. I often feel like I am a bad mom for not trying harder or not wanting to even consider it this time around.

I guess I will leave it up in the air and make that final decision once the little lady makes her way into this world. I haven't ruled out trying completely, but believe me, I am fully leaning on just going with bottles from the get-go.

On a slightly more positive note, I saw my OB again this morning. She checked my cervix and I am still about 1/2 cm dilated. My Fetal Fibronectin from Friday was negative! Which is a huge sigh of relief considering it is pretty accurate in predicting that I won't be going into labor within the next two weeks.

I survived my first weekend of bed rest, despite wanting to get up and do something. Anything, for that matter, other than lay around and feel completely unproductive! My husband has been a trooper and has handled Mommy AND Daddy duty like a champ. We know it is not forever and will keep trudging along for the sake of this princess.

Who, by the way, still doesn't have a name.


Melissa Darby said...

I will say that having done both, if you are not totally commited breast feeding will suck. It is hard even when you really want to do it. If you have doubts about it, it will downright suck. I didn't with Reagan and I did with Morgan and I can say that I know why some poeple don't do it

Katie said...

There's pressure from all sides! It's an unwinnable situation. Bottle feed, and you're labeled selfish. Breastfeed - just not in restuarants, airplanes, malls, parks, or anywhere there may possibly be another human being, or you're stubborn and rude.

So, when we as women, face a situation in which there are judgements made by perfect strangers on both sides, I say, do what YOU want to do. Bottle feed your little girl and don't waste another moment on feeling guilty. You're a great mom, don't allow a stranger's glare let you have a flicker of doubt.

Notwifezilla- Jackie said...

Here's my story: Getting into a routine w/BFing was the hardest thing for me thus far w/motherhood. It's so overwhelming and I hated how feeding was soley done by me. DH didn't get the sore or leaky or stretched boobs.
When I have another child I fully intend to do it again, but next time around I'm joining a support group. I met some great BFing moms weeks after Mo was born. I think I would have had a better time if I knew them from day one.
You need to do what's best for you! I agree w/Katie everyone has an opinion and ultimately you and your hubs are the only ones who opinion matters.
Don't let it get you down. There's no section on a college application for "breastfed or bottle fed"!

Kaye said...

I totally agree with everything. You are obviously a good mom or you wouldn't be concerned about what the pros and cons to each were. When it boils down to it, it will be best to do whatever you feel you should do. You are the one who has to commit yourself and you have to be at peace with whatever you choose to do. Formula these days is very advanced and quite healthy, so if you go that route, you have nothing to be ashamed of. Seriously...I don't see why it is EVER anyone else's business as long as the child is being loved and cared for, which yours obviously are and will be.

I hate that pressure is put on all moms regardless of which "side of the fence" they are on in this "debate." Give you children love, I say, and that will be the most important gift. =)

Good luck with your decision!

Susan said...

Oh my gosh - I've just been catching up. First prayers have been said. STAY IN BED and read trash mags or something. I know, I know.. I have no idea what I would do. Oh, I know - I'd be up every 10 minutes and having someone yelling at me every 11 minutes to GET BACK TO BED!

That said, best of luck and I'll be checking in regularly. And I SO hear you about not having the passion in me to breast feed. I tried for a bit with both due to peer pressure and PEER NURSES - holy shit they can be terrible!!! - but all in all, you gotta do what YOU are comfortable with. You already know that. ;)

chandy said...

I hope your bed rest is going okay! How are you managing that?

As for my thoughts on nursing, let me share some background. I am (was) what most people would call an "extremely enthusiastic" breastfeeder. I nursed each kiddo for 18 months until they self-weaned, they never ever took a bottle of formula, and I confidently nursed in every public venue in the greater Phoenix area and loved every single minute of it. All that to say, I am VERY pro-nursing and had a fantastic experience with it.

But, looking back after just a couple of years, I can see that it just doesn't matter that much. When you're filling out kindergarten registration forms, it will be the last thing you think about. So if you don't love the idea, save yourself the guilt and heartache and own your choice!

Sorry for the novel...

Melissa said...

I, too, have done both. With my first, I was not commited to breastfeeding at all and I hated it. I felt pressured into because she was the first I guess...naive and unable to speak up for what I wanted and felt comfortable doing. It lasted 9 weeks...I hated every minute of it. That's sad to say, but my heart just wasn't in it.

Now...with this third babe...I nursed her until she was 10 months and I was incredibly sad when she weaned. I was determined, this time, to do it. I don't know why...more mature maybe? Realizing the benefits? Knowing it was the best for her? I'm not sure, but I was totally commited and that helped tremendously! It was so very easy for both of us.

Either way, whatever you decide? You just have to do what is best for you and the baby...if you aren't "into"'s not going to be fun times, in my opinion, and maybe not the best if your heart's not in it. :o)

Wow...that's a lot from some random stranger, huh? Hee hee...(found your site from Mom Blogs)

Lura said...

Just found your blog and thought I would throw my 2 cents in. I have many of the same thoughts you do about BF. With my twins I decided to try BF. One did not want to latch on at all and screamed every time I tried and the other one nursed, but wasn't getting enough so the Dr. said I would have to at least supplement with formula. I just decided to go with formula for both. With #3 (20 months later), I thought about BF for literally 1 minute after delivery. All that to say that I went with forumula and I really have no regrets. Although I would like to have all that money we spent on formula!