I thought long and hard about writing this post. I debated not writing it at all because I didn’t want to open myself up to criticism from strangers over our tough decision. But, then I thought that it could benefit other mom’s who had to make the same decision we did, and who, like me, may be feeling a lot of guilt about it.
All throughout my pregnancy I was dead set on breastfeeding. I ordered my pump through insurance for when I returned to work, I bought storage bags, breastfeeding covers, all kinds of supplies and accessories. I thought I was prepared.
While at the hospital I struggled to get baby to latch, but once the lactation consultant patiently walked me through it, I thought that was the end of our struggle. I thought it would all work out. The more baby breastfed, the more he cried. And cried. And cried. The nurses told me it was normal, so I thought nothing of it.
Until we got home from the hospital.
We changed a diaper and found quite a bit of blood. I immediately called the pediatrician and she got us in within a couple of hours.
When we got there they asked a lot of questions about his feeding and were concerned with how much he was crying after breastfeeding. Then they took his weight. He had lost too much since birth.
She told me to stop breastfeeding until further notice and try out a special brand of formula. (Literally the most expensive formula out there, go figure.)
I cried through the whole appointment. What had I done wrong? My breast milk was hurting my baby? This wasn’t how it was supposed to go.
We were told to try the formula overnight and come back the next day to check in.
After a night on the formula he was like a whole new baby. He wasn’t screaming after feeding, and he actually napped.
But I was still heartbroken.
At the next docors appointment we were told we could try breastfeeding again as long as I cut out every and all dairy products. I gladly obliged. I wanted this to work.
So I didn’t eat dairy, I drank tons of water, and essentially starved myself because I was scared of eating something that would hurt him.
We tried giving him breast milk again. To my dismay he went right back to crying and screaming in discomfort. I felt so defeated.
I continued to pump and store milk, just in case we could try again. I agonized over it because I felt such tremendous guilt.
I cried every time I was alone. I felt miserable. I felt even worse that I had an over abundance of breast milk that I couldn’t even give to my baby. I cried to my husband that I just didn’t know what to do. We had to look at what was best for baby, and right now formula was the best.
Then I made the most agonizing decision. I researched how to stop producing breast milk altogether. I followed the instructions and endured the WORST pain I have ever felt (next to childbirth). I knew once I made that decision it was over, and I couldn’t go back. And even though this was best for us, the guilt I felt was so real and so powerful, I questioned myself every step of the way.
But then I look at my son, and see that he is thriving. He is growing and gaining weight, and doing beautifully. I know we made the right decision, even though it was incredibly difficult.
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