It feels so easy to write about all the good things that are happening in my life. Sharing the pretty pictures and the great things that are happening in our life right now. And, I'm so lucky to say that those good things definitely outweigh the not-so-good. But, just like everybody else, we have our fair share of the bad and the ugly, too. Just this week I was talking to a friend about how the first few days after having a baby are the hardest. Everyone told me how bad labor pains can be, and what my healing process would be like, but they failed to inform me how tough those first few days after baby can be. You're exhausted, in pain, and loopy from pain meds. Yet, you're expected to keep this new little baby alive. The baby's screaming, you're crying, and your husband is looking at both of you with a helpless look on his face. And, on top of all of that, the only way to get your baby to stop screaming is to breastfeed, which no one at the hospital really told you how to do.
(This picture in no way truly shows the ugly that I'm referring to. In reality its much, much messier, uglier, and at least two out of the three of us are covered in spit up.)
While I was still pregnant, another one of my new mom friends told me she'd rather give birth twice than have to go through the first 2 weeks of breast feeding. At that point, I thought she was crazy. And now, I totally get it.
Whether it was error on my part or truly a baby who didn't want to latch, I will never know, but feeding from the breast was just not for us. Maybe it will be for a future baby, but for Thompson and I, it just wasn't going to happen. Those first few days I would just dread feeding him, it was painful, and he nursed for what seemed like forever. In reality it was probably close to 30-45 minutes, but when they are eating every two hours (meaning two hours from when they started eating) you feel like you're constantly nursing. A few days after he was born Thompson had his frenulum clipped because he was tongue tied, and we hoped that would help. We tried nipple shields to help with the latch and the pain, but then our dog George ate BOTH of the ones that I had. I reached my breaking point when I was feeding him in the middle of the night and bawling from the pain, screaming to my husband through the tears "We're going to have a formula baby! I can't do this for one second longer!"
I have no issues what-so-ever with formula feeding. I know the topic among moms is somewhat controversial, but I'm of the mindset that every mom should do what is best for her and for her baby. And that looks different for everybody. We may even decide down the road to make the switch to formula, I just don't know at this point what the future will hold. I really wanted to make breast feeding work for me and Thompson for the first several months. My body was producing the milk, so I wanted to be able to use what my body was making. The challenge for me was just getting that milk into my baby's body. That same night that I reached my breaking point, I went downstairs and filled a bottle with pumped milk I had in the refrigerator. Thompson took it like a champ, and we never looked back. I've now been exclusively pumping for over 4 months now, and that has been what works best for us, for now.
We hit a little speed bump this month with the development of a dairy allergy. I now eat a pretty much dairy free diet, and after trying that for two weeks his tummy issues have finally cleared up. (You can read a little more about that in this post) I'm so glad that we found out what the issue was, but I have to admit it did just about kill me to have to get rid of the stash of over 300 ounces of frozen milk I had worked so hard to build up. I was able to donate it though, so it didn't have to go to waste.
I plan to publish a separate post either later today or tomorrow with a few tips I've found helpful throughout the last four months of exclusively pumping. There are a few items I couldn't live without. I've had to make this process as convenient as possible so that I wasn't ever tempted to stop.
So while this post isn't for everyone, I hope it may resonate with somebody. When I was making the decision to exclusively pump, I didn't find many resources out there to read about other women's experiences. And selfishly, I'm writing all of this down because I'll probably forget it in several years when I have another little one. If you have any questions what-so-ever about what I have done to make this work for us, please don't hesitate to ask!