Monday, January 15, 2007

Feelings, Nothing More Than Feelings

So, I am perplexed as to why I feel this way.

I have made the decision to quit pumping. I am now down to two pumpings a day. This morning I pumped my smallest amount after going all night. I only pumped 3 oz. My normal amount for the morning was 10 oz. I think overall, for us, there are many more positives to switching to formula than there are negatives. Nevertheless I am plagued by thoughts of sadness about it. For one, it's the "breast milk is so much better your baby will waste away and be sick more often and not be smart in school and how could you use formula?" camp. They are loud. They make me feel guilty. They claim that if you just stick with it your baby will catch on, it will be better in the end. Sometimes it is just not the case. Believe me when I say we tried. Numerous times. We had 1/2 hour scream-fests in the middle of the might. She knew how to latch and I knew she was hungry. She just wouldn't eat. Even though I know my milk was abundant, she would eat every hour around the clock. After 3 weeks I caved and started pumping. She was like a different baby (in some ways). She started eating every 2-3 hours (still does!) and sleeping for longer stretches. As soon as the bottle hit her lips, it was like I could see the relief on her face; like she was just waiting for it. Occasionally she wanted to breast feed for comfort, but she won't even do that now. Several times I tried going back to exclusive BFing, but she wouldn't have it. I know the benefits of breast milk; that's why I chose to pump for the first few months. I have a bit of a supply frozen, so she'll still be getting 2 oz. of milk in each bottle for close to another month, which I feel good about. I wanted to freeze more than that, but my supply was not keeping up with her hearty appetite, so she was already getting half formula anyway.

I do not love my baby any less because we are switching to formula. In fact, quite the opposite. I am doing this because I feel it is best. Not only is it less stress for me, but she is dealing with it much better, too. Dorothy is a fussy child most of the time. She frequently arches her back and screams. Sometimes she is so mad she refuses to eat her bottle. In the few days we have been doing 2/3 formula and 1/3 breast milk, she has not had one episode where she was screaming/refusing her bottle. She still fusses a lot of the time and gets mad (a lot of it must be personality). She also has had less (only one episode in a week) excema flare-ups on her cheeks. When it flares up, it is all of a sudden. Her cheeks will get bright red, as well as dry and scaly. This will last for several hours to a day or so. My thought is that she has food sensitivities. These two things paired with constant spitting up told me that she was not comfortable. Since the switch to mostly formula she also spits up less. She still spits, but generally not the large volume that she was doing after almost every feeding, and not one projectile. I have a feeling it will improve even more once we have made the switch entirely.

So, being that we have found it best to switch, after months of thinking about the timing of it, why do I now feel sadness? Is it the bond I want to keep with her? Is it the fact that I am pretty sure I won't have many opportunities to do the breast feeding thing again? This is all compounded by the fact that I went on the regular pill yesterday. I was on the nursing pill until then. I don't know what it is about the pill that I hate so much. I even had this issue when I was on it when we first got married. I much prefer charting. It's something about preventing children that bothers me. Even though I know charting is essentially doing the same thing, it is not physically altering my body to do so. Something that is hard for me to explain is the fact that the cutting back on pumping and going on the pill has brought me similar feelings as when we lost the baby. I know it sounds strange, but I think a lot of it has to do with the process I have to go through mentally/emotionally now that things are different. Of course I knew from the moment I was diagnosed with IC that things were going to be much different than I had dreamed....

I think most women who want children spend their young lives dreaming and hoping about what their life will be like. It's funny to say it, but I just saw my life barefoot and pregnant. Call me crazy, I don't care. I saw myself having several babies close together; happily cooking and cleaning; wiping noses and wiping tears. You know, generally doing all that domestic crap that a lot of women don't want these days. And with each pill it feels to me like that dream dies. Maybe it doesn't make sense, but that's what I feel.

8 comments:

Melissa said...

((HUGS)) Feelings don't have to make sense, that's why they are feelings. I had much the same emotions as you when I first went on the pill after my first m/c (which was a very unplanned child in the first month of our relationship). I have also been struggling with the idea that many children are just not possible for us, since my IC diagnosis. I always pictured myself, much like you, barefoot and pregnant and with a lot of little ones.
As for the breast/formula debate...you are right to do what you feel is best for your child, despite what anyone else says. Doing that makes you a great mother...that you would do what is best for you child, despite your personal feelings...etc.
I was exclusively formula fed for the entire first year of my life (no solids till age 1) and I turned out just fine. I didn't do poorly in school, I even graduate from university with high honors...so no worries about Dorothy's intelligence because she'll drink formula. There is nothing wrong with that.
Hang in there...you are doing a great job and I think your daycare plan sounds great. It is even giving me ideas to supplement our income when our little one arrives!

The Princess said...

I was in the same boat as you 6 months ago when my milk started drying up. I went from 16 oz each morning to 3 oz, it was just heart breaking for me and STILL is. It still hurts my heart that I couldn't breastfeed, although those feelings are slowly starting to diminish. I don't know why it is so hard and why we have to feel as badly as we do. We did what most women would never imagine...pumping is hard work, plain and simply so we MUST give ourselves pats on the back and know we gave our babies the best we could.

There is nothing wrong with formula or formula fed babies. Dorothy will thrive and grow just like a breastfed baby.

It will take time to work through these emotions so give that to yourself and try not to beat yourself up, trust me, it won't bring you anywhere.

Kathy said...

I just weaned my son this past week, and I went through some of the same guilty and sad feelings. He's fifteen months, too, so it's a totally different situation. I'm willing to blame it on those changing hormones from weaning. :)

I'm another from the barefoot-and-pregnant camp, too. I never wanted to do anything else with my life, and even though things haven't worked out exactly as planned there either, I'm happy in my role as nose-wiper too.

Oh, and the pill? I was only on it for about nine months and hated every minute of it. I felt like you did, that I was killing a baby each time I took one. I was so happy when I stopped taking them. I'd rather either have or not have a baby naturally than try to dictate God's will myself.

Sara said...

Ugh Becci..don't listen to people, seriously. I have this way of thinking and it's "I really don't care what you did, this is what I'm doing". And I don't care. You are doing what you want for your baby...you aren't making another BFing mom stop and forcing her to give her baby formula, so who cares what who says about what when it comes to you taking care of your daughter?

I too saw myself barefoot and pg my whole life. I thought I would have AT LEAST 5 kids. I have been blessed in the fact that I have Brenton and Maddie along with my own Max, but you have been there through 2 of my late losses caused by IC. It is so hard! I know! We are not really "allowed" to throw caution to the wind any more. Pregnancies need to be thought out and timed and even then we are so excited with the "better than 80% chance" we have with a cerclage. Then the fears...ugh, we won't get into that.

I never thought I would get on any form of BC but now I am going in to get on it. I hate it, but I don't know what else to do! Do I want a baby?? YES! But I need a break, from all the loss from everything...I am right there with you and the guilt of being on it, but what else? Hopefully in a couple years after not having any more losses I will feel differently about taking the risk of having another one and hoping it will make it.

I am sorry!

Lisa said...

You did you best. Thats all you can do and believe me...it was enough! You have to be a happy mommy to be a good mommy and it doesnt need to be hard. You did what was right for you. Dont feel bad about that!

Elizabeth said...

I tryed to pump for #1 and breastfeed with #2. I didn't have enough milk for either (I would pump 1/3 of ounce all day - total!). #2 dropped from 5lbs at birth down to 4lbs, 8oz. while I was trying to breastfed. I stopped, and starting giving him just formula, he is now 16lbs! He is now 4 months old and (knock on wood) has never been sick.

I know the research say breast is best, but I have found from reading blogs and asking around that formula babies are just as healthy.

Alice said...

You have to do what's best for you and your family, and it sounds like you've really done a lot of thinking about this and come up with what's best for Dorothy. Don't beat yourself up about it at all. Also, 4 months of breast milk is terrific, you should really be proud of yourself. And just so you know, there was just a study that came out that said that bf does NOT correlate with higher IQs.
Take care and try not to overthink your feelings, it's ok to feel down sometimes, just like it's ok to feel good.

Anonymous said...

Hi! I have to leave a comment because I lurk on your blog occasionally. Also, last week I was having dinner with my mom and she mentioned that drinking lots of beer promotes a robust breast milk supply. everybody wins!!! either way, I hope the switch to formula is working out for you and dorothy!!!
~Deborah Herndon