Breastfeeding sucks. There, I said it. There is nothing natural about breastfeeding. One can argue that it’s the most natural thing because a mother produces milk and a newborn is born with the instincts to suck, therefore it’s meant to be. Well I just don’t believe that. Do I believe that it’s beneficial to your baby and to you? Sure. Is it the perfect thing to feed your baby? I’m not sure.
I have now unsuccessfully breastfed one baby, and am now currently semi-successfully breastfeeding another. With my first child, Payton, I was only able to breastfeed for 7 days. At the hospital I was told we were doing great and she had a perfect latch, but as soon as we got home I felt like everything went wrong. She wouldn’t stay latched because she was constantly screaming, which means she wasn’t nursing, and I wasn’t sleeping. We couldn’t figure out what was wrong and at the time, I wasn’t willing to keep trying. I would cry every time it was time to feed her and once night time came around I would completely break down because I knew the nightmare that was about to ensue. So on day 7, we went and bought formula and never looked back. I wish I could say formula solved everything and we were perfect from that moment forward. But we weren’t. She was still unhappy after feedings and we knew she wasn’t handling the formula well. After seeing her pediatrician we decided that Payton suffered from reflux and was having a hard time digesting the formula, so we gave her Zantac and switched her to Neocate formula. Almost instantly we saw a change in her, and within a couple of weeks she was doing so much better. I swore with baby number 2 I would try my hardest to make breastfeeding work because I convinced myself all of Payton’s tummy issues were my fault.
A little over a month ago, Camden was born and I had decided to try my hardest to breastfeed, even though I had my doubts. Again, the nurses told me we were doing great and that Camden had a great latch. So we came home and things were going fine. She was nursing just about every hour or two and was gaining weight, so her pediatrician told me we were doing great. However, I wasn’t convinced. Since birth she had very frequent poops and was always uncomfortable during and after feedings. Everything I read said it was gas due to a foremilk/hindmilk imbalance, which made sense because I seemed to have an oversupply. So I called the lactation nurse at the hospital, and she confirmed my thoughts. So she gave me some things to try and I was hopeful they would work. I tried nursing from one breast for a couple of feedings, and then switching to the other one. It seemed to help, but she still wasn’t happy and neither was I. Why wasn’t breastfeeding working? What was I doing wrong that was making this so difficult? So I got the number of a lactation consultant that would come to the house.
The next day she came to the house, and after a couple of hours she had a list of things that could be causing all her discomfort. First, her latch and positioning wasn’t great. So we fixed that and I could tell a big difference instantly. Mostly, it wasn’t as uncomfortable anymore. Second, we were able to find out that Camden was only drinking about an ounce and a half at each feeding before she pulled off and decided she was done. To fix that she suggested I keep her awake to nurse longer, and try my hardest to wait at least 2.5 hours between feedings. She told me that Camden was comfortable with snacking every hour or so and that I needed to break that habit sooner rather than later. It’s been a couple of days now and we’re doing better, even though she is still wanting to “snack” during the middle of the day. And she continues to get extremely fussy around 7pm every night…why? We haven’t figured that out yet.
So now I’m here. Typing up this blog post because I am unsure of what to do. The lactation consultant suggested that I also try to eliminate dairy from my diet, and if that didn’t work then she gave me the names of some doctors to see about Camden’s posterior tongue tie (no idea what that means, but I figured that was a last resort kind of thing). Now I don’t know about y’all, but do you know how many foods contain dairy? Basically everything. I can’t even eat Chick-fil-A because the chicken has a milk bath. So, I was able to have a dairy free diet for about 24 hours before I decided that is no longer an option for me. Call me selfish or call me whatever you want, but unless you can guarantee it will eliminate all her tummy pains and that she’ll start sleeping through the night, then I’m not willing to do it. I’ve actually come to enjoy our night feedings because it gives me time to online shop and scroll through every single page 🤪 yes…that’s what I’m sure I look like at 3 in the morning browsing through the ASOS website looking for the perfect summer dress!
Anyways, back to reality. So my next and last option is to take Camden to a doctor and see about her tongue tie and lip tie. But even that isn’t a guaranteed fix. So again, why would I do it? Seems like a painful process to laser off a tongue tie only to benefit me. So now I’m at the crossroad. Do I continue to breastfeed and just hope that she begins to do better around the 4-6 month mark? Or do I call it quits and give her formula? Her sister was formula fed and she’s perfect. But I’ve also worked really hard to make breastfeeding work and I feel like if I quit now I’m giving up all the “benefits” she gets from breastfeeding. But if I give her formula then I can see how much she drinks at each feeding and get her on some sort of a schedule. But if I breastfeed then I’ll never have to make sure I bottles or formula with me every time we leave the house. But then again, I’ll be able to feed her at the table instead of having to hide in the bathroom stall of the restaurant.
The list goes on. Each scenario has its pros and each has its cons. If breastfeeding is so natural, then why is it this hard? Why does it not come naturally? Why does it still hurt her tummy? Why does one boob make her choke from oversupply while the other one doesn’t produce enough for one feeding? I don’t know that anyone will ever be able to answer those questions, but I’m hoping I’ll get the answer to mine soon. And I hope anyone else struggling with breastfeeding sees that you are not alone. And if you’ve already moved on, you are not a failure! Breastfeeding is hard and you have to do what is best for you, because in turn that is what is best for your baby.
So keep on keepin’ on moms. Stop reading all those blogs and forums and do what YOU want to do. Don’t let anyone tell you it’s the wrong decision. We are all just doing the best we can.