Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Nursing Dilemma

I decided to give breastfeeding a second chance without any false expectations. You'd think I learned something from my first experience in Breastfeeding... Here is what happened this time.
I didn't get to feed Z Girl til I went up to the my room. The nurse was really encouraging and supportive, so we worked on getting her to latch asap. Little sister girl has a great latch. The problem is that mamãe didn't have any liquid coming out to feed her. We tried the pump and nothing came out. A few hours later we got a little colostrum going.
I was so happy with her latch and her stools were good (meaning she was getting the nutrition she needed) so we never even needed to supplement. 
The first day we got home I kept breastfeeding as normal. We started supplementing the breastfeeding with formula because my milk had not came in after a few days. The baby was still latching but she was crying a lot  because she was hungry.
I was proactive this time. A few days before going to the hospital I started taking FenuGreek (natural supplement that helps milk production). A friend of mine let me borrow her electric pump and I was ready for my milk to come in. A week after the birth I had milk but I wasn't making a whole lot of it. What could have went wrong? I felt less stressed than the first time. I found support and talked to La Leche as well as the lactation consultant from the health department. My husband was supportive and so was my mom who nursed all 5 of us. All I was missing was milk.
At some point before week 2 I decided to cut down on the formula and go with breastmilk alone. My baby lost a lot of weight (which scared the doctor) so we had to keep supplementing with formula. The lactation consultant helped me to know how much milk Z Girl needed in order to gain the correct amount of weight for her age. To rush the milk production I got in another medication. The med costs a little over $80 locally and $38 online. I'm on day 2 and waiting to see if I make more milk that way. If you are wondering, I'm a believer in water so I drink lots of it. People speculate that c-sections cause people not to have milk. Two friends who had who had c-sections breastfed their babies successfully. I have all my basis covered, all we need is more milk.
I know I am not alone. I have a few friends who tried and couldn't make more than 2 oz so they went with formula. I know others who just said the thing hurts and they went with formula. I learned to respect everyone's choices. 
Sometimes I wonder how come breastfeeding works for some chicks but not for me. I heard stories of chicks who took the same meds as I did, prayed, believe it and received plenty milk. 
I heard stories of women who were overflowing with milk when they were in labor. Hearing those stories while I was first waiting for my milk to come made me feel less than, which sucked. It wasn't their fault, it was my own insecurity. 
I have different reasons to pursue nursing. My first one is for the connection between my children and I. I also want to nurse because you're supposed to burn a whole lot of calories while doing it. Selfish ain't it? 
It was hard to admit that this part of life is important to God once I spent time obsessing (there, I said it) over aspect of mothering. I obsessed about having a vaginal birth (didn't get one). I obsessed about breastfeeding and with my second child I didn't get the VBAC I dreamed of and on week 4 the rivers of milk are not here yet.
My husband was the one who reminded me last year that my nursing situation was not a surprise to God. He said I should get Him involved in it. 
I can't compare myself with the chicks who quote scripture and get so much milk they have to be faithful donors of a milk bank. We are all unique and special to God. 
What if God's best for me is feeding my baby Similac? Why should I let others intimidate me?
I also shouldn't be ashamed of my story because it has happened to other women around the world before.
I hope I can offer hope to someone who thinks you are less than a woman because your kid needs to be on formula. I am still trying to get this breastfeeding thing going but I gave myself a limit. Breast is best but better than that is God's unique plan for my kids. He's got it all under control: from what kind of milk they get to where they are going to College. Let's believe God more than we believe stats and old wives stories.
Nursing is not one of those things that are listed in the Bible as one of the requirements to inherit the Kingdom of Heaven. I'm glad about that. On the long run breastfeeding matters but being a peace with God's plan for me as mother outweighs that. Regardless if I get to nurse full-time or not, I commit to look at my daughter and remember what's really important.