Breast vs. Bottle

Best laid plans…

I knew without a doubt that I would breastfeed Celia.  Of course I would.  I fought like heck to breastfeed Chase and I had trials to endure when I breastfed Lucas… maybe, just maybe Celia would be easier?  After all the labors got progressively easier, maybe breastfeeding would too.

Best laid plans…

Everything seemed to be going swimmingly at the hospital.  I thought she was getting a good latch so when the lactation consultant came at an inopportune time, I smiled and said “Thanks but I got this.”  At home I was definitely sore but she seemed to be latching ok and she seemed content.  She was very sleepy so feedings usually went pretty quick which was fine with me because it was starting to feel more and more like sandpaper attacking me.  All the sudden a week had passed and pain was intensifying and it was all over… not just the concentrated pain like you expect but an overall radiating to my back pain.  The real kicker… and the real panic in my heart was that Celia was losing weight. She was born at 7 lbs and 9 oz (biggest baby!) and she had steadily gone down to 6 lbs 14 oz… then 6 lbs 13 oz… to 6 lbs and 11 oz.

I had gone to see lactation consultants where I had a complete mental breakdown… my friend Katy can attest to this since she witnessed it.  It was a combination of the boys being disobedient lunatics, her weight being so far down, the fact that she was 4 days away from 2 weeks old and no where near her birth weight, the idea that my milk was decreasing because she wasn’t eating all that I had or eating often enough and the sheer pain I felt every time I went to feed her.  It all came crashing down… and hard.  So much so that the LC’s asked Katy to let me know about a postpartum depression support group. And she wasn’t off base… I was slipping dangerously close to depression.  I cried when I couldn’t latch her properly and I cried all through the night when I had to nurse her.  I was miserable and my whole family was suffering.

The bottom really fell out when I weighed Celia Sunday afternoon (on a legit baby scale) and she was down to 6 lbs 11 oz. She was just not gaining any weight.  Adam and I exchanged a look of disbelief and I cried.  I knew something needed to change.

So when Adam happened to be picking up a couple things at the grocery store, I texted him and asked him to get a can of formula.  I cried as he bought it.  I cried when we made the first bottle.  I cried as I put it to her lips and I cried as she sucked it down like she hadn’t eaten that well in… well, all her life.  Hell, I am crying now.

It hurt like hell to admit breastfeeding defeat but it was necessary.

  • She wasn’t gaining weight or eating enough to satisfy her.
  • She wasn’t latching properly, no matter how hard I tried.  And I tried… latch, wrong, pry her off, relatch, wrong, pry her off, and so on and so on.
  • I cried at every nursing.  I actually feared my daughter.
  • My milk supply was already down because of all the issues.
  • I was not a happy mom… to Celia or to the boys.
  • I was very close to falling into a depression.
  • I was not enjoying my last baby.

The first couple bottles hit me pretty hard… I definitely spilled tears over them but it got easier with each one.  It was nice to see her eat and look content and peaceful.  And I have to admit… it was nice to see her attack a different nipple. Just being real here.

I received a lot of support and people did suggest pumping and giving her breastmilk that way but after a lot of thought, I just couldn’t see how that was feasible.  Pumping takes a lot of time in and of itself… especially when all I have is a rinky dink handpump.  It was perfect when all I needed was a little here and there but when it comes to getting milk on a regular basis… I would have needed something a lot more powerful and I don’t have $200+ to shell out of that kind of pump.  Nor do I have the time to bottle feed and then after that, worry about pumping… I still have 2 other very active kids that need to be taken care of as well… not to mention any sleep that I may want to get in between Celia’s feedings.

The decision didn’t come easy for me… I debated heavily but in the interest of Celia’s health and my sanity… we made the switch.  I kept telling myself my mom would smack me upside the head and remind me that I was bottle fed and so far, I’m doing pretty well.

There are pros to bottle feeding…

  • I feel a sense of freedom.  We can leave the house… something I didn’t want to do while I was still cringing and wincing in pain every time she ate.
  • Adam and the boys enjoy feeding Celia… a bonding experience they would have otherwise missed out on.

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  • And the most important factor… Celia is gaining weight… the scale reads 7 lbs 5.5 oz (as of October 4th!)

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And when it comes down to it… this beautiful face being happy and content is worth more than my best laid plans.

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2 Responses to Breast vs. Bottle

  1. Barbara Jo Sorensen says:

    Dear Jessi with an I
    I was touched by your story and felt for you, Celia and your family. Your journey with nursing your baby reminds me of my journey of grieving after Dick died. I too came close to a complete breakdown because I thought I couldn’t live without him. We both hit rock bottom and then real life and good commen sense brought us back to reality. Lookin at Celia’s little face in this latest picture it looks fatter and happier. I am happy for all of you. God bless you Adam for the man and husband you have become. Peace and blessings to each and all. BJS

  2. Mary says:

    Oh jessi! Praise The Lord for a healthy happy baby girl and a mommy who wants to do the best by her. You cannot let the devil believe he won by making you feel defeated. I am thankful to be blessed by being able to nurse my boys, and I’d never take it for granted again.

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