Thursday, March 15, 2012

9 weeks

And we're done breastfeeding.  Long story short?  Too many things went wrong in our case including a low supply due to PCOS and a baby who, despite figuring out how to latch, just never developed a good suck and is incredibly tired all the time.  Too tired to breastfeed, in fact.  I was in tears towards the end.  I saw the end coming about 3-4 weeks ago and really wished that things would turn around.  I consulted a second lactation consultant when mine went on bereavement leave.  (I liked the second one better.)  We used an SNS (supplemental nursing system) and it was quickly obvious that Henry just doesn't have a good suck.  He was still working way too hard to get fed.  He spent twice the time he should have just to get the necessary nutrition his little body needs.  So, after a few days of that and an awful lot of tears I decided that we're done.  I'm not completely finished with pumping, though.  I think I'll wean him off breast milk completely by the end of April when we head out west for a visit.

I am really upset this didn't work.  I am super disappointed.  And to describe our experience would be to say that it was just short of traumatic.  Honestly, it was.  The best part of my days, the part I most looked forward to, was when I was sleeping at night.  And if that doesn't tell you something about our experience I don't know what would. 

As soon as I made the decision to stop on Sunday my mood improved.  On Monday I actually looked forward to feeding this little guy first thing in the morning.  And for me bottle feeding leaves me so much more time to get things done.  I know that isn't typical compared to breastfeeding but, again, our experience was so crappy the fact that bottle feeding leaves me lots more time just goes to show how bad this was for us. 

I don't know if I'll get another shot at this.  I have 7 more vials of sperm with my name on them ... or should I say credit card ... so I will be going ahead to try for #2.  Otherwise I waste a ton of money.  But given I'll be approaching 40 at that point and don't want to do IVF I don't know if I'll get to have another.  And if I go the adoption route for #2 I'll be skipping the newborn stage so no breastfeeding there either.  I would love to get another shot and hope that my hormones are better at that point and that I get a baby who doesn't have Henry's feeding issues.  I can only hope.  I just wish it had worked with him.  I will always carry the regret and the knowledge that stopping wasn't my choice.  It was either continue and see him not gain weight and not be healthy or do what was best for him.  Easy choice.

Two weeks ago his weight was up to 10 lbs 5 ounces.  Today he was up to 11 pounds 7 ounces.  So, he's gaining at the high end of what is expected on a weekly basis. But he's still in the 15th percentile as of today.  Still a skinny baby at the low end.  I know some babies have to be there and he doesn't look unhealthy.  He appears to be bright and alert when he's not sleeping.  And he's very interactive.  He loves to check out his surroundings and smiles and talks a lot.  He hasn't yet figured out how to stick out his tongue to mimic me yet but you can tell his brain is working hard to figure it out when you try it.  He's also starting to develop some rolls on his legs and his cheeks are getting plump again.  I know stopping breastfeeding was the right choice but I wish I hadn't had to make it. 

In addition to all this we're getting a referral to a pediatrician to see if there is anything going on with his fatigue issues.  That is a whole other post in itself.  So far no one has detected a heart issue but that is my fear.  Until that appointment it is steady as she goes.  I'll continue to pump and wean myself off the meds and herbs so I don't have to worry about engorgement and other issues when I'm away for 3 weeks.  That would not be fun. 

And if you've made it this far here is your reward:

Good thing mommy captured this photo for my 9 week birthday because ...
... this is what I usually look like as I try to figure out what she is trying to do with the camera!


  1. Adorable pictures. Be kind to yourself about the breastfeeding, we are only human. You have to do what is best for you both and that kind of stress isn't good. I hope that things go well with the pediatrician.

  2. Congratulations on making it to 9 weeks (and beyond, with pumping)! that is quite an accomplishment, especially considering all the pumping and medicine and SNS and other kinds of extra work you did, and as a single mom! you are miraculous!

    also, there's no rule that you can't put the baby to the breast if you want to. of course you will use the bottle also but it's not like the breast will hurt him. my friend who had breast surgery prior to having babies did that. her baby would have some recreational/minimally nutritious sucking at her breast a couple times a day, in combination with pumping and formula bottles. i think it was really nice for them. she eventually went to all formula, and never got a lot of breastmilk, but i think she treasured the time together.

    love the pics!

  3. Good gosh Henry is adorable!

    I'm sorry you had to make that tough choice about BFing. Just because it's the right choice doesn't make it any easier on you so like Jen said, be kind to yourself. And Abby makes a very good point of still being able to put him to breast for comfort for both of you if that's something you felt you need.