Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Why I Chose To Breastfeed... And Why I Chose To Stop

When I first got pregnant, I did not want to breastfeed. I didn't have a good reason for not doing it, except, I simply didn't want to. I didn't change my mind about breastfeeding until my water broke early and I knew I was going to have a sick, preemie baby. Once I was admitted to the hospital, I asked to talk to a lactation consultant about breastfeeding preemies. I was on bedrest for 4.5 weeks (from 29w2d-33w6d) and it was during that time I decided I was definitely going to give breastfeeding my best shot. One thing stuck out to me when I was reading about preemies and giving them breast milk. It cuts down risk of infection in the NICU by 86% (dont hold me to that percentage, but I'm pretty sure that's what it was) and I knew at that time, Wendy was going to be fighting enough, that I could do this for her.

So I did. I pumped and pumped and pumped. I was a pumping champ! The freezer at the hospital was full. The freezer at the Ronald McDonald House was full. My freezer at home was full. They were all full of good breastmilk just for Wendy. About a week before Wendy came home from the hospital, I started feeling depressed. I didn't want to stay in Nashville anymore, I would cry asking Zed to take me home, just for the night. I didn't want to pump anymore. I was just unhappy. I needed back on my meds to control my anxiety and depression. I stopped all of my medication 3 months before Zed came home from his deployment  because I knew we wanted a baby and I knew I did not want to be on ANY medication during my pregnancy.

I called my doctor in Clarksville and told her what was going on and she sent me a prescription. That same day I told Wendy's doctor I wanted to quit pumping. At that point, Wendy was getting my breastmilk, but also getting 22 cal Neosure mixed in with it to help her gain weight because she kept losing on my breastmilk alone. I understand that's normal for a baby to lose weight at the beginning, but Wendy had dropped from 3lbs 15oz to 3lbs 8oz in just 2 days and she we didn't want to put anymore stress on her body. Her doctor acted like I was the most horrible mom for wanting to stop. What her doctor didn't understand was that I was fixing to take home a medically fragile child that needed to be fed every three hours, wear a heart monitor, have a colostomy bag, take medicines several times a day, etc. Where was I going to find time to pump? I understand people think special needs moms are like superwoman, but trust me, we need sleep too! Haha. I was already exhausted from pumping every three hours (even during the night I had alarms set to wake me). I knew I physicall and mentally was done.

Since I had so much milk stored, Wendy got a mix of high cal formula and my breastmilk for almost 4 months. All the lactation consultants praised me because they said most moms with sick kids (not "normal" preemies) but kids sick enough that they need to be transferred to a children's hospital usually only make it 2 weeks exclusively pumping.

My whole point of this blog was to say, yes, breastfeeding is great! It's great for the baby, it's great for you. But if you decide to formula feed, that's great too. Your child is still getting the nutrition they need. Whatever decision you make, is your decision and your decision alone. Don't let anyone, family, friends, doctors, etc. make you feel like any less of a mother because it's hard enough making that decision anyway.

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