March for Babies

Thursday, August 24, 2006

To Continue the Struggle of Pumping or Throw in the Dried Up Wrinkled Prune of a Towel

Pros to weaning

  1. No more sore boobs (Did you hear the collective sigh of relief coming from my battered cleavage?)
  2. More time with Azure
  3. Fewer demands on me/my time
  4. Easier to prepare bottles & easier to travel
  5. I can stop spending money on Domperidone which is no longer helping (or maybe that is what is allowing me to get the little bit I still can?)
  6. I can have a real lunch hour again. Time to myself, time to run errands or time to visit Azure.
  7. Fewer restrictions on my diet!!!! (Think of Homer’s voice saying, "Mmmm, peaeaeannnnnnnnuuuuts" and drooling.)
  8. I can get the breastpump off its place on the back of the livingroom couch (for all the world to see)
  9. I can sleep comfortably on my stomach again
  10. It will allow me to be a better mother

Cons of weaning

  1. No more antibodies for Azure, her health/immunity is a huge concern in this decision
  2. Formula Poop, blehck!
  3. I wanted to get to one year and will only make it to around 9-months-actual using the remainder of the freezer stash before it goes bad
  4. Formula is more bubbly in the bottle, I worry about her getting gassy
  5. I worry about drive-by parenting when seen with a bottle (Of course this happens with breastmilk too but at least now I can say "Hey, lay off, it is breastmilk!")
  6. I spoke to the neonatologist who attended at Azure’s delivery the other day and she said she has been researching breastmilk and formula and has found that the donated breastmilk gives no more benefits over formula. The way it is frozen and processed, etc. destroys whatever special qualities the fresh milk has over the formula so you might as well use formula. She also said that no matter what they do to synthesize the breastmilk they just can’t get it quite to the point where it is equal. This blows. I wonder if my freezer stash is any better than formula at this point. (NOTE: The freezer stash will last us well into November.)
  7. I dread pumping now since I used to get 4-6 ounces per session and I am now struggling to get 1 ounce per session
  8. I  worry about Azure’s digestion. She seems to really struggle to get the poop going. She is having a dirty diaper or two every few days but she gets gassy and uncomfortable while trying to get those out and I don’t want to make that worse.  We are still giving her juice each day.
  9. We have been told by more than one health professional that Azure would probably not be doing as well as she is if she had not had the breastmilk this whole time.
  10. It will make me feel like a bad mother

I am glad I made it this far (6months / 2-1/2months adjusted). Many women would not have in my shoes, but I want Azure to have more time with the breastmilk (because she is a preemie and because she has had digestive issues). It used to come so easily for me and now it is a struggle and I don’t know why that changed and I wish I could go back to the way it was when she was in the hospital and I was just swimming in it. I thought that going back to work would help and it did at first. I actually added more pumping sessions to my day since I had a quiet place to do it with no distractions. However, I think the stress of transporting Azure and milk and our colletive stuff and getting to where we need to be on time plus trying to get her to sleep through the night (we are close, it is hit or miss at this point) is taking its toll on me.


There I was typing this out in a calm and rational manner when the thought struck me, "I am failing her", and I had to stop to CRY and pull myself together.


What do I do when what is best for me conflicts with what is best for her? Is her nutrition more important than quality time with her mother? Why does she smile more easily for others than for me? Is she reacting to my own stress?


I always figured that when I got to the point where I would move on from pumping to formula it would be by choice and that I might feel conflicted about it logically. What I did not expect was that I would feel so strongly emotionally. I think my feelings about this decision are all wrapped up with my missing her so much due to my return to work and the helplessness I feel at the fact that T is not as actively involved with the parenting as I had hoped he would be*. I am tired. I am depressed about my situation and I don’t have any time to myself to process these feelings. (Could hormonal changes be effecting my supply and also/therefore my mood?) (Does it matter that I am now on CD 57? I did test last week and it was negative. I was relieved. For the first time in 5 years I was happy to see a negative.)


Therefore, it must be time to blog about it.


I know that if I were reading this post on someone else’s site I would offer support and let them know that they did the best that they could, and their child is so much better off for it and they can now go on to building a better relationship without all of the pumping getting in the way. I know what I would say to someone in my place. I think though, that since it is me, I do not necessarily believe what I am saying. (Lala, feel free to slap me at any time!)


*I do not mean to make out like T is a bad father.  He is helping by doing everything else, cooking, cleaning, shopping,  everything that has nothing to do with Azure.  He leaves her to my care, 100% my responsibility.  It just gets draining sometimes never to get a break from her.  Sometimes it would be nice to let him feed her and I could do the dishes, ya know? He does hold her and play with her but I provide all of her care.


PS. I told you I write when I have issues!


Erica said...

Girl, I have so been there. Like literally six weeks ago.

I went through the same struggle...feeling like a failure, feeling like a bad mother, but wanting SO desperately to be free of the pump.

I finally just gave in and stopped. And you know what? My daughter is fine. I really miss breastfeeding (so much I tear up just thinking about it), but we're okay.

I think that no one can make this decision but you and it's a hard one to make. I know...I made it too.

You will make the right decision, whatever it is. *hugs*

And btw, sleeping on my stomach is SWEETNESS.

VHMPrincess said...

You can make the formula not bubbly in the bottle - I assume you mean powdered?

Put the water in the bottle. Then the powder. STIR GENTLY WITH A SPOON. Don't shake the bottle.

If you can, then store it in the fridge for a couple of hours and use a bottle warmer to heat it (again, use a spoon to stir and not shake it!)...

Glad to hear from you again!

Anonymous said...

I agree with erica. I stopped pumping afteer 6 months and I felt like a total failure. Once I got over that guilt (which you will have for varying reasons through out her life), I realized that the stress of pumping was taking over in our relationship and once I let it go, I was much more relaxed.
But as erica says - it is an individual decision. Just know the feelings you have are normal.

Cat, Galloping said...

Nestle Good Start formula is not bubbly. It does produce green poops, but it is not bubbly. We've always used it but it's a little harder to find (try, so I tried out our samples of Isomil and Similac and was shocked to see all that frothiness.

I went through the same my happiness vs. the baby's health thing but I was just so fucking miserable. The hardest part was making the decision, and I felt about a hundred million billion times better once I had.

I think you have done awesomely, though. Never doubt that!

Pam said...

6 months is something to be proud of. Many people don't last that long. My husband is the same way. I have 3 kids. He didn't really bond with them until they were past the baby stage. Once they started walking he was really good with them. I think he was insecure and intimidated by the baby.

Miss W said...

This is an issue that is close to my heart. I wanted to exclusively breastfeed my premature son. And it never worked. And he was never formula free. And he NEVER liked to poop. And so he got some breast milk and some formula and elevating amounts of prune juice (at 7 1/2 mos adjusted, he no longer needs it but it is his routine and he will. not. sleep. without it).

That being said...the end of pumping (in June) was hell. I cried. I second guessed. I was getting about an ounce TOTAL per pumping, I was out of meds and my doctor would prescribe no more. I knew it was time to stop. And still I felt the guilt.

Funny thing is, on the NeoSure almost exclusively (he gets a bottle or two of the frozen breastmilk every day I have time to get to the freezer -- he crawls--I chase!) our last well baby was the best.

He was in for his 9 month. He's at roughly the 20th percentile for both height and weight. He's meeting 9 month milestones.

And I have to say...yes, the breastmilk is the best. But the formula is also good. It won't hurt Azure. She will continue to thrive. Try to let yourself off the hook on the guilt. You're doing everything possible and she will be fine.

As for the bubbliness of the formula...with Neosure you are never going to get away from that but you can't use a different formula either (we will be using it until 12 months when our ped wants us to wean to cow's milk). My suggestion is to buy a formula pitcher. Get one with a screen of some sort in the top to help break up clumps of formula powder. Mix a day's worth of milk, keep it refrigerated and pour into bottles as needed (or mix the night before and fill bottles for the sitter in the AM). The bubbles will settle out. The screen prevents them from going into your baby's bottles.

It's not perfect, but in the world of preemie parenting, I'm finding little is. Our births didn't go as we'd planned and our lives have changed dramatically. But we do the very best possible for our babies -- and you and I both have gone farther than most mothers would have with the breastmilk.

I'm proud of you, Blue. So, so proud.

lala said...

Why would I slap you honey? You're beating yourself up just fine. Joking, I'm just joking. The only thing we can bring to the table is the "benefit" of our own experience and because I have this "experience" I can give you no worthy advice. You WILL doubt yourself, you WILL be thankful no matter which route you take and you WILL be hard on yourself no matter which choice you make. My milk stopped shortly after the trauma with my son so I cannot blame myself 100%. I could have tried harder, yes, but, my, how the little girl took to the formula. I miss the breast feeding but that is the emotional me. If I were the advice giving kind I would suggest a trial run but that leads to a slippery slope of diminishing returns so it's a toughie. Also I've found that the formulas with the Omegas in them don't foam up like the plain ones. So take that for what it's worth....not a whole hell of a lot.

Michelle said...

You have so much advice on the bf, I will just leave you alone on that one.

As for the hubby thing, my dh was like that too. Mine were all preemies, not like Azure, but still small for babies in my famdamily, and my hubby was terrified of them. It took me awhile to figure that out, but when I did I slowly made him become more involved. Go shopping for the afternoon and leave them together. Ask for him to take over baby duties for an evening. He will get over it.

Stacy said...

You ahve done wonderfully t pump as long as you have! I think your a great mom and doing the best things for Azure. Hang in there Blue!