I’m Struggling With Breastfeeding

There I said it.

I’m struggling with breastfeeding, big time.

It’s not just the actual act of breastfeeding I’m struggling with either – it’s everything this act is dredging up in me.  Lots of insecurities and second-guessing my own fortitude and motives.
I know it’s not easy and I know we’ve run into some snags that have complicated matters.

I know I’m not the only woman in history to have a sleepy, tongue tied baby or cracked, bleeding nipples or weak supply.  I’m not the only woman in history who has needed to find alternate ways to feed her child.

Our bodies aren’t perfect and mine definitely isn’t.

I’m not ready to give up, though my bag of tricks is getting low, but I am ready to give in.

I’m ready to give in to Providence on this one.

I’m ready to keep trying my best, and push myself not to go when the going gets rough, but I am ready to give this issue to God.

So here it is.  God, I’m trusting you on this one.

I’m going to trust you that if the best thing for my daughter is to nurse, you’ll help us get there.

I’m going to trust you that if the best thing for my daughter is to drink breastmilk from a bottle, you’ll help me keep that supply up.

I’m going to trust you that if the best thing for my daughter is drink formula, you’ll protect her and she’ll grow up as secure, attached, healthy and smart as her brother did.

I’m going to trust you to help me get over my own insecurities, my own selfish desires and my own doubts to do exactly what she needs of me.

Tomorrow is our 2 week check up.  She’s doing great so far and we already know that she’s gained back her weight, so unless something comes up that requires me to keep setting these alarms and tracking every milliliter I’m going to give it up to you.  After tomorrow I will keep doing what I’m doing for as long as it works, but my goals are these – a healthy baby girl, who can eat whatever she needs from whatever source she prefers with a mother who is able to enjoy her incredible precious gifts of children and focus on bonding and thriving as a family.  If we figure out nursing, it will be Providence that gets us there.  If we keep pumping for months, it will be Providence that gets us there.  If those two things don’t work or dry up, Providence will give me the confidence I had with my son to fearlessly, and shamelessly use formula.

I need to give this to God tonight, all my struggles, all my worries of judgement, all my fears of making the wrong choice or subconsciously sabotaging this whole endeavor – I need to give it up and give it away.  I need to trust that my family is in good hands, and much bigger hands than my own.

11 thoughts on “I’m Struggling With Breastfeeding

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  1. Right there with you . . . or I was. My son was born at 36 weeks and 4 pounds. He couldn't nurse at all for awhile and more than once or twice a day until he was 2 months old. We had to give him special high calorie preemie formula even though that wasn't part of the plan. He still can't latch, though he did briefly today (I posted about the nipple shield on your Instagram the other day). I prayed many a prayer to St. Perpetua (my stillborn daughter's namesake) and Our Lady of La Leche (shrine in St. Augustine, FL . . . my little one is Augustine. Coincidence? I think not). I would offer up prayers for those struggling with loss and conception who would give anything for this problem. I think you are 100% right in offering it up to God for His plan.

    From my experience of 3 months of a LOT of pumping, I highly recommend the Medela Symphony hospital pump that rents for $60 a month. I thought that was a lot to spend and it wasn't that much better. I was wrong. Get that thing. It's amazing. It really kept my supply soaring and I have tons in the freezer and donated a good amount.

    Please reach out if you have any other questions.

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  2. Thanks Betsy, it took a few tries but we successfully used the shield today! I've got a good Medela PISA right now that's doing a good job, though I got out my Freemie to try out tonight.

    I know I've got to offer it up, trying to control it all and worry about every little detail is going to detract from my role as a wife and mother, which are both more important than my role as a temporary food source. 😉

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  3. breastfeeding is such a challenge. both of my children were tongue tied – so i understand how uncomfortable and unnatural this whole process can feel when your nipples are raw and the thought of feeding your baby (however much you love them) reduces you to gritted teeth and tears. i will be praying for you. i found lanolin cream thickly applied helped but it is a struggle.

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  4. You know, Molly, I don't know if this was intentional or not but, to me, this post reads like you're giving it to God but also to us. It feels like you are trusting us to help you, support you, love you, and protect and love your daughter.

    You are doing such a great job. xo

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  5. Tongue tied stinks! We've been thru that twice. At least you realized it already… our daughter was 6 weeks before we realized and had hers clipped, so I spent a lot of time taking fenugreek for supply purposes. The second time, we seemed to bounce back faster. Will pray that's the case for you, but know that no matter which way the feeding struggles turn out, your daughter is blessed to have a mother who loves her so much – and a mother who realizes when she needs to turn it over to God! That's an important lesson for all of us!

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  6. I had a very difficult time with my first two. My first, I didn't get his tongue tie clipped until he was 6 weeks old and every day before that was a long torture. My second, I was on an elimination diet for his eczema, he struggled to gain weight and had to be weaned at 6 months for failure to thrive. I'm expecting my third in a few weeks and intend to formula feed exclusively because I can't take the major hit to my energy level that nursing brings for me and care for 3 under 3. So, solidarity. It's hard in so many ways.

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  7. I had a very difficult time with my first two. My first, I didn't get his tongue tie clipped until he was 6 weeks old and every day before that was a long torture. My second, I was on an elimination diet for his eczema, he struggled to gain weight and had to be weaned at 6 months for failure to thrive. I'm expecting my third in a few weeks and intend to formula feed exclusively because I can't take the major hit to my energy level that nursing brings for me and care for 3 under 3. So, solidarity. It's hard in so many ways.

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  8. Oh man, as a mom whose first was a sleepy, tongue-tied baby, I feel your pain. So. MUCH. I think I cried every day until we finally got the tie clipped, and then I probably cried every day after that for a couple of weeks because motherhood was STILL hard. God bless you for being prayerful and mindful enough to give it over to God. Praying for you and your little one!

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  9. I think you're doing a great job and you clearly love your baby girl immeasurably! Don't ever feel ashamed for doing what is best for Helena and your family. That decision is between you and your husband and God. No one else can tell you that it isn't what's best for y'all. Don't let the haters take away your confidence in your decisions. Praying for you guys!

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  10. Molly – My little was due the same day as Helena Mary, but arrived 3 weeks early. I struggled with -latch( cuz she was little ) supply ( IF issues wreak havoc on our bodies ). We had to supplement starting day 1 – to help her get out of special care nursery. I pumped and I pumped, sometimes getting just 5 or 10 ml. Many a late nights I wanted to give up. We tried at breast every day, but she had no interest. I still pumped and fed her formula. At 5 weeks and 4 days some switch flipped in her, and ALL she is doing is nursing– she can't get enough of her new found favorite thing. I won't be disappointed if in a week, she's not interested again. As long as she is getting nutrition, that is what's most important. My little girl took 3 weeks to get back to birth weight. She is still tiny, but she is happy and fed.

    With all my rambling. Do what's best for you both!! I will offer up our BF struggles for you and Helena Mary ( love the name ).

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