Breast Is Best = First Push Towards Postpartum Depression

Being a first time mom at 36, I wanted to do everything the “right way”.  I wanted to put every need of the baby’s before my own.  Which I am sure most moms do.  I researched everything, read What To Expect When Expecting from cover to cover.  I took prenatal vitamins before getting pregnant and throughout the pregnancy.  I went to every doctors appointment religiously.

So when it came time to decide breastfeeding or formula, I already knew “breast was best” and of course that is what I was going to do.  I went to the 3 hour class at the hospital while I was pregnant, read articles, and asked other moms all about it.  My mind was made up, of course I would breast feed.

Well the first thing you learn when you get pregnant/have children, is that you can plan all you want, however that baby may have a different plan.  Travis decided to come 3 weeks early.  At 37 weeks the baby is not considered pre-mature, however there can be some small issues sometimes.  When Travis was born he was 6 lbs 1oz.  He was a little guy for sure, my little peanut.

After delivery I did skin to skin as soon as possible (after a C-section) and there soon after began trying to breast feed.  Being new at this, I had no idea what was right, wrong, comfortable, or if he was even getting milk.  Well come to find out my body was not producing yet, probably because I was just a little bit early delivering him.  He wasn’t quite as mature and would not latch.  These two things are a bad combination when you are determined to breastfeed.  I had nurse after nurse coming into the room telling me all the things I was doing wrong, and to do this, or do that… The lactation specialist spend time with me too, giving me tips and advice.  After every time I attempted to feed him I would tell a nurse he didn’t get anything, then ask, should I worry he isn’t getting any nutrition.  I kept being told, don’t worry about it, when he is hungry he will latch.  I thought, well great but what about the fact I am still not producing any milk…???

This went on all night long, the first night.  At some point I really have no idea when, but I had the breast feeding tyrant come in to “show me how it’s done”.  I was exhausted, and apparently it is hospital policy that you are only given pain meds if you ask for them.  I assumed they kept a steady flow (for at least the first day or so) so that you wouldn’t get behind the pain.  At this point it is many hours after my C-section, I have had no meds, a baby that is not latching, and I am unable to produce milk.

I can see on my husbands face he wants this breast feeding thing to work.  I need to try harder at it.  I try and I try and it just isn’t working.  The nurse sits me as straight up as the bed will go, she puts pillows behind my back to get me to lean over a bit.  The pain was so bad, I was so tired, well the tears just flowed, and flowed, and flowed.  I was a failure already as a mom.  I could see it on not just that nurses face, but also on my husbands.  I tried explaining how difficult this was, I couldn’t really get the words out because I was crying so hard.  I was heartbroken, my plan wasn’t working, I’m failing at what should be the most important necessity that a mother can provide her child.

So again I say to this particular nurse, “I’m worried he isn’t getting food/nutrients, what should I do?”  She whips that blonde, kinky, curly, hair around and snaps at me, “well I guess you better give him a bottle then, don’t ya think”.  I never wanted to rip someone’s face off as much as I did in that moment.  So I snapped right back, “Well then, why don’t you go get me a bottle then”.  She then replies, “what kind of formula do you want?”  I was going to lose it… Deep breathes, deep breathes, I can remember telling myself, breathe, just breathe.  My response to her (in my most snippy/bitchy voice)  “I don’t know, I didn’t do my research on formula, and they didn’t teach me anything about it in the breast is best class here at the hospital!”  We were not friends her and I, nor were we ever going to be.  She left the room and got a bottle.  Travis ate 1.5 oz. immediately.  I felt a huge sense of relief that he was fed, however an enormous sense of guilt that I was not able to breast feed.

Looking back at all of the hurdles along the way, this was one of the first that I feel pushed me towards postpartum.  There of course were many more, however this was a difficult “fail” for me.

 

 

13 comments

  1. I had a baby back in the dark ages of the 1980s and no one told you too much back then. I am happy I was able to breast feed, but I quit earlier than my sisters-in-law because I had to go back to work and there were no electric pumps really–you would have thought I’d sent my baby to eat out of the cow trough! I also committed the mortal sin in their eyes of using disposable diapers when they insisted cloth (with a high priced diaper service) was the only way. Only you know what’s best for your situation–tune out the others! You’re doing great!

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    1. Yes it has for a long time been (even still is) stigmatized if “mom” is having issues with her newborn. I share my struggles because first, I don’t mind sharing it with the world and do not care who judges me. Secondly, I know I could be helping someone else. They could be thinking they weren’t cut out for mommy hood and be ashamed for not feeling as they thought they would or were expected to. Those mommas need to know they are NOT alone and that it can get better!

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  2. There is too much pressure on young mothers to ‘do what people think is right’. You know your baby and you know you best of all. I can certainly see how women can fall into postpartum depression. People need to back off, be supportive, provide advice when it is asked for and just let new Mums find their way.

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  3. I can see how things like this would contribute. All the pressures we place on ourselves and others place on us, plus the often unrealistic expectations about how these things will go can really build up.

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  4. Must admit I did breastfeed all 5 of my children & I was glad I was able to …. but I had no qualms about changing to formula (ready to use cartons were very handy) once they sprouted teeth (about 6/8 months). I’m lucky that in the UK there doesn’t seem to be a big stigma if you bottle feed or not. I breastfed because I was able to & my babies latched on ok – I wasn’t offered any classes or help so it’s just as well they did.

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  5. This is like it came straight from my head! I have 4 children and each one I tried, and failed to breastfeed. With my three older ones I was made to believe that I just didn’t try hard enough, I didn’t want it enough. When I was pregnant with my 4th child I was determined that this time I was going to be successful at breastfeeding. Everything was going fine until day 3 post-partum, the day your milk is supposed to come in. My baby was hungry and it was starting to show. She was on my breast continuously, crying. I was told this was normal, she was just trying to get my milk to come in. Well long story short, She ended up losing a lot of weight and I found out that I don’t produce enough milk. She is bottle fed now, but I still feel like a failure every single day because I wasn’t able to do the one thing a mother should be able to do, feed her child.
    You and I are on the same wave length here, I actually have a post about my breastfeeding story scheduled to go out this week lol.

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  6. This made me tear up – I can’t BELIEVE that you were treated that way. SO what if they say ‘breast is best’ I had formula as a baby and am totally fine. Actually I’m pretty awesome! You are a great mom – and I really like this blog…it is something that is real and people should be reading this!

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  7. I tried breastfeeding both of my daughters. The first time I gave up pretty quickly. But my second daughter, I was determined. She would not latch. The pain was horrible. I tried for 3 weeks, while pumping and supplementing. Giving up was absolutely one of the main things that triggered postpartum depression for me. 8 months later, I’m just happy that she’s healthy. ❤

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    1. There is such a stigma for Moms who don’t breastfeed. Mother’s who can’t, who usually don’t go around telling everyone how/why they aren’t breastfeeding, and moms who just don’t want to breastfeed, should not be shamed and made to feel like bad mothers. This is why they made formula, which both of my boys had and are perfectly healthy and brain development is perfect! Hope this can help even 1 mom feel better about herself!

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  8. That nurse sucks! I’m sorry this was your experience and I can only imagine how many other moms this happens to. If there is any time in a woman’s life where she need complete empathy from the people taking care of her, postpartum is definitely it. I can think of so many “what ifs” and I’m sure you have as well. You are an amazing mom!

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