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.