Thursday, 15 December 2011

Letting go of my expectations

This blog is first and foremost for me. Its my way of processing things and venting my frustrations. And so, after having a couple of tough days, I need to process and vent. You are welcome to read and post your thoughts, but I do ask that in this case in particular you leave only encouraging supportive comments, or nothing at all. Honestly, I could use some encouragement.

I have been going through some health issues. I was sick with a cold, then found out that I am once again very anaemic and now I'm dealing with (what is believed to be) this ulcer. I think all of this has resulted in a depleted milk supply. I have noticed lately that Noah seems to be losing interest in breastfeeding. He pulls off constantly and would rather look around the room then eat. He use to eat like a champ - every 3 hours for a solid 12-15 minutes. The past week or two it has been every 2 hours (if that) for 7 or 8 minutes. In other words, hes snacking. It has resulted in me getting very little sleep and one very fussy child.

I talked to my doctor on Monday and he suggested to supplement with formula or start on rice cereal. I know many woman have gone the formula route because that has been whats good for them and their babies. But I have always had it in my head that I would breastfeed for 6-8 months. Period. After all, breast is best! I read it many times in books and was bombarded with it from nurses at the hospital. And because Noah took to it  so well I figured we'd be good. I'd stop when I wanted to. But here it goes... I don't think that's whats best for us anymore. And that is really hard for me to accept.

We`ve started on formula. I gave him his first bottle of it yesterday and he was full for a good 3.5 hours. He was also a much more content baby while it was in his system. He slept comfortably and peacefully, taking a 1.5 hour nap immediately following. The rest of the day was breastfeeding. Last night was the third night in a row where I didnt get much sleep (since hes waking constantly to snack.) I was beyond exhausted and had my mum come watch him so I could get some more sleep. We decided to once again give him a formula bottle to hold him over. He guzzled it down super quickly and once again, took a nice long nap afterwards. Rest of the day... breastfed snacking and a fussy child. It seemed that the formula bottle really satisfied his hunger and the breastfeeding didnt.

After lots of chatting with my mum and many tears, I have come to the realization that Im just not producing enough milk for him anymore. Yes, I could go the route of trying different methods to increase my supply. But since I dont plan to breasfeed longer then 6 months or so and want to be able to go on dates with my husband, I decided to go the formula route. He will be getting two or three formula bottles a day and breastfeed for the rest. I realize that my supply will deplete all the more, but Im okay with that and I do plan to pump when possible. Its been hard on me, but I am trying to convince myself that 4 months of straight breastfeeding is a job well done.

I need to let go of my expectations. I had a very `whatever happens happens` perspective on labour, so I dont know why this should be any different. Every child is different and I need to do whats best for Noah and myself.


  1. what's best for yourself and Noah! The first few days after my twins were born I was so fed up with breastfeeding (and this was only a few days...good for you for persevering with everything!) so I switched to pumping and bottle feeding, despite some apprehension from some inlaws. It's amazing how much better they drank from a bottle than from me! Do what YOU think is best. A happier mommy = happier baby no matter if they have formula or breastmilk. 4 months is something to be proud of!

  2. I agree, great job on the 4 months! I think there are often disappointments with our newborns...for me, it was that I wasn't able to get Kai out vaginally and ended up with a C-section. It was something I actually had to grieve and still sometimes feel like a failure. Talking about it does help.

    I'm so happy for you that he takes formula so well, what a relief and it sounds like it's working well in the sleep department!

    I'm sorry you've been doing so poorly health wise, it doesn't help when you are functioning on less than optimal sleep.

    By the way, I'm a big blog processor too:)

  3. hey, four months is awesome!! way to go :). (and you're so right about the bright side of formula - you can go out and not stress, it's easy to keep track of how much your baby is eating, and it's one step closer to drinking from a cup - win/win!)

  4. I read this today:)

  5. I used to write a journal on the computer just for myself. I'd write whatever I was thinking about and wanting to express or get out of my system. It was a way to vent, analyze things, put things together, and just say what I wanted and was feeling inside. It was a huge help in wrapping my head around some things. Simply writing it out for myself made a world of difference. With blogs, you probably won't go as deeply or personal, since others are reading it, but the benefit of a blog is that other people ARE reading it and can support you and share their own experiences as well.

    You're not a bad mother at all. Having a baby and taking care of it, especially your very first baby, is a huge change and a big responsibility. It's a big adjustment. You've got expectations or things that you hope or expect and when it doesn't quite turn out like you wanted or believed, it can feel like you must be doing something wrong. But people have been having babies since the dawn of time with a LOT less information and support networks than people have today, and they still did fine. Just imagine poor Eve (Adam's wife) having her first baby! She was the first mother and all she had for support was Adam. Poor woman. But she managed. :)

    You've got tons of support and information unlike most mothers in all of history. Though there are lots of expectations out there about what you should and shouldn't do, the truth is that some of this stuff changes so much its hard to keep up. Every baby is different. You'll probably find that your next one is a completely different experience from Noah. All you can do is take the information you have and adjust it and your plans as needed so that both you and the baby are happy and healthy. Your baby and life with that baby isn't a contest, and formula vs breast milk at this stage isn't a big issue, even though it may feel like it. As long as he's getting enough food, that's what counts. You ARE a good mom and you'll only get better with experience. :)