Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Skinny Baby & Disapointments

Since having my very first baby, I daydreamed of nursing him.  I was going to have a little guy that depended on me for nourishment and health.  I was going to be the perfect nursing mama.  And we were going to bond and be super close and cuddly.  But when they put little Sam in my arms, he refused to nurse.  Just turned his head away and screamed.  He didn't want me to hold him, he just wanted to be left alone.  It broke my heart in a million pieces.  He was in the NICU for a couple weeks with pneumonia and jaundice and had to have a feeding tube.  And I would go in every couple hours and we would try to nurse him as well.  I had doctors, nurses, and lactation specialists swarming around me telling me what to do, what I was doing wrong, how to fix things, and nothing worked.  I felt like a total mom failure.  Nursing mom's would tell me that there was no excuse for not breastfeeding when they would see me feed Sam with a bottle of formula.  I would hide in bathroom stalls to feed him out in public to hide from the criticism I would receive and to cover up the shame I felt for letting my baby down.  There was no explanation I could give the zealous nursers that was good enough reason for "poisoning" my child with formula.  So naturally, I cried... a lot.

With my second baby, I was set and determined to nurse full time.  Nothing was going to stop me.  The first time was just a freak thing because Sam had issues.  This time was going to be different.  Then once again, the baby got jaundice and me nursing him wasn't kicking it and he was still losing weight.  So I was told to just supplement.  It wouldn't affect my milk supply if I did it right... so they said.  Well, Nephi preferred the bottle.  He didn't want anything to do with that booby business once he discovered the convenience of the rubber nipple.  Once again, I went to see a specialist... who was about as helpful as my husband in the kitchen... which isn't saying much, sorry, sweetie.

But number 3 was going to be a charm right?!  RIGHT!?  Wrong.  Jaundice struck again, and this time I flat out refused to supplement... but his weight got dangerously low and the doctor told me I really needed to.  And told me to go to a lactation specialist who single-handedly dried me out when I took her advice.  It was SOOOO depressing.

Now, with number 4, I was just going to say screw you all, I am going to nurse this little guy and NO supplements AT ALL.  PERIOD!  I was going to make the necessary sacrifices (limit running and eating some foods my body liked to store on my thighs) and be the perfect nurser!  So when this little started showing signs of jaundice, I told our doctor that I wanted to ride through it with nursing only.  She told me she would feel better if I supplemented but she was respectful of my decision.  I nursed like crazy!!  My friends and neighbors hardly see me out because I am always at home nursing this little guy.  I was determined to do this!  But as the weeks went by, my confidence started wavering when I noticed all my friends babies were looking big and plump and my little guy was pretty much exactly the same.  He didn't seem to be growing.  His arms and legs got a little longer, and he just looked so skinny.  His diapers, size newborn, were falling off his non-existent butt. At a little over 2 months he was still wearing the newborn clothes as well.  I started feeling this horrible guilt that my pride and stubbornness were harming my little guy.

We went in for our 2 month appointment today, and I was right.  He wasn't getting enough from me.  No matter that I did and ate everything right, my body just isn't cutting it.  Joseph was 8 lbs at birth, he lost a pound with the jaundice, and today he is only 8 lbs 6 oz.  Not even on the growth chart!  I cried.  I felt like the worst mom in the world.  For not supplementing when I should have, and then for not producing enough to feed my baby properly.  What a loser.  And not just a one time failure... or a two time... a FOUR TIME breast feeding failure.

So tomorrow, I have to take him in to see a specialist... again.  They are probably going to tell me the same stuff I have heard before... give me the same advice I always get... and I hesitate to even write this post because I KNOW there are a bunch of well meaning readers out there that would love to give me their two cents... which, I know I have already heard a hundred times before.  So I am going to help you out, what I really want to hear from my friends is "That sucks!" or "I understand" or "Hurting for you..."  I don't need advice, I need hugs and listening ears.  And one day when you need the same, I will return the favor.

Now that my pity party and rant are over, I want to point out a few silver linings.  The most important thing is NOT the way I feed my baby, but it's that I do... and I do it the best I can for his optimal health.  I love my boys, and I wouldn't do or not do anything that would hurt them, ever.  I'm not a perfect mom, but I feel that I work hard to be the best that I am capable.  My boys well-being is the number one important thing, and I will do what I can to fulfill my mommy role and raise these boys to be healthy and strong men, mentally, physically, and emotionally.  It may not always go how I plan, but we get there in the end... eventually.



Jessie said...

Oh, so sorry! I had no idea that nursing has been a huge mountain that you've climbed again...and again....and again. You handled FB comments from oblivious friends who offered useless anecdotes of personal experience ( like myself) with such patience and grace. I'm once again impressed with how well you have clearly communicated what needs to be said

Jessie said...

...and I think anyone can see that you're doing an awesome job of being mom. I'm so glad our worth is not based on the our boobs+milk production and that if anything should receive applause it would be our commitment level + best efforts. I'm grateful that you explain things so well because most of the time I think people are oblivious to how hurtful they're being and (like me) are constantly trying to extricate their cowgirl boots from the back of their throat.

Ruth said...

You are a fantastic mom! My daughter wanted nothing to do with nursing. She did the whole screaming and not wanting too be held like that. I hope good things for you!

Ms. Tami said...

I'm sorry you are having a rough go of it. Not being able to nurse for all of babies needs is super hard on a momma. I promise you, it in no way reflects your mothering skills. WE MOMs REALLY MESS UP WHEN WE MEASURE OURSELVES AGAINST OTHER MOMS. Just because something works well for one mom and baby doesn't mean it works for all. If you need to supplement for Joseph. To flurish do it.

Jordan said...

I'm so sorry. I had baby #4 just a few days before you had yours and I have supplemented or gone to straight formula all of them. From multiple hour nursing marathons to trying every breast milk enhancer I could find (and enduring the fun side effects they gave me) to reading all the information from experts who assure me if I do XYZ that I'll have enough supply, I've been there and back again. Trying to do your best for your babies makes you a great mommy. I exclusively nursed my first baby for two months before finding out she was hungry all the time and not just colicky. Sometimes trying my best just doesn't cut it. It's evident that you love and care for your boys, which is far more important that if their milk comes from a breast or a bottle. You have permission to be free of guilt. :)

Bridget said...

I'm so sorry! I hope that the appointment goes well and just know you are such a great mom. Our 2nd girl was so teeny tiny and they sent us to the so sweetly named "failure to thrive" clinic. Well, long story short she is just fine and certainly thriving at 5. I think that all babies have to fit in the numbers they have but really they are all so different and when it comes down to it you will know what is right for him. Good luck to your cute family!

Lexi and Hector said...

The same thing happened to me.. With my last one I didn't wait for him to loose weight like my others had I went straight to formula . I seriously don't care what others think.. Breastfeeding is not for everyone. The most important thing is that your baby is healthy

Kellie said...

In my opinion, you are a perfect mom when it comes to many aspects of child rearing. And that includes how you feed your baby. Your determination to do what is best for your baby, be it bottle or breast, is inspiring. Your boys love you and that is the greatest measurement of your success as a mom.