The closer we got to having Cora the weirder my dreams became (one of which I gave birth to Danny Devito). I had one where my whole family was over for Christmas and I had gone to the kitchen to grab something and when I came back my entire family was taking turns breast feeding my kid. The main one that stuck with me was one where I was in my bedroom and I was watching myself breast feed my baby and noticed that I was wasting away. I was literally deflating like a balloon until all that was left was a gigantic boob–and so began my breast feeding venture. I spent much of my time reading about breastfeeding to mentally prepare myself for what was to come. I thought that it was going to be easy- put the boob in the mouth- take the boob out of the mouth—how hard could it really be? Let’s all laugh together.
When Cora was finally born and they latched her on to start feeding I was excited that it seemed to come easy for us and that I was able to provide that source from my own body. I wanted to experience that bond that people talk about when you breast feed your own child—and if it’s something that worked out for you I want you to know I’m jealous–because, unfortunately, after that first time it became one of my biggest nightmares.
Hours after that first latch it came time for another feeding and this time I was on my own. I could not figure out how to get her to properly latch on—which I hear is COMPLETELY normal—it’s new for both of you. We had the nurse come in and re-show us how to do things at least several times and each time it seemed to work, until we were on our own again. Then came the cluster fuck…I mean cluster feeding sign that started to rear its ugly head. Up until this point I thought that aside from the latching issues everything was going great! Once we got her latched she held up her side of the bargain and fed, but it only lasted a few minutes before she would become frustrated and start crying- and it went on like this. For 2 days. Danny and I even noted how it seemed like our baby was the only baby crying non-stop and we could not figure out how the hell to console her. The nurse mentioned that my supply could be a little low and suggested maybe giving her a few sips of a bottle just to tide her over. I pulled out my handy dandy Google bar and asked it if giving my newborn a bottle would ruin the chances of her breast feeding. I asked the nurse the same thing and after several reassurances we caved and give her a small bottle- and you know what—she freaking SLEPT! It may have been for a short period of time but she slept.
Fast forward to when we finally got to take our sweet girl home. We were still getting used to her cues and cries telling us she was hungry- but it seemed non- stop. She slept for maybe 10-15 minutes and she would just wake up screaming – HANGRY screaming- and me being the stubborn ass that you all know and love- refused to give up my breast feeding dream and tried to get her to latch and like many times before—it didn’t work. I saw so many stranger’s boobs as I Googled how-to videos and diagrams because it had to be something I was doing wrong. I would keep trying to make it work or correct what I was doing and Cora would just get pissed- we both would. Two days later I had an appointment with the Lactation Consultants to make sure things were going okay and I assured them that they were….NOT okay. These women I worked with were amazing. They made me feel valid and that I wasn’t failing when I felt like I was. They showed me some tricks and recommended pumping, breast feeding, and if needed…supplementing.
To you mamas that have had to endure the grueling routine and stuck to it until the bitter end—hats off to you. I felt like all I was doing was pumping and attempting to breast feed and ultimately supplementing because as usual the feeding wouldn’t take. I was a human feed bag half the time and the other half I was a cow hooked up to a milking machine. By the time I was done with the routine it was time to restart the whole process again- 24/7. I didn’t enjoy it and I hated that I didn’t enjoy it. Why couldn’t I do this? Weren’t we born to be able to do this naturally? It was supposed to bring Cora and I closer together—we were supposed to bond this way. Truth is we both bonded over hating breast feeding—and I knew this wasn’t right—so back to the Lactation Consultant we went.
This time they recommended some vitamins/teas that I could help my supply come in. I kid you not when I tell you I left that place and drove all over Fargo spending over $100 on nasty tasting teas and vitamins because I was desperate to make this work. When I wasn’t stuck in the feeding routine I was concocting potions to drink that Pinterest told me would help my boobs produce what they were supposed to. I stayed on the pump routine and added a vitamin regime and guess what… not a fucking thing happened. I was still only able to pump maybe ½ – 1 oz per boob. Cora was starving. I was defeated. Danny was probably losing his mind between mine and Cora’s fits. We were maybe 2 weeks in and we decided enough was enough. We had no formula on hand, we lived 45 minutes away from any stores and since it was at an ungodly hour they were all closed anyway—then we remembered that we had gotten samples of formula in the mail when we signed up for some parenting stuff. It was the most rewarding and upsetting bottle ever given. Cora was satisfied and I was done. I knew that was the end of the breast feeding for us. I went to my last appointment with the consultant and had the hardest time telling them because I didn’t want to disappoint them. I think they were more relieved than I was when I finally told them I was giving it up.
Looking back now I regret beating myself up about it. I regret not caving sooner because I knew Cora was hungry but I had it in my mind that I had to breast feed. It took me a very long time to realize that I don’t need to have Cora chewing on my boob for us to bond. We can and have bonded over many bottles–not to mention Danny was able to bond with her during feedings, too! We didn’t ruin our kid or cause any medical issues by giving her a bottle. In fact, unless sassiness is a side effect from formula Cora is the kindness, smartest, most amazing being I have ever met in my life. It was the right decision for US and it was the best decision we made. Truth is, it’s not for everyone. As long as you feed your kid—how you choose to do it is your business. There is no wrong way to nourish your child and don’t let any person, video, or Facebook post tell you differently.
Whether you breast feed, bottle feed, tube feed, spoon feed..WHATEVER—you are an amazing parent and you are doing just fine!
And as always— you got this!
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