Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Thoughts on Breastfeeding

This post by one of my favorite bloggers got me thinking about this subject and I just want to write about my thoughts and experiences. I bounce between feeling incredibly guilty and then justifying my decision about doing what I needed to do.

Here's my story. I breastfed the boys until they were 6 months old. I think that was a pretty darn good achievement. They were big boys and ate a LOT. When they turned 6 months, I went back to work, they got hungrier and I just couldn't keep up. Plus, the pumping at work thing just wasn't working either. I did it for awhile, but after I realized I wasn't producing enough milk for them, I made the choice to go to formula.

My hope was to do the same for Amber, 6 months and then move to formula. I knew that I was going back to work after 4 months, but was committed to give it another try. I had finally purchased the industrial breast pump after the boys were about 4 months old.

When Amber was 7 weeks old, she came down with a nasty virus. She didn't eat for an entire day, we ended up in the emergency room and an overnight stay in the hospital. The Dr. thought it could be pyloric stenosis (that's another post...), but good thing it JUST ended up being a virus. Anyway, I pumped in the hospital, but my milk supply had already suffered and was being stubborn about coming back. I did get enough I think for her to be satisfied with, but I never really totally recovered.

In addition to that blip, Amber was sleeping most of the night. I was home on maternity leave with the 3 of them by myself and was exhausted most days. I just couldn't fathom setting my alarm to get up in the night to pump. I also couldn't get the time to pump during the day. So, after Amber was about 3 months, I gave up on the breastfeeding altogether.

Like I mentioned, I do have some regrets. I wish I would have put forth more effort, especially when I read comments like this...

"The benefits of breastfeeding last a lifetime. This is scientific fact. Children who are breastfed tend to be slimmer, smarter, and healthier as a group. Are there exceptions? Yes. Can formula-fed children be healthy, thin, smart, and happy? Of course. Should women be made to feel guilty for not breastfeeding? Most definitely not.
But, please, ladies, don't pretend the benefits of breastfeeding are fleeting as that's an insult to science and the millions of women worldwide who go to the trouble of breastfeeding."

So I am trying not to beat myself up and trying to tell myself that Amber is going to be happy and healthy despite my failure to breastfeed for longer than 3 months. I hope the 3 months gave her enough of a boost that she still gets a benefit from it.

Only time will tell, I guess.

1 comment:

Alwen said...

I came across your site through Spicy Sister's blog. I can sympathize with the whole guilt thing. I did breastfeed for quite awhile, but supplemented some with formula when I went back to school because it was so DAMN hard to pump. It would take me an hour to get 3 oz out sometimes. Ugh. I was also struggling with intense ppd and stress, so I'm sure that dropped my milk supply. Hey, we do the best we can and it seems like most of the time that's all our kids really need. Hope you come to some peace with this. You're obviously a very loving and patient mom :).