Friday, March 6, 2009

I'm gonna vent so be prepared

I don't think I totally ever got into the BF issue with Ryan, or the sleep issue...I mean really into it. I might at onc time, maybe to explain my feelings on those subjects, or not. Who knows. Y'all know Ryan didn't really sleep through the night til he was 1 and we had to pay the consultant who was phenomenal (thanks Kalyn). But, there are so many other things related to it and how we coped, and what we did, and just really, what it did to us as people and as a family. BF is kinda the same way. Lots of issues, and I still have guilt, though I am really trying to get away from that place and look at it with a fresh perspective. Hopefully this will make sense as you read.

Our playgroup has a message board, like many do. We've had lots of babies born recently, 3 since January I think, and there have been a lot of 'baby' questions/comments on the board. Most of us have 2 yr olds and older so we're in a baby swing right now. Someone posted a question about breastfeeding, and we have lots of BF moms. I decided to check out some of their suggestions. I figured I could learn a thing or two, couldn't hurt. It is obvious some people feel very strongly about it, but as someone that tried and failed, I am much more cautious in what I say, and just want everyone to do what is best for them, and I'm open to formula or whatever needs to be done not just for the baby, but for the mom as well. I am not going to put myself through what I did with Ryan. Emotionally it was not a good place for me to be in.

So, I go to a website that some of the mom's posted, supposedly it has great ideas, a real miracle worker kind of thing. Right off the bat its pro BF, not a problem. Its not like you can find anything really negative about BF, other than lifestyle issues. So, I'm reading through some articles and it says you can never breastfeed a baby too much, but you can under bf. Ok. I'm no expert so I'm going with it. Then it takes the "feeding on demand" situation of infants and stretches it out, basically saying keep feeding on demand. This is where I start to get a bit skittish, but again, no experience so I keep reading. Then comes a question about using bf to get the baby to sleep. It goes on and on about how that is fine and normal, and she doesn't understand why anyone thinks this 'natural' way is a bad habit.

Now I'm getting uncomfortable because I know, habits are hard to break. You nurse a 4 month old to sleep every day/night you are still gonna be doing that when he/she is 1 without great effort to stop it. Then there is a section about sleep habits and how parents have unrealistic expectations about babies sleeping through the night. Basically, you should just deal. If your baby wakes up, nurse it back to sleep, no matter how many times or their age. Luckily (kinda) i'm reading this as a second time mom so I know not to be beating myself up about how this is exactly the opposite of what I think/did, but still, it bothered me. I started to question myself. Over a freakin website!

The articles keep going saying parents that try sleep training and any form of CIO are trying to make the baby fit into their life, instead of the other way around. Letting your child cry itself to sleep (in any method according to them) is terrible and Ryan will be scarred for life. He knows he was abandoned in his crib and will apparently never get over it. WOW. So I keep reading because its like a train wreck and I can't stop, still with this feeling of "OMG what have I done? What am I going to do?"

And then the BF stuff starts again, and I find out all these things like I didn't try hard enough, wasn't committed enough, and if I would have just accepted the fact that this baby was going to be attached to me 24/7 it would have been fine. It was all me being selfish. Feed him when he cries and thats it. Just do it. Stop worrying about trying to leave the house alone for 5 seconds or sleeping for more than 2 hrs at a time. Weight loss in a baby is normal, don't worry, cracked and bleeding nipples, oh well, ice it up. Other issues, too bad, just do it.

Needless to say, I finally had to stop reading because I just couldn't find anything helpful anymore. Yes I know its better for the baby and me, especially with my GD. I know it. I also know some other things about myself that might make it more difficult. Maybe I am selfish. I don't know. Really. I. Don't. Know.


Anna said...

I think everyone is different and every mom needs to do what is best for her. I BF both my kids and had two very different experiences with each. With Isabel she refused to latch on for the first two months, but I was dedicated in giving her the "best" and pumped for two wholes months. Looking back I realize I could have gotten a lot more sleep if I hadn't been pumping after each time I fed her in the middle of the night. I would give her a bottle, pump, go to sleep, and before you know it, it was time to feed her AGAIN! But at two months she latched and it was MUCH easier w/o pumping. Lucas on the other hand latched on right away, 5 minutes after birth! I felt so relieved and so happy. He did nurse every half hour at first but he did eventually get into a routine of every 2 hours during the day and at about 4 months was just waking one to two times at night for feeding. By seven months however he was going all night without a feeding. Even though I did the whole on demand thing he seemed to figure it out. I stopped BF at about 9 months for him and at 7 months for Isabel. I did the whole 6 months of exclusive BF then started supplementing and eventually stopped both times. At one they haven't had THAT many sleep issues. Isabel was fine byt 13 months we had no sleep issues. Lucas was fine until we moved here to our new home back in October and he then started waking up ridiculously early. He is getting better though and he has slept through the night since seven months old; he is just an early riser & I am coming to accept that. Yesterday he slept until 5:30am and I rejoiced! Today he only made it until 4:40am but that is my fault as I put him to bed a tad earlier bc I was just so damn tired last night! :) Anyways, sorry for the novel the point is every child and mother is different. Looking back I wouldn't have pumped like I did for Isabel for Luke bc I wouldn't have had the energy to do that w/two kids to take care of, but with Isabel is was doable. I stayed at home and slept during the day with her, and Tom would also take an evening shift (since she took pumped bottles) which helped too. Do what is best for YOU. Baby will be fine. Both my kids got some formula and are okay. Sometimes to me it was just easier to BF bc I had their food supply always with me. No packing bottles. As for the nipple pain, Lanolin worked well for me until I got used to BF.

Lizzie Fish said...

um, no, brandi you are not selfish and you are not a terrible parent. that website is bullshit.

Our Family of Four said...

I was all prepared to NOT breastfeed Max but I gave it a shot because I thought I should. Well he was a champ from the first second! I found it easier to not clean bottles and, like Anna said, the food was always with me. I say give it a go but if it doesn't work for you then give him bottles. I wasn't breastfed and I think I turned out alright ;o)

Oh and Liz is right, that website is bullshit. Must have been some La Leche nazis!

Last comment... promise! The family pic is soooo cute!!!!

Judy said...

Brandi! OMG-what judgmental bitches. Sorry, but true. That's HORRIBLE that they would publish that and not think of peoples' feelings and the repercussions. Insane.

I have VERY similar issues with you about BF...and frankly still (what are we nearly 3 1/2 years out) have guilt issues. I BF Molly 5-6 weeks and finally gave up because Rich left a week later and he wanted to be able to feed her before he left and the pumping wasn't working out and whatever...emotionally I was a WRECK while BF. Afterwards, I was so much better, but the guilt tore me down at times, so I KNOW how you feel.

Most important thing is that you are doing what's right for YOU and your family. I now know 6 moms who have kids our age and a second under a year old. ALL 6 of these moms didn't BF longer than 6 weeks with their first and are successfully BF their second. SO-it all depends.

Like you, I'm gonna take it in stride and hope for the best. We'll get through it! Hang in there and for God's sake, don't listen to those BF Nazis!