Monday, April 29, 2013

You can't always give your children what you want: part 2

Fair warning- if you don't want to read about my breast feeding struggles, close the window and come back another day.  

And if you missed part 1, you're going to want to catch up by reading this post first.


After another two weeks of nursing Haddie Grace, supplementing her with a bottle, then pumping, and working on the therapy exercises to strengthen her jaw and suck I really don't feel like much has changed.  She is 5 1/2 weeks old at this point and although she still will nurse I don't feel like she is as vigorous as she was.  I don't think the exercises have increased her stamina at the breast.  I don't feel like she is getting any more from me than she was 4 weeks ago.  Honestly, she is probably getting less, who knows.

My daily "supplements" to try to increase my supply

After I stopped using the SNS and started to supplement with a bottle after each feeding, Haddie Grace started getting used to the ease of the bottle.  Essentially I think she is self-weaning right now because of the bottle.  (Not that there was much to wean from...)

Phoebe is a big help with the bottle...

Now I am only nursing her a few times each day because I know she's not getting much breast milk from me so it is not an effective use of time.  She has to get a bottle anyways, and let's be honest, with a baby and a toddler, time is a luxury.  I am still pumping 5 times/day so she is getting mostly breast milk in her bottles.

The disappointing scale that confirmed she is not getting very much milk from me

I really had hoped this would not be a repeat of my struggles with Phoebe, but unfortunately it has felt all to similar.  This time I am thankful that Haddie Grace will go to my breast and "nurse".  Phoebe would scream every time I tried to nurse her and it was heart breaking.  I really did struggle with feelings of rejection from my own baby.  I know Haddie Grace is hardly getting any milk from me when she nurses, but I can't yet bring myself to stop.  If nothing else it is a little taste of how things are "supposed to be".   I'm sure I will stop putting her to the breast to eat soon and I'm also sure there will be a more than a few tears on that day.

In all this I do still really struggle to understand why.  I am not devastated this time around- just frustrated and discouraged.  I honestly don't know what I could have done differently in the beginning to dictate a different outcome.  I have trouble accepting that I am one of the "rare" cases (according to all the books and websites) of women who don't produce enough milk.  I know lots of women don't produce an abundance of milk, but it still seems to be enough to keep their babies healthy and gaining weight.  I didn't want a lot, only enough, but I never had enough.  The lactation consultant even let me borrow this book and after scouring it, I can't find (and neither could she) find any reason for my low supply.

In my struggles with Phoebe, God taught me a lot about grace through several women who really came along side of me to love me and give me what I could not accomplish on my own.  Although this outcome is still not what I desired, I know that God is still good, still sovereign, and still working to sanctify me to become more like His Son, Jesus.

As I did with Phoebe I will continue to pump and feed Haddie Grace as much breast milk as I can out of the bottle.  Oh to be a slave to the pump again...  I pumped for Phoebe for 7 months.  This time my goal would be 5 or 6 months, but I'm not sure if I'll be able to make it that long.  We are moving in about a month (all the packing and unpacking is already stressing me out) and I have a toddler to care for this time around too.  One day at a time.  I really wanted to nurse my kids exclusively for one year, but I can't.  You can't always give your children what you want- it is a hard lesson to learn.

Umm, yes I ran upstairs to get something the other day and this is what I came back down to...

Also linking up with My Pregnancy Journal



  1. Jen, I had similar struggle with my Aymen Grace and also blogged about it this morning!! There were a few days where she would feed for hours straight and didn't seem satisfied!! That's usually indicative of a growth spurt.

    Is she gaining weight? If she's gaining anything (even if it's just a little bit) with breastmilk then she's getting more than you think!! Aymen Grace didn't gain for about a week and I didn't think I was producing anything either and tried everything in your picture. I was also pumping after every feeding. The more you pump, the more you body is triggered to produce milk. I saw a great lactation consultant who reassured me that we really don't know how much we're giving our BF babies because there's no way to measure so most of the time, we're giving more than we think we are!!

    I see that you had struggles with your first child breastfeeding. I'm sorry that you're going through this again!! I know it can be difficult especially when all you want to do is breastfeed.

    Don't give up...breastfeeding is a marathon, not a sprint!! It took us a good 3 months to figure everything out and now I'm producing milk like crazy. I'm feeding her and can still pump 3-4 ounces every morning to store but it wasn't always like this!!

    I'll say a prayer for you and your milk =)

  2. Hi! New follower from the blog hop! My Sophia never latched, I think it had something to do with her staying in the NICU for a week after she was born. I ended up EP'ing for a year with her. So sorry you are having to deal with this again. Hope it works out for you! I'm sure you have but have you tried gatorade? It seemed to help me with my supply while pumping. :)

  3. Breastfeeding is tough, even when there are no difficulties with lactation, latching on, and all of the like. Being dedicated to pumping, taking the "right" supplements, eating the right foods, and all of that is a lot of work! I wanted to breastfeed longer than I was able to and it was heartbreaking to have to turn to formula. Sometimes our best laid out plans don't work out. It is frustrating and sometimes painful, but I hope you find peace. You are a good and thoughtful Mommy.

  4. Thank you so much for sharing! I've had the same problem with my son and it was so hard to work past the emotions that came along with not being able to provide enough milk. It's taken me awhile to realize that there are some circumstances that I just cannot control.

  5. so sad about your struggle with breastfeeding and hope things get better, am sure she is getting enough although you feel she isnt otherwise she would cry.

    BTW am a new follower and just linked up to mommy mondays! hope you can follow back :)

  6. oh Jen! I just caught up on your BF struggles. I wish I had a answer. I'm happy you're sharing this, you never know who may have another tip that could help. I'm also happy to read that you are continuing and trying everything to make it work. I can remember being a slave to the pump. I would pump after feeding like you've described and then pump a few minutes before I expected his next feeding to "get the juices" flowing. Lots of messaging in between. Keep with it for as long as you're happy. The moment you feel defeated or literally deflated ask yourself if it's time to stop. You and your little ones deserve a happy momma so never let this get you down!!

  7. What a great post! I had a very similar story ( Because it was my first, I was completely and totally devastated and convinced myself that I was the worst mom in the world. I wish that I would have been able to find articles and blogs online that were supportive, but it seems like all I could find where things talking about how bad formula is for your baby.

    Now that it has been awhile, I am able to look at it rationally and realize that although it was a disappointment to not be able to nurse, it is really a very small part of the life that we have with our precious little girl.

    Thanks for the great read!
    Becky :)


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