Monday, June 9, 2008

To boob or not to boob

Let me start out by saying this about what I'm going to write. I have to call it "boobing" instead of the real word so the psycho believers that think you're the devil if you don't boob won't google my buns and write threatening messages to me about how my children will turn into goblins or gremlins if I don't boob.

Secondly, this is a VENTING post to get it all out of my system. This is my own way of therapy for myself. I'll probably read this post over and over each of my 11 days left and it will help me arrange my thought process about the entire matter. I know many of you are either for boobing or against it, or could care less. That's great, just don't think you're comments will convince me either way. I'm not writing this to be convinced. BUT, don't get offended either, just let me get it all out.

Let me start from the beginning so you know my history of boobing. When Jake was born I was a naive little 22 year old girl who thought boobing your children was something every woman was born with the ability to do. No one really warned me of the struggles, the sweat, the blood (literally), the pain, the hard ache, the frustration...the list goes on. So when Jake popped out, I of course began the "idea" of boobing him. The hospital experience was crazy. I had about 30 different people from nurses to doctors to lactation consultants in my room every second asking me if I'd boobed him or not, how long, which boob, did he latch, etc. More people had their head all in my boobs in that 2-3 day period than ever before in my life combined. It was a blur. It seemed like everyone who TRIED to help me just made things more complicated. Everyone had a new idea or a new way to hold him, a new method for me to try. Nothing worked. I was frustrated, but I knew once I got home, I would be alone and could focus more on what worked for ME AND Jake.

Once home, it just got worse. The thought of boobing consumed my life. I would dream about it when I was asleep, think about it when I was awake. It seemed like nothing else mattered except THAT. I had nipple shields, breast pumps and even tubes that were supposed to "trick" Jake into thinking milk was coming out. There were so many contraptions available for me to use I didn't have enough hands for them all. I got so overwhelmed that I began to get pretty depressed. So depressed in fact, that I would consider those first few months, some of the WORST months of my entire life. I would lay on my couch in pain as Jake would cry and cry in his bed. I didn't want anything to do with him because anytime I held him I could only think about WHY I couldn't accomplish something that was supposed to be so natural for a woman.

I ended up giving up on the actual boobing and turned to pumping only after about 1 week of being home. Thinking this would solve all my problems, I was wrong. I became a pumping mad woman. I pumped ALL the time. I pumped during the night, I pumped during the day, I pumped in the car, I pumped at friends' houses. After about 4 weeks of pumping, my boobs became severely cracked and mutilated. I ended up getting mastitis in both boobs at the same time and even after that, I pumped until I couldn't take it anymore. I couldn't keep up. I quit. But, I felt so much better afterwards. All the depression left with the pump I threw in the garbage. The clouds opened up and the sun shined, there was hope.

Because of this horrible experience, I vowed never to attempt boobing again. The day before Kora was induced I wrap my boobs up tightly in an ace bandage and kept them wrapped up until my milk went away. She never saw a boob and was strictly a formula baby from day one. I was okay with this, but I KNEW from the way she sucked on her bottle that she was different than Jake. I had guilt because I wondered if she would have been able to make it work? Maybe I should have let her try? Jake was such a dead fish as a baby and Kora just seemed so much more aggressive when she ate.

SOOOO, that brings us to birthed baby number 3. Here I am finding myself in the same situation as with the other two. Do I boob? Do I attempt another stab at this? This could possibly be my last child, my last and final chance to see if I can make it work. I worry that if I DON'T try, I'll have regrets, but if I do?? Will I over stress myself? Austin asks me why I even consider putting myself through this again. He said I shouldn't even worry about it and avoid it all together, but he's not a woman. He doesn't understand that I'll have guilt if I don't at least try.

The thing that makes me the MOST angry is when people try to tell me to do THIS or THAT like every boob is made on an assembly line and they should all work perfectly. It seems like everyone I talk to has a new idea or a secret they wanna share with me to make it work. That's not the case with me. I'm different, we all are. We all have different issues. I wish I had perfect boobs and boobing wasn't even a question with me. I'd love to do it. I want to feel normal. I think it's funny when people who CAN boob and have no problems tell me how much easier it is to boob than not. How much more convenient it is. Not that I don't believe you, I'm sure it is. But when you DO have problems boobing, it's not convenient at all. It's hard and it takes longer and it's frustrating. It consumes you.

Now, don't get me wrong. I admire all who can attempt this task and succeed. I wish that were me. BUT, I have to prepare for the worst. I'll probably try it out for a while. I'll give it all I've got and say lots of prayers to give me strength to get through it, but if I fail again and begin to get overwhelmed, I'll stop. For the sake of my sanity and to avoid my entire family being brought down by MY depression, I'll quit and at least I'll be able to say, "I tried."


Valinda said...

It was too long so I emailed it instead.

Anonymous said...

no guilt... hey we all do the best we can...

Tara said...

I like your attitude. I think it's great, give it a try, or quit if it doesn't work, WITHOUT guilt. Your right, everyone is different. But still listen partly to other moms, some of the different ideas are what helped me "get it right" with Eddie. I just went with my gut feelings, armed with all this knowledge from experienced friends, and that really great book, and followed Eddie's lead to figure out how to make it work for him, (and me). I'll tell you, it did feel good to finally have a good experience. I hope it happens for you on your third one too, but if it doesn't, I know alot of brilliant kids who were bottle-fed, and they are just fine. (btw, I think all the gadgets are stupid, except the heating rings, those rocked!) And honestly, the one thing I do think IS universal info, is that the more boob you can push into that hungry mouth, the less "blood and tears" you will have. Good luck, and if the library has it, check out that book I recommended. It helped me more than any other person. We are all different, but a general guide is sure helpful, you just tweek it to your needs. Ok, I know Lindsay is going to hate my long comment again. Sorry, I care and wish I could help out in some way. Good luck figuring it out Jess, and good for you with getting your feelings out. Bravo!

Amanda said...

Everyone is different and every babe is different. All the people I've been close to (including me) have had a hard time for the first month or 2. I would have quit w/o my mom supporting me and helping me work through the problems. I agree that a general guide book is a look up your problem issues and find solutions. I LOVE Dr. Sears Breastfeeding book. WELL worth the $ IMO. Good luck whatever you do:)

Unknown said...

First let me say that the most important thing is TRYING. If you try, and you can't... well then, you just can't! You shouldn't feel bad or guilty or anything else. Sometimes it is what it is. It doesn't make you a bad mom or anything like that!

I really hope you have better luck with this one. I got SO MUCH from nursing, and I really hope that you are able to experience that without too much additional stress. I will say that Addison cut teeth REALLY early AND was a biter, and she once made me bleed. Nursing was so painful where she'd bitten me that I would CRY while she was feeding. It would shoot from my breast to my back, all the way to my feet. It hurt so bad and seemed like it would NEVER EVER HEAL. I almost quit that week. I almost said, "SCREW THIS!" But I powered through it and after I got through those 2 weeks, I had 7 more months of wonderful nursing and I was so grateful that I got through the bad to get the good.

I am really sorry you had such a bad time before. The most important thing is not to beat yourself up. If it's hard, or if you ultimately can't do it, you need to understand that it's NOT a reflection on you or your relationship with your child. I am about as pro-breastfeeding as they come (I even VERY DISCREETLY nursed in public), but I definitely don't think it defines motherhood or any nonsense like that.

Oh, and I agree with the previous comment that you should try and listen to other mommies a little bit. The right person to help you can make all the difference in the world. I was lucky because I had a killer lactation consultant. The one I saw in the hospital SUCKED SO BAD. She was rude and impatient, I hated her. But my pediatrician recommended another one and she was a life saver.

ALSO, the wrong pump will hurt you more than it will help you. Medela Pump In Style is the ONLY way to go. I think you can rent hospital grade ones to try it out (you purchase the breast shields and tubing and such, you don't reuse those from other people).

And NOW I'm done!!

Lindsay said...

Since i've never boobed... i have no advice.... which i guess in your case is a plus. After our phone conversation i appreciated boobing a little more. WOW.... the things in store for me.

Deanna said...

We talked about this the other day so you know how I feel. I think we had similar experiences with Jake and Tara. I will tell you that after my frustrating experience with Tara (and tons of people grabbing my boobs and shoving Tara's face on them - as if I couldn't do that myself) I am glad that I tried and had some, although short-lived, success with Cate and James. My challenges (and reasons for quitting) with them were totally different than with Tara and I discovered that it wasn't totally me that was the problem with her. I went into TRYING the boob with Cate and James knowing that it may not work out and was therefore less stressed. I still remember the first time the 2 of them latched on because I was surprised and excited about how well they did.

And I want to thank you again for calling me after Tara was born and sharing your hard experience with Jake. I KNOW for sure that short conversation helped me feel MUCH better about my lack of success and helped keep me from getting more depressed about my "failure".

So I say, try it. If it works, great. If not, you know he will be just fine on formula.

Vagabond Mother said...

even if you don't try don't feel guilty

Didn't try with henry and life was hard enough

Tara said...

Sorry, I have one more thing to mention after reading the comments. I got a hospital grade pump from someone, (Medela), but it hurt to use it, it was too dang powerful for me, so I went with a good handheld. Just keep an open mind with everything, try different things, and you will find what works, and if it doesn't, don't sweat. I don't know if you feel the same, but I love how I can throw out a "mommy" issue and get TONS of response, from lots of different perspectives. It means you are loved alot Jess, and people want to help in any way so you can have the best experience possible. You never know when that one little bit of information is what turns the tide. Mommy girlfriends rock, don't ya think? :)

raschel said...

I loved this post and all the comments. I'm scared to death to boob, but I'm going to give it a try also. Luckily, I've known a lot of people that have tried it and really enjoyed it, and are very encouraging about it (i hate it when people are negative about the way you choose to feed your child). I had no clue you'd tried before...the issues you had are exactly what scares me to death...the depression of not being able to get it right, and being exhausted on top of it, and the bleeding/cracking. (One of my friends that just went through this said she didn't like the creams b/c her son wouldn't feed very well after she used them, even after wiping them off...her lac. consultant told her to express some milk and rub it on the nips and then let them air dry before covering them back up and the milk has some kind of helpful natural healing remedies...i just metion this b/c i'm trying to keep every little thing in mind that I can to try b/c I hate pain). BUT, I love your perspective on it. What are heating rings? Did you like your first pump...did you get one this time around too, if so, what did you get? Good luck w/ your decision. PLEASE let me know how it goes...and give me advice.

Amy Herfurth said...

Boob them if you got'em, smok'em if you don't!! You know what I say about this subject!

David and Teresa said...

Baby I think if you want to try then try. I had better luck with Lindsay and it was actually an enjoyable experience. I cried when I decided to stop but my goodness she was almost 2 when I stopped so i thought it was time. It is a bonding thing but if it does not work for you try not to beat up my precious daughter, Jess. I will say lots of prayers and hope that it works for you just so you can at least have a good experience with "boobing" as you call it. I love you dearly. Mutha