Reality Check: Breastfeeding is Hard!

I feel like an ill-equipped mother. I want to breastfeed my sweet little one and it seems like everything is in place to do so- she is latching and I am producing- but we are struggling.

Or maybe it’s just me who is struggling.

She shows signs of hunger, so I feed her.

She falls asleep soon after.

I wake her up. Take off her clothes, make her feel uncomfortable by putting a cool washcloth on her body, tickle her feet, mess with different body parts.

She awakes, recommits to eating.

…Falls asleep.

This happens multiple times in the 30 minutes she remains latched.

When she pushes away and seems to be satisfied.

I burp her.

Waiting for her eyes to open up again and for her to begin rooting, I change sides.

Same issue: different side.

I become frustrated.

What is going on my sweet little one?

Are you tired from all the work of sucking? I know, this is so much harder than the bottle and even harder than the umbilical cord that just put food into you for the last 10 months.

She will go for 10-15 more minutes and then give all the signs that she is done.

Limp arms, open hands, eyes rolled back in her head.

I think she is full and so I change her diaper, re-clothe her and she is out.

For 15-20 minutes.

Then she is fussy, squirmy and putting her hands near her mouth.

Really?

Still hungry?

Ok- so I proceed to feed her more.

10 minutes of feeding and then she is milk drunk.

Is she done?

I hope she is full.

I am tired and wanting to take nap- sleep when she sleeps is what I’ve been told.

I put her down, ready to take my nap- and she stirs.

Still hungry.

I don’t know what to do. How often to keep feeding her these little amounts?

I cave.

1-2ounces of expressed milk delivered via bottle.

The easy way out.

She sleeps for 3-4 hours.

I am so tempted to just stop breastfeeding all together.

The bottle is easier for her, for Hubby, and possibly for me as it would be more time back in my day to take care of me and do other things.

But I don’t want to just be a milk factory- I want to breastfeed.

I am conflicted because I thought this would be easier.

No one told me how hard breastfeeding is.

Why is it so hard to feed my baby?

What am I missing here?


Another scenario:

I take a nap and while I’m asleep, Hubby and I miscommunications and he feeds her a 4oz bottle.

I wake up from my nap an hour later, ready to nurse, and surprised to see her nursery door still closed.

Shouldn’t she be up by now?

I ask and that is when I find out the reality.

I began to cry.

What is wrong with me that I can’t feed my baby enough food to help her sleep?

I am so scared of my milk production going down because I am not feeding her when she is hungry that I immediately hook up to the breast pump.

I am scared that I am doing it wrong.Image result for frustrated mom

Scared that she is going to get used to the bottle and reject me.

Scared that my milk production is going to be so out of whack because sometimes I feed and sometimes I pump, that I won’t be able to continue this beautiful act of producing food for her.

I’ve heard that she is young and still practicing this whole eating thing.

To give her grace as she will get tired from sucking for 30+ minutes.

I just don’t know how to take care of myself and sleep when she is eating little bits every so often.

I think I need a day when I just commit to not giving into the bottle and just feeding her, little as it may be and as often as it may be.

How will I get the sleep I need?

I’m not sure- but others seem to be doing it without the bottle. Maybe I’m just enabling her.

My expectations are off–  I didn’t know it would be like this…

She latches well, I have milk- what’s the issue?

I thought it would be easier, but it’s not.

It’s not just me, it’s the way this whole thing works.

God help me be patient with her… and with me.


A FEW DAYS LATER

We tried getting her on a 3-hour schedule of feeding and she was just so sleepy during the breastfeeding portion that we would attempt for a minute and then go straight to the bottle.

It just wasn’t working.

We are now back to letting her sleep until she naturally wakes up.

Little Princess feeds her from me first (which when she is awake is about 20 minutes)

Tops her off with the bottle (which is typically 1-3oz depending)

Play with her

Put her to sleep for another 4 hours.

I still have the twinge of “I’m not a good enough mother to be able to provide her the full meal”, but then I realize, it’s not me. It’s not my ability to provide.

It’s her stamina.

She’s just a sleepy baby.

I keep telling myself- the most important thing is that she is loved, she is safe, she has a full belly and she has a place to sleep.

It’s my ego, my pride, my fear that is keeping me away from the peace and serenity of this season.

I decide to push away the negativity and instead embrace the hours in between when I get to rest and recover while enjoying the moments I get to hold her close.

I’m not a bad mother. We are all just learning.

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Rejoice in Hope

I all too often fear of letting myself become too vulnerable at the thought of what is possible. As I have been on this journey towards growing a family, I have felt pretty guarded from the rejection of not being able to have a baby. The shield of ‘I don’t get a period’ protected me from thinking too much into growing a baby inside of me.

If I don’t let my mind ‘go there’ then I’m safe.

As I have been on this journey towards growing a family, I have felt pretty guarded from the rejection.

The shield of ‘I don’t get a period’ protected me from thinking too much or anticipating what might be or wondering when I would have the opportunity to grow a baby inside of me.

In many ways, I was able to keep my expectations quite low for what starting a family would look like for my husband and me.

Both of us desire to adopt and talk as though that is a given, yet if I was honest with myself, I continue to have a little hope in God’s amazing All-Mighty power of being the ultimate healer.

If God wants us to be pregnant, I will be pregnant, regardless of a period. I mean come on… He did create this world and everything in it… the stars, the land, the animals… I think he can connect an egg to a sperm… (too graphic?)

Well… now I have had a period and my shield has been taken away. I feel vulnerable to the thoughts of excitement and anticipation of the ‘what ifs’ and ‘could it bes’….

An igniting of hope that had been dormant since I was in my teens.

In reading Romans 5 this morning, and the only phrase that continued to stand out to me was, ‘rejoice in hope of the glory of God…’.

What an interesting phrase of permission.

That this hope of the glory of God and his sovereignty, grace, love brings excitement, anticipation, comfort and it is to be rejoiced in. To celebrate and live into the wonder and curiosity of the future and unknown.

To celebrate and live into the wonder and curiosity of the future and unknown.

In my dating years, I remember this same gitty excitement. Praying for Gods’ will to be done and for this to be ‘The One’.

At times I labeled it ‘Hilary just being a girl’, and then I began to give myself that permission as stated in Romans 5- knowing this amazing God we serve, who loves us, works miracles on our behalf.

The hope of what is possible, from the impossible.

The rejoicing in the hope, as well as the suffering, because it’s through these moments in life that we get to grow, change, experience and feel.

Today, I will rejoice in the hope of what is possible with God, even if it means becoming vulnerable to hurt and sorrow because this is how I can allow myself to fully live a life of faith and trust in the unseen and the yet to be revealed.