When to say enough
Well, it has been 15 weeks since my LO was born and any progress we had made seems to have gone down the drain. That is probably my fault. I gave her a pacifier. Not a lot, just so I could detach long enough to go to the bathroom or get a bottle ready or when nothing else would calm her. Now I was checking on her tongue motion while eating because she was making a clicking noise while on the bottle like she did before she got her tongue tie fixed and it has been getting worse. She was barely making the wave motion at all. We started doing the tongue exercises again tonight and I will give them my best shot. But how long can I go on like this? I can't keep up this pumping schedule. I want to be able to leave the house and not run around like a crazy person trying to make it home in time to pump. I want to be able to visit my family with her that is 10 hours away, but I can't begin to attempt that if it takes 1.5 hours out of every 2 to feed her and pump.
I don't want to fail, but I don't know how long I can keep this up. And I don't know how to deal with the grief of losing this relationship with her. I never wanted her to be a formula baby and I am so ashamed every time I stand in the formula aisle. I hate the pity in my friends voices when they talk to me. I couldn't carry her to term because if my bicornuate uterus, I couldn't deliver her naturally for the same reason. Now I can't breastfeed my child. It's just so painful to me.
Re: When to say enough
The only one who knows when to throw in the towel is you. Only you can balance your ability to keep on trying to succeed at breastfeeding against your sanity, ability to mother, etc. All I can say is that I've been there- staring over the edge and contemplating giving up because nursing and pumping was consuming ALL my time, and my emotional and physical energy- and I'm very glad that I didn't quit. Because breastfeeding did get easier for me. I was able to get rid of the formula and the bottles and the pump, and simply nurse. And I know that if I had given up, the grief and guilt would still be consuming me. But that's me, not you!
Can you fill us in some more on what's going on with breastfeeding? Clicking isn't necessarily abnormal...
Re: When to say enough
Everything mommal said rings true to me too. I am also glad that I didn't quit. Although I also know that what you're going through is not without costs. Besides being absolutely crazy-making, it made me feel like I was missing out on the chance to relax and get to know my baby in favor of working SO HARD to succeed at breastfeeding (the way I had defined success at that point, anyway). It's a big trade-off. Personally, I am really glad I kept going because in the end it was worth it to me (a million times over) for myriad practical and personal reasons. But everyone is different.
Originally Posted by @llli*mommal
What I do know now that I wish I had known when I was in the middle of the constant pumping, trying to get baby to nurse, struggling with my milk supply, etc. was that this is very very temporary. It won't be like this forever. And one way or another, you will come out of this on the other side with an amazing toddler who will have benefitted from your milk that you worked really, really hard to provide. That's just the truth.
WHATEVER you do, don't beat yourself up because you give your baby formula. It's OK, really. You're working hard to make sure she has everything she needs and you're using every tool at your disposal to do it. That is what matters. I remember something my IBCLC said to me at one of my first outpatient visits with my baby, who had been discharged from the NICU the week before and was getting major formula supplementation while I struggled so much to get her to latch and while my milk supply was tanked. And I was sitting there crying because I had to give my baby formula and felt so ashamed and like such a failure. She is the director of the lactation program at the big Ivy League teaching hospital where my baby happened to be born and in the NICU, and she is extremely talented and wise and very accomplished. I was so upset, and she said, "look around this fancy hospital. Have you SEEN the doctors who work here? They are all incredibly successful by any measure, some of them famous, extremely smart, many of them exceptionally good-looking, too! And most of them are of a generation where it's safe to say that if you look at any one of them, they were likely to have been raised exclusively on formula. Do you think THEIR mothers feel like failures? You would sure hope not!" She is someone I now know well, and believe me, she is no fan of formula--her job is to get babies and moms breastfeeding. But she saw the pain it was causing me to even consider that that could be the ultimate reality for us... her point was, there is so much more to raising a healthy, successful child than whether you're able to exclusively breastfeed or not. It's a piece of the puzzle. When you have a 15-week old, it feels like the whole puzzle. But it's not. Still, is it a big deal to me? Yes, it is. It sounds like it's a big deal to you, too. But does it make you a failure if you can't do it perfectly? Not in a million years.