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Thread: I'm tired of feeling like a failure

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Bay Area, CA
    Posts
    4

    Unhappy I'm tired of feeling like a failure

    Hi everyone. I'm new to these forums, and honestly I'm glad I've joined. I've been trying to do everything myself and have had no luck. Here's my story...

    I was induced at 37 weeks, 5 days (on August 1st) with my daughter due to preeclampsia. It took all weekend for the contractions to actually put me into labor and our little angel was born 3 days later (August 3rd) at 7pm. The entire time I was on Magnesium Sulfate. Due to that nasty drug, our daughter would not wake up at all for basically the first week. We were not able to breastfeed and were instructed to give her a bottle to supplement until we were able to try. BAD IDEA as she got used to the bottle and then REFUSED to take the breast. We saw several Lactation Consultants who ended up just as frustrated as we were. DC would either sleep the whole appointment or would just scream because she wanted a bottle, not the breast. I decided to try a nipple shield and actually got her to latch with it, but she would take forever eating (she would be on the breast for over an hour at a time). she eventually got frustrated because she was not getting it fat enough as she was with the bottle (even though we were giving her slow flow nipples.)

    I decided to just pump and give her a bottle. Well, my milk supply took forever to come in (again mag sulfate is a nasty drug) and the pump I had was very poor. I was not able to purchase or rent a better pump at the time. My milk supply dwindled and we gave her formula. I got discouraged and even felt like I was failing my daughter. My whole pregnancy, the thing I looked forward to the most was breastfeeding. I was bitter that I felt like this was taken away from me.

    Here I am, 6 weeks later, and I WANT to do this. My supply was basically nil, and I've been taking fenugreek and mother's milk tea non stop. I smell like syrup, I'm peering constantly because I'm drinking so much water trying to stay hydrated, and my supply is VERY slowly starting to come back. I've rented a hospital grade pump too. I'm hoping to get a good supply that would be the equivalent of her drinking from the bottle. I've also been doing lots of skin to skin, warm compresses, and massage. Does anyone have any suggestions of anything else I can try? I'm going to buy some oatmeal today in hopes that will help out as well.

    My next issue is this: She does not like the breast. I REALLY want to breastfeed but she just gets so frustrated. I've tried the baby-led latch, and she wiggles her way to the nipple, latches for a second, then gets upset like I tricked her or something. Is there ANYTHING I can do to overcome this barrier? I honestly do not feel like a true mother because I can't breastfeed. I know that's harsh, but that's the easiest way I feel right now.

    I'm sorry this is so long, but if anyone has ANYTHING at all, please share. Encouragement, advice, suggestions. I need it all at this point. TIA!
    Rylie Alexandra
    Born 8/3/09
    6lbs 4oz


    www.brindlepictures.shutterfly.com

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    NoVA
    Posts
    1,535

    Default Re: I'm tired of feeling like a failure

    It sounds like your doing everything right mama, I'm so sorry that you've had such a hard start.
    The thing I would suggest is time. Keep doing what your doing, but it takes time. I've heard stories of moms with babies doing the same thing, absolutely refusing to latch and one day.. they do. Maybe they don't nurse full time, but they nursed!
    Skin to skin is SOOO important as you know. Keep doing that as much as you can. Keeping the breast a safe and nice place to be is key. If either of you is frustrated or getting angry, back off and try again later.
    Do you have a sling that you could wear her in? That would be good too.

    Try nursing after a bottle, in the middle of a bottle, before/after a pacifier. When she's sleepy at night or during a bath. Try maybe walking around (easier said than done at first of course) and just keep trying.

    You can do this!!!
    Jessica
    LLL Leader

    Breastfeeding is an instinctual and natural act, but it is also an art that is learned day by day.

    Visit LLL of Ashburn PM's Blog!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    NoVA
    Posts
    1,535

    Default Re: I'm tired of feeling like a failure

    Oh and I also wanted to say that YOU are not a failure. You were failed in a lot of ways with the circumstances you were put in, that's not your fault.
    It's ok to give yourself time to grieve what you've lost.
    Jessica
    LLL Leader

    Breastfeeding is an instinctual and natural act, but it is also an art that is learned day by day.

    Visit LLL of Ashburn PM's Blog!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Bay Area, CA
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: I'm tired of feeling like a failure

    Thank you Jessica, I really appreciate your reply. I know I personally am not a failure, it's just how I feel right now. I know it was definitely the circumstances, but it just really sucks

    I have a homemade moby wrap and I wear her in that as much as possible (skin to skin). Are there any other supplements I should try in conjunction to the Mother's Milk Tea and fenugreek? Maybe throw in some blessed thistle? I just want to cover all of my bases (and I know it might take a while).

    We haven't taken a bath together yet, I've only bathed her in the sink so maybe we will try that tonight before bed.

    Thank you again for your suggestions and if you can think of anything else please let me know!
    Rylie Alexandra
    Born 8/3/09
    6lbs 4oz


    www.brindlepictures.shutterfly.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    20,999

    Default Re: I'm tired of feeling like a failure

    I'm sorry you've had such a rough time with nursing. Please know that you are not alone- so many women struggle! I did, and I had all the same feelings of failing at motherhood. But I later realized that just because breastfeeding is natural doesn't mean it's easy!

    I think LLLJessica gave you great suggestions for getting the baby back to the breast. A few more things you can try include:
    - Dripping a bit of milk or formula onto the nipple before latching the baby on. The taste of immediate gratification may make the baby suck longer.
    - Trying a supplemental nursing system. Getting the SNS positioned right is a bit tricky, but it allows you to supplement the baby on the breast, no bottles necessary.
    - Going back to the nipple shield. It's a pain in the rear, but you can wean from it further down the road, and if it encourages latching, it's worth it.
    - Making bottlefeeding as much like breast-feeding as possible so that the baby associates being at the breast with being fed. When it's time to bottlefeed, open your shirt, and cuddle the baby close to your bare breast. Tickle her lips with the bottle nipple until she opens WIDE- don't let her learn sloppy latch habits from getting a bottle popped into a half-open mouth. Try to pause the feeding after every ounce or so of milk/formula so that the baby gets used to the natural ebb-and-flow rhythm of breastfeeding.

    When it comes to increasing supply, it sounds like you are doing all the right things. Pump frequently (I pumped for 10 minutes per side every 2 hours during the day and every 3 at night and saw good results in a couple of weeks). Try power pumping- pump for 10 minutes, rest for 10, pump for 10, rest for 10, and finally pump again for 10 minutes for a total of 30 minutes of pumping in an one-hour period. Power pumping is supposed to mimic the way a baby feeds during a growth spurt. Finally, you may want to talk to your LC and your doctor or midwife about prescription drugs which can increase milk supply. Reglan (available in the US) and Domperidone (Canada and EU) are anti-nausea drugs which can increase milk supply as a side-effect. Both have additional side-effects and are not for every mom, so discuss them with your health care providers before taking either one.

    Hang in there!!!
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  6. #6

    Default Re: I'm tired of feeling like a failure

    I don't have much to add to what previous posters have already written - I just wanted to say don't give up! It took me and my baby almost 2 months to get there, but in the end we did, and she is now 100% breastfed.

    What worked for me to get her to latch on:
    co-sleeping (second half of the night);
    lots of skin to skin in the sling (wrap);
    taking baths together (just for fun. Usually she wouldn't latch on in bath);
    and most importantly, getting rid of the pacifier.

    My baby was also terribly frustrated with the slow flow of milk. Again, what really worked for us was getting rid of the pacifier, co-sleeping and nap-nursing. This way she began to latch on not necessarily when she was hungry, but when she wanted to suck. At first she'd nurse only lying down in my bed in the morning, then she started to nurse during nap times.
    (Breast compression is said to help some people - but didn't work for us).

    For supply - pumping with a hospital-grade pump every 3 hours during the day (at night there was a 6 hour break sometimes, but soon enough she began to nurse in her sleep), oatmeal, mother's milk tea and dark beer.

    Only now do I realize how hurt I was every time my baby refused the breast. I blamed the whole world, especially the pediatrician and pediatric GI specialist (who had convinced me to stop BFing when the baby was labeled "failing to thrive"). But I think that I was ultimately blaming myself - thus feeling not only pain but also guilt. You are not a failure. Give yourself space to mourn what you've lost, but have faith that you WILL get the chance to compensate yourself and your baby for it.

    Without my local LLL leader I would never have made it. She helped me changed my attitude to my "breast quest" - which is probably the most important thing she did for us. As you probably know... it is really, really hard to walk around the house for 45 minutes with no shirt on, trying to convince the frustratedly crying baby in your arms to latch on, AND remain positive... I think the key for me was not to focus on what I felt was her refusal of "me", nor focus on her frustration, but instead to think of it as a learning process and believe that she could and would do it in the end. And she did.

    So in addition to following the great advice from other posters, I would try to find a really good support person - preferably someone who knows a lot about BFing.

    Hang in there. You can do it!

  7. #7

    Default Re: I'm tired of feeling like a failure

    Hi there!!

    I went thru a similar birth with my son. And as he slept and slept (and slept) I sat in the hospital and continusly pumped!

    I had so much milk i was forced to ask my neighbors to use there freezers.

    Im only 21 and no one in my family EVER brestfed. So im sry if i dnt have much advice for you...the only thing i suggest is just keep pumping!!

    I took my abudant supply for granted and now my son is 6 months old and im down to my last bags of mik b/c i stopped pumping....
    Cakelicious**

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