In Which I Consider Quitting

I don’t like to think of myself as a quitter.  I can stick it through on most things.  And part of my non-quitting is because I don’t like the thought of other people looking at me and thinking that I’m a quitter.  So instead of realizing my limits and drawing the line, I sometimes push past the point where maybe I should call it quits.

Jessica is only two weeks old, and our breastfeeding relationship continues to be rocky.  After not nursing Samantha at all (by choice) and then going to the opposite end of the spectrum and nursing Erica with ease for almost a year, I find myself in a difficult position right now.   Do I continue breastfeeding, through pain, cracked and sore nipples, and resentment and hope for the great yearlong nursing relationship I had with Erica?  Or do I stop now, have a couple of days of pain and engorgement, and then hope for the great yearlong bottle feeding relationship I had with Samantha?  I just don’t know the answer.

I hate the thought that I might be a quitter.  Having nursed a child for a year now, I do really realize the benefits and the ease that can come with breastfeeding.  Is that in my future with Jess?  If I stop now, will it be premature?  How long do I give it?

I have seen lactation consultants at the hospital and at home, and I try my hardest to do everything “they” say…so I know I’m trying my best and doing everything I can.  And obviously, I raised a beautiful, healthy daughter who never drank an ounce of breast milk.

So it must be the quitting thing.  I don’t want to be a quitter.  I don’t want to quit on Jessica.

I wish I knew what to do.

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13 thoughts on “In Which I Consider Quitting

  1. You have to do what is right for your peace of mind. I nursed through some pretty difficult struggles with my first 2 kids (details I’ll avoid in this forum), and my 3rd was even more difficult!! She was the painful kid!! However, I knew without a doubt it was what I wanted so I worked through it and it was great in the long run. Good luck and God Bless!

  2. I had a cracked nipple with my little guy and its AWFUL. And takes a while to heal. After we fixed his latch is was still another two weeks of painful nursing (just so you know, it takes a while to get better). But we came through and had a great nursing experience. Try taking a break on the sore side for 24 hours and see if it helps (that’s what I was told to do, it was exactly what I needed). Either way you decide, your child will be loved, and that is what matters.

  3. Kelly,
    Some mothers do find breastfeeding in the first few weeks to be exceptionally sore. Being sore is almost always about positioning. Your nipple is in her mouth, not down her throat. Sometimes all it takes is for the baby to get a little bigger and to get a little better at it for it all to work one day. Sometimes all it takes is for you to turn her more on her side, or pull her in a little closer, or to bring her more towards the centre. Sometimes its about hormones which give you sore boobs and nipples anyway.

    And sometimes its just too much.

    You are not going to be giving her poison by giving her formula. You are swapping the very best for almost the best. You know formula isn’t going to harm her – look at Sam.

    But, bear in mind that bottlefeeding will, long term, increase your workload. You’ll be swapping sore nipples and being the only one that can feed Jess for sterilising and prepping bottles and another pair of hands doing what can be a time consuming task. Its about balance and balancing your current family situation.

    And its your decision, you are the one in control here.

    Best of luck with whatever you decide.

    Sue

  4. When Brennan was born I thought nursing would be a breeze. It was a nightmare that I am terrified of reliving with this new baby on the way. We kept at it through the same things that you are going through only to have his severe reflux to deal with on top of it.

    When I thought I couldn’t do it anymore I gave him formula, and you know what? He was fine. It gave me a break and the ability to collect myself, regain my sanity, and try again a few hours later. After a lot of tears (mostly mine) and more than a few bottles of formula we both figured out what we were doing and I happily nursed him for 13 months.

    There is no right or wrong, you have to do what makes YOU happy! Hang in there….

  5. Kelly,
    I am really sorry you are having so many struggles. It has to be the most frustrating thing after having such a good experience with Erica!

    Justin was almost 12 weeks old before everything healed up and things started going smoother when I nursed him. I know there were quite a few reasons that I continued on despite all the pain and resentment, but I do think that the main reason was the same as yours. I didn’t want to quit. I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it.

    Looking back, I do consider it one of the greatest accomplishments I have ever had. The fact that I stuck with it and didn’t quit is still amazing to me. I have to say though, as proud as I am of myself and as many benefits that it provided Justin and as convenient as it was, I don’t know if it was worth it. It really did cause a lot of resentment during those first few months and because of all of the pain and chaos it caused I feel like I missed out on all the precious moments of him being a newborn. It took so long for our bond to form… much, much longer than it ever did with Jacob (who was bottle fed). And I felt like I wished his first year away, counting down the months until I could be done with it, as unfortunately it was never 100% pain free.

    I do know this is not a typical experience, and most women suffer through the first few weeks and end up having a wonderful nursing experience, I just wanted to tell you mine. After all, you, Rachel and Andrea, sat and listened to so many of my concerns at the beginning, so I thought it would only be right for you to know I am hearing your struggles as well.

    I do think, even after saying all that, that if we do have another baby, I will probably try to breastfeed again. I am hoping that what is happening in your case is true a lot of the time, and that even though you may have troubles breastfeeding one baby, there is always the chance you will have no trouble at all breastfeeding another.

    I do think if you hang in there a few more weeks, the chances that things will settle down are pretty good! But know that Jessica will be a beautiful, wonderful, little girl, breastmilk or not, just as you have proved with Sam!

    I wish you best of luck with whatever your decision is!

  6. I would talk to your doctor and maybe she can give some suggestions. I nursed for a short time (6 months) and because I had twins, I also bottle fed breastmilk and some special formula mixed with it. I had a lot of pain when they latched on and none when I pumped, so ultimately that is what I did. I would pump every 2-3 hours and use or freeze it, if they nursed it would drive me crazy! I had cracked nipples and mastitis. I did use the my breast friend or something (can’t recall name) it was a pillow to rest the baby on at the proper height. I tried the one for twins and it was alright, but not great. I ended up having so much more milk from pumping since it was not painful, I still have some in my freezer and they are almost 5. I hope you can come to a guilt-free resolution.
    Take care, God Bless!

  7. As you know Elly is my first, so I can offer little insight into this problem. However, I am going to tell you what my MIL told me: If you can’t breastfeed (or the breastfeeding is such a burden that it can no longer be enjoyable for either you or the baby), it’s OK to switch the baby to a bottle. This isn’t a matter of quitting or not quitting. It’s more important that the baby have a healthy and happy mom than it is to be breastfed.
    Do what is right for you and your family.

  8. Just read this & hope things have improved, but if they haven’t I will add my bit in. I ‘gave in’ after 5 or 6 days. It wasn’t due to my comfort but because my 3 week premature son wasn’t too keen! So my beautiful, big, healthy 20 year old too was bottle fed. In some ways I wish it hadn’t been the case but that’s about me not him. Actually he could have had chips & beer if it had helped to get us home from hospital!!!! Love the pictures on later blog btw!

  9. Wow, I feel your pain. Been through it myself two times. My first was a nightmare… I had cracks and bleeding on top of a baby that slept 5 hours between feedings and nothing could wake her to nurse.

    I spent the first few weeks (6) absolutely miserable. The nursing consultants weren’t much help. As I have learned since then, most nursing consultants haven’t had a baby or nursed themselves. Nothing like the blind leading the blind. :>)

    I got lucky though… I was talking with another mom at the dr’s office one day and we got to discussing nursing our little ones. She asked if I had heard of LLL. I hadn’t, so she told me about Le Leche League and how most areas had groups that met at least once monthly and that it was all breastfeeding moms that got together to learn and support each other in their breastfeeding relationships.

    I was not sure anything would help at that point, but I went to a meeting the next week. It was the best thing that I ever did. They were very welcoming, had many ideas to suggest as to how to get through my issues, and the leaders who were very good at what they did, took me aside and spent several hours that evening helping me latch my tiny little girl on to my milk cow sized breasts. It was amazing, within the first hour, I was really starting to believe that it didn’t have to hurt to nurse.

    The leaders of LLL were so nice, one invited me to her house the next day to spend the afternoon relaxing and nursing. She put me in a comfortable chair, gave me water and a snack and a boppy and helped me latch my little pumpkin on and taught me how to gently unlatch and re-latch if she started to slip off and it started to hurt. I left that evening with a renewed confidence that I could continue.

    The next day, to my surprise, 3 LLL people showed up at my house with over a dozen frozen meals, and a bottle of lansonol (lanolin ointment) for my nipples. They stayed and cleaned house, did laundry, the dishes and visited for several hours leaving me with instructions to forget everything else and just work on nursing and healing.

    Using the moist healing method (keeping the lansonol on my nipples 24/7) I was healed up by the end of the week and began a beautiful long breastfeeding relationship with my little girl. She very happily weaned at 3 1/2 years and tandem nursed with her little sister for a little over a year before announcing one day that sister could have all the “Ma” she didn’t need it any more. (“Ma” is the code word that I taught my girls as their name for Breastfeeding to save me anguish when I was in a store and they would decided to throw a tantrum and insist in their loudest voice one hundred times that they needed to breastfeed NOW – not great when you are in line buying groceries.)

    I would like to encourage you and suggest that there are many different solutions to improve your BF relationship. Most doctors would never think to suggest doing both BF and formula. After the inital engorgement phase, Nursing is a supply and demand thing taking about 3 days to make more or less supply adjustments. The body is amazing.

    I had a friend who had issues with all her boys and managed to nurse for over a year with each one. Her secret was that her husband did one formula feeding each evening, giving her and her breasts a break. She would take a book and go read in the bathtub. Soaking away her troubles and pain. She said that the 2-3 hours she had to herself each evening was just what she needed to recharge, and gave her the renewed energy.

    Whatever you chose to do, will be fine. Don’t feel guilty if you choose not to continue. Every day that you BF is a benefit to and your beautiful baby, and you have given her a great start.

    There are many healthy, happy, bonded children that weren’t BF for even a day. You have experience in both bottle and breast,and since every baby is different you will need to find out what will work for the both of you. Every BF relationship is different, you will find what works best for you and your little one. Don’t think of it as quitting or not quitting – think of it as doing what is best for mommy so she can do whats best for baby.

    Good luck! I will keep you in my thoughts

  10. Wow, I feel your pain. Been through it myself two times. My first was a nightmare… I had cracks and bleeding on top of a baby that slept 5 hours between feedings and nothing could wake her to nurse.

    I spent the first few weeks (6) absolutely miserable. The nursing consultants weren’t much help. As I have learned since then, most nursing consultants haven’t had a baby or nursed themselves. Nothing like the blind leading the blind. :>)

    I got lucky though… I was talking with another mom at the dr’s office one day and we got to discussing nursing our little ones. She asked if I had heard of LLL. I hadn’t, so she told me about Le Leche League and how most areas had groups that met at least once monthly and that it was all breastfeeding moms that got together to learn and support each other in their breastfeeding relationships.

    I was not sure anything would help at that point, but I went to a meeting the next week. It was the best thing that I ever did. They were very welcoming, had many ideas to suggest as to how to get through my issues, and the leaders who were very good at what they did, took me aside and spent several hours that evening helping me latch my tiny little girl on to my milk cow sized breasts. It was amazing, within the first hour, I was really starting to believe that it didn’t have to hurt to nurse.

    The leaders of LLL were so nice, one invited me to her house the next day to spend the afternoon relaxing and nursing. She put me in a comfortable chair, gave me water and a snack and a boppy and helped me latch my little pumpkin on and taught me how to gently unlatch and re-latch if she started to slip off and it started to hurt. I left that evening with a renewed confidence that I could continue.

    The next day, to my surprise, 3 LLL people showed up at my house with over a dozen frozen meals, and a bottle of lansonol (lanolin ointment) for my nipples. They stayed and cleaned house, did laundry, the dishes and visited for several hours leaving me with instructions to forget everything else and just work on nursing and healing.

    Using the moist healing method (keeping the lansonol on my nipples 24/7) I was healed up by the end of the week and began a beautiful long breastfeeding relationship with my little girl. She very happily weaned at 3 1/2 years and tandem nursed with her little sister for a little over a year before announcing one day that sister could have all the “Ma” she didn’t need it any more. (“Ma” is the code word that I taught my girls as their name for Breastfeeding to save me anguish when I was in a store and they would decided to throw a tantrum and insist in their loudest voice one hundred times that they needed to breastfeed NOW – not great when you are in line buying groceries.)

    I would like to encourage you and suggest that there are many different solutions to improve your BF relationship. Most doctors would never think to suggest doing both BF and formula. After the inital engorgement phase, Nursing is a supply and demand thing taking about 3 days to make more or less supply adjustments. The body is amazing.

    I had a friend who had issues with all her boys and managed to nurse for over a year with each one. Her secret was that her husband did one formula feeding each evening, giving her and her breasts a break. She would take a book and go read in the bathtub. Soaking away her troubles and pain. She said that the 2-3 hours she had to herself each evening was just what she needed to recharge, and gave her the renewed energy.

    Whatever you chose to do, will be fine. Don’t feel guilty if you choose not to continue. Every day that you BF is a benefit to both you and your beautiful baby, and you have given her a great start.

    There are many healthy, happy, bonded children that weren’t BF for even a day. You have experience in both bottle and breast,and since every baby is different you will need to find out what will work for the both of you. Every BF relationship is different, you will find what works best for you and your little one. Don’t think of it as quitting or not quitting – think of it as doing what is best for mommy so she can do whats best for baby.

    Good luck! I will keep you in my thoughts

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