Tales From A Working Mom // Why I Chose To Pump

January 24, 2013 in parenthood,tales from a working mom

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talesfromaworkingmom

Before having Ari, I knew I wanted to breastfeed. I knew it was a) healthier than formula; and b) cheaper than formula. To me, it was a no brainer.

It was apparent soon after he was born that he was tongue-tied. While not completely impossible, it did make for a frustrating nursing situation. He refused to latch on properly and he would scream because he was hungry. Meanwhile, the pain from an improper latch caused me to scream and cry.

And the Ear, Nose & Throat doctor couldn’t see him to fix the tongue tie for two weeks.

I was torturing myself by saying that this was what I was ‘supposed’ to do as a new mom. It was part of my new-mom duty. Right?

I visited a lactation consultant and basically found out that I needed to support his head with one hand, hold him with the other, and then shove my boob into his mouth with another hand. Counting? That’s three hands. Yep.

By the end of the first week, I was ready to throw in the towel completely. Chad kept asking me “do you want to just feed him some formula?” and through tears I would tell him No.

I had been advised not to use a bottle or pacifier for 6 weeks, for fear he would get ‘nipple confusion.’ But I couldn’t take it anymore. I couldn’t take the screaming baby who wanted food; I couldn’t take the pain from an improper latch.

And so I broke out the pump for the first time.

And fed my baby a bottle.

And he was satisfied!

Once I started seeing my baby eat, I was hesitant to nurse him again. Even after his tongue tie was fixed, it was nice to have someone else feed the baby while I showered or did laundry.

I tried nursing him again. I really did. But he wasn’t interested. And, to be honest, neither was I.

Much to the dismay of many who told me to “keep trying.” I just didn’t want to.

Am I missing out on essential bonding time with my baby? I would argue no. I still hold him and feed him and look into his eyes; I still see my baby smile when he has a full belly.

And Chad was able to bond with Ari a bit more, too. By splitting up the feedings, he was able to share that perspective. And having witnessed that bonding, I wouldn’t want to ever take that away from him.

Ari is happy. He is healthy. And I’m still giving my baby the essential nutrients that he needs to stay as happy and healthy as possible. All of the natural immunities and proven benefits of giving a baby breast milk are still being received. Just from a rubber nipple instead of mine.

And guess what? When I went back to work, he didn’t freak out. He had been used to taking a bottle from me, Chad, my parents, and pretty much anyone who wanted to give it to him. What a relief! For both me and the sitter!

Is it a bit of a pain to have to plan around pumping? It sure is. But we’ve endured lots of changes during this time of transition with a new baby. Now planning around pumping is just part of my daily routine.

We adapted to the situation we found ourselves in. And ya know what? I’m quickly learning that that is what parenting is all about — adapting.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Joelle January 24, 2013 at 6:29 am

Whatever, works, right? It’s been awesome seeing you grow into such a great momma, one who makes decisions based on what’s best for her baby and not just what some stranger says. This set up seems to be the best for your family and I think that’s great:)

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lauryn January 24, 2013 at 11:10 am

I was JUST having this conversation with my good friend, who just gave birth to her second baby and experienced the same frustrations and temporary feelings of self-doubt. The most important thing is that both mom and baby are happy and healthy! Whatever makes that happen is the right choice. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise! 🙂

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Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks January 24, 2013 at 11:58 am

I think all parents need to figure out the best way to feed their babies. There is no wrong answer, as long as the child is being cared for and the family is at peace with their decision. From my own experiences as well as those of many women I know, those first few weeks can really distress a mom when breastfeeding isn’t going well … but, the minute the parents make a decision to improve the feeding situation, everyone seems to do better. Glad that was the case for you, too.

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Melissa January 24, 2013 at 12:19 pm

Ashlyn is also tongue tied. I worked with the lactation nurses a TON while in the hospital. I’m not gonna lie, it’s very frustrating when it’s difficult for them to latch. The nurse did some “suck training” techniques with her and it helped tremendously. There are times when it hurts when she first latches but overall it is gettin easier. We still haven’t had her tongue snipped yet because my pediatrician advised us to wait one month since I am breast feeding to avoid thrush. But I will be making the ent appointment soon. I completely understand where you’re coming from. It’s hard to watch them struggle at first. I will have to pump when I go back to work so I’m not sure whether she will want to nurse after that or not. I’m glad you found a solution that works for you and for Ari and that he’s doing so well!

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Jenny
Twitter: americanrninnz
January 24, 2013 at 1:07 pm

I feel for you :-/ My midwife was very, shall we say, opinionated about what I should and should not be doing when it came to breastfeeding. They do in-home visits for the first 6 weeks postpartum here, so she got to see pretty much everything. She also advised no pacifiers or bottles for the first 6 weeks but you know what? Joe had a pacifier by the end of the first week and it was a life-saver. He had a bottle by the end of the 2nd week because one nipple in particular was so badly torn up and needed to heal. Even my MW had to breakdown and agree that it was the right thing to do. It’s all about trusting your gut 🙂 I’m glad you guys figured out the solution that’s best for you and that you had a great supporter in Chad!

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fizzgig January 24, 2013 at 7:01 pm

sounds like you figured out on your own what works best for your baby. i am not a mother, and don’t aspire to be, but I can appreciate unsolicited advice about something that works for one person…being the “end all be all” because it worked for them. In any situation, you have to do what feels right for YOU!

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LWLH January 26, 2013 at 4:35 pm

It’s good you figured out what was best for you and him. He’s still getting everything he needs so that’s all that matters.

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Michelle February 2, 2013 at 11:53 am

I had a similar situation with my son. We tried for 8 weeks (of pure hell) and finally gave up the nursing ghost. But I wanted him to have my bm, so I pumped every few hours, as though he was feeding and I never ran out of milk. It was tiresome but worth it to be able to give him the nutrients I wanted for him. We would mix the milk with formula and at six months, weaned him and all was well. I gotta tell you, to this day, I still despise the sound of a breastpump!! Glad all is going well with your little man!

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