Needless to say, It has been a challenging couple of weeks. While most days, I honestly feel like Supermom there are moments where I fear I may fall apart.
Those moments of fear have seemed to all rotate around breastfeeding. Yes, I know in my last post I was bragging about my every "three hour pumping routine." Well, that lasted approximately two weeks.
The first two weeks after Henry and Clara arrived breastfeeding was going great. My milk came in while I was still in the hospital. I mean, it REALLY came in. I think I could have put our local dairy company out of business. Then the sleep deprivation started to set in, Clara developed acid reflux and continued to lose weight, Henry still refused to latch, the daily help was slowly disappearing, my husband went back to work...need I go on? It seemed like every time that three hour mark rolled around, someone needed fed, changed, or held. Or my toddler was screaming for attention. By the time I made it to the pump - it had been well over three hours. My milk supply slowly dwindled. I started to only get an ounce or two at the pump - if I was lucky. I would nurse Clara and a half hour later she'd be hungry. It was not looking good.
And then I had that one day - that day where all I could do was cry. Madelyn, our toddler, was home from school sick (diarrhea that required diaper changes every half hour)! Henry and Clara were both gassy, grumpy, and just refusing to be put down. Naturally, this was the day that my postpartum hormones decided to be raging. Getting milk out of these boobs was down right impossible! On this day, I first started to wonder..."Is breastfeeding going to work this time?"
For those of you that know me, you know how passionate I feel about breastfeeding. I proudly breastfed Madelyn until she was 7 months old. For the first three months of her life the only nipples she knew were mine. Which is why the decision to stop breastfeeding Henry and Clara was an EXTREMELY difficult one for me to make. Oh, the guilt we mothers go through!
I'm not quite sure I have come to complete terms with my decision yet and I'm certain this post will illicit some judgemental, negative comments....but I'm hoping it will also help other Moms of multiples (or singletons) understand that breastfeeding is a personal decision - one to be made with extreme care, with the health and well being of all involved to be considered (mom and babies).
I did all sorts of research, talked to other moms, talked to the pediatrician - all in an attempt to make myself feel okay with no longer breastfeeding. Yes, I completely understand the many, many benefits of breastfeeding. But I also know that a sleep deprived and overly stressed mom isn't good for anyone in the household. Not only was/am I sleep deprived and overly stressed but finding the time to eat, let alone eat a healthy meal, is very difficult these days! I think the Twin Coach says it best on her recent blog post:
"Breastfeeding is HARD... if it will help your sanity, stop earlier."
Yes, it has helped my sanity.
Then why is it that I'm still struggling with the guilt of it all? I keep reminding myself that my babies are getting the love and nourishment they need, that they received the super good for them colostrum at the beginning and continued to get breast milk for two weeks after.....I keep reminding myself that I am being the best mother that I know how to be.....that my children have a mom who is much less stressed with more time and energy for them....I keep reminding myself that I am a little more sane because of the decision to stop breastfeeding.