Saturday, March 19, 2011

A Little More Sanity

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.

4 comments:

  1. Heather, I can't even possibly imagine the stress you are under. I can't even begin to understand how hard it would be to nurse two babies and take care of them, plus a toddler, a husband, house, etc.! You definitely did the right thing for yourself. I nursed alec, and I just knew when it was time for me to stop. My health was important and I was feeling overly tired and stripped of vitamins and energy. Don't feel a bit guilty!! Look at everything you have done so far to bring healthy babies into the world:)

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  2. Heather...I support your decision....even mores, I support the fact that you had the courage to make the decision to stop nursing. You've given them the best possible start in life...and for that, you should be proud! Try not to compare what you were able to do for Madelyn to that which you do for the twins. Two completely different situations! I know it's hard not to feel guilty....breastfeeding is such a wonderful gift for mom and baby....and the guilt is horrible, I know. But you need to move past it...I'm sure you will find other ways to bond with all of your children. And they all love their mommy! Trust me, your kids are not "mad" or "disappointed" by your decision. I remember when I finally stopped nursing Emma - it was much more difficult for me than on her. I was amazed at how quickly she "forgot" our special time together. You will be able to be a much better mom by being rested rather than exhausted and stressed by that feeling of "obligation" that comes with pumping. Please remember, if you need help, call me! I can be there faster than anyone....you know this! I've stayed away because I don't want to hover. But I'd love to help. Hang in there, supermom!

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  3. Heather,

    Please do not feel quilty! I did the same thing with Parker. He would never latch, we saw three different lactation consultants, tried everything imaginable to get him to latch, I pumped and pumped and tried to feed after that and it was such a viscious cycle that I had an absolute meltdown. It was a moment in my life that I will never forget because I was soooo unbelievably tired that I felt like I was going out of my mind. And, I too struggled with breastfeeding vs formula feeding. And, then, one day, Scott had to make that decision for us. He said, "Alisha, I'm going to the store and getting some formula...you need rest and all of this stress is not good for you or Parker" (Although I'm sure he was thinking it wasn't good for him either!). It was a world of difference. With Beckett, I didn't even try. Not that I didn't want to, but I seriously could not go through all of that again. And, to me, it was the best decision for our family. And, if it makes your feel better, neither one of my kids have allergies, or chronic ear infections and rarely do they get sick.....

    You have to do what is best for you and the babies, and most of all you have to make sure to keep your sanity! A healthy, happy and sane mommy = happy and healthy babies!

    Please let me know if you need any help. We'd be more than happy to come over and take Madelyn for a play date, or bring you guys breakfast/lunch/dinner...you name it we can do it!

    Alisha

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  4. Breastfeeding is hard. Breastfeeding twins is even more difficult. Breastfeeding twins when you have a pre-schooler can be a total nightmare. I am speaking from experience!

    I also know that guilt is par for the course with motherhood but being a mom to multiples brings that feeling into high relief. When you can't meet everyone's needs at once or when you want to just snuggle and play with one but you can't because you feel like you are ignoring the other baby or when you feel like leaving town and never coming back because you can't seem to get one whole minute to yourself.... guilt... guilt... guilt...

    I understand and most other mothers will too. Try to let the guilt go. You are doing your best and you are a great mom. Breastfeeding or not.

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