Why is it that nursing hasn't been in the cards for me?
* When Jacob was born I didn't have enough support and I was too shy/intimidated to contact a lactation consultant. His latch was terrible - even though the nurses in the hospital swore that there was nothing wrong with it - and he caused cracking, bleeding and TONS of pain (but I also think I may be more sensitive in the milky area because I have an EXTREMELY high pain tolerance otherwise). I ended up pumping and feeding him breastmilk from a bottle from about 5 days old. However, that only lasted until he was about 8 weeks old because I got a really bad mastitis infection and that combined with bad information and a husband who had deployed when he was 6 weeks old made me throw in the towel. It was sad, but at the time I did what I thought was best, I know better now..... and I regret having given up so early.
* With Eli, I had decided to pump exclusively once home from the hospital based on the fact that I thought I wasn't cut out to nurse, but I do know breastmilk is best and I can produce and pump effectively. So, that is what we did and it was working well. Then when Eli was 6 weeks old I developed huge complications and my body stopped producing milk. It was quite the shock because I went from plenty to NOTHING in a matter of about 24 hours.... Strange, no? By the time I was better, about 4 weeks later, I couldn't be bothered trying to make myself start producing again, so he stayed on formula.
* With Rachael I have managed to be solely pumping again.... argh. Her latch was PERFECT and she was only causing a little soreness (which is normal in the first few days). Then I landed in the ICU and they were only allowed to bring her to me for feedings for very short times. I felt pressured and uncomfortable being on a time limit and it just stressed me out to think that she had to eat all she wanted in the short time span they were allowed to bring her out of the Mother/Baby Unit to the floor I was on, so I had Michael bring my pump to the hospital so I could pump between her feedings and just bottle feed her.
My goal was to get her off the bottle as soon as we got home and I even talked to the lactation consultant before I left the hospital and she gave me some tips on how to achieve this and told me it may take up to 2 weeks to get her completely off the bottle. The second day we were home, I decided to give it a go and it was terrible. I tried all day (every feeding) and realized that I just did not have the energy to do it. Little did I know I was about to experience more complications that would put me back in the hospital and I would be separated from her again and her already being on a bottle actually came in handy.
So here I am, Rachael will be 3 weeks tomorrow and I am exclusively pumping. It's not the easiest thing in the world to do either because I have a 4 yr. old, 2 yr. old and her, but I know it's best and I'll keep doing it as long as I'm able and don't feel too overwhelmed with trying to keep up. It's actually a bit of a blessing to be able to do it this way because I have 17 bags stored in the freezer (7-8 oz. each) already and I'm still able to produce more than she's eating at this point. I don't know how long that will last (I'm taking a bit of Fenugreek and can always increase that if I get low) so it's good to know that I have some in the freezer in case I can't keep up.