Saturday, November 29, 2008

Ping Pong Match

Happy-Sad. Ashamed-Proud. Grateful-Relieved. There are so many emotions going through my head right now that it is like a ping pong match. I have officially stopped breastfeeding Ryen and I am so mixed up about it. I don't know if it just hormones or what but I can't seem to choose whether to be ok with it or dwell on it. Here are my thoughts:

A part of me is happy to be done with breastfeeding, cause let me tell you... it is hard! It is time consuming, confusing, painful at times, and requires a big commitment. You would think it is so natural that a baby would be able to latch on and feed immediately without needing to be taught or trained. Not always the case with humans. Some women are cows and produce a ton of milk and have a baby that latches on right away with little or no effort. Breastfeeding is a breeze for these women! But a lot of women, like myself DON'T. If Ryen were my only baby perhaps I could have invested the time needed to train her and train my body for breastfeeding. But that wasn't possible for me. Even when I fed her every two hours like clock work it didn't seem to increase my milk supply. In fact it seemed to get worse. I was so sad to stop that I was trying to feed her all the time, pumping around the clock, and really putting a lot of pressure on myself to breastfeed for as long as I could. I am still sad to have stopped. But the time was right.

So why do we as women feel like failures or feel ashamed if we don't breastfeed or if we are not as successful at it as some other women? Feels almost like it is a test of your Womanhood or Mothering abilities. Even though we have no control over it and can only do our best with what we have. I have so much respect for anyone who tries breastfeeding at all whether for 1 day or 1 year or longer. So I am proud that I made it 8 weeks and would have loved to have made it longer. There was closeness, convenience, bonding, and a feeling of accomplishment that I got from breastfeeding that I am mourning right now. I have to keep telling myself that I don't really have control over it. It was not my fault that Ryen was not gaining enough weight and the doctors were concerned and pressuring me to supplement with formula. It is not my fault that I wasn't producing enough milk to satisfy her at feedings. I wish I was! And I don't have the luxury with a 2 year old of breastfeeding all day long or setting an alarm and waking up every 2 hours at night to breastfeed as I would not have anything to offer Ella during the day if I was that sleep deprived.

So I am trying to stay positive and remind myself that Ryen will be just fine. There are many babies that are formula fed and are thriving, wonderful, smart, happy, independent, well adjusted and healthy children. Ella is a PRIME example of this. I am trying to be grateful that I was able to breastfeed at all since I was robbed of that experience with Ella due to her start in the NICU. And the other part of me is relieved that I will not have to worry about her weight gain, or wonder how much food she is getting or have to be a slave to my breast or my pump anymore.

So then why is giving it up almost as painful as trying so hard to be successful at it was...


  1. Jill you really are a super mom. Don't feel bad. It is not easy for everyone and I know that Ryen is getting the best care possible from a terrific mom.

  2. Oh Jill! Just the fact that you are having such a hard time with the decision to stop breastfeeding shows what a great mom you are! I went through similar feelings when I stopped with Jacq. It is really tough and emotional. You are doing a great job and baby Ryen will grow up big, strong and smart just like her big sister!

  3. Don't ever let anyone give you any crap about stopping. You tried, which is more then a lot of moms do! And when she's 16 it's not going to mater to her if you breastfed for 2 minutes, 2 months, or 2 years! What matter is that you love her and provide for both her and Ella! That's what really counts!!!!!

    BIG HUGS!!! You Rock Super Mom!!!

  4. Thanks for all your encouraging thoughts and your support! I love you guys!

  5. Jill... I totally know what you mean! It was incredibly difficult for me to learn how to breastfeed Daniel and for the first two weeks of his life, I cried because I thought I was a failure as a mother already! You are an incredible mother and as you said... now you won't have to worry about her and you can just enjoy your two precious girls!