Would you un-wean? (long) — The Bump
Breastfeeding

Would you un-wean? (long)

We had BFing problems from the start.  I have 1 inverted nipple, DD wouldn't latch on well & tore it up.  I wound up with an infection that took 3 different antibiotics & a month to clear up.  DD also would cry at the breast almost every time I nursed her.  I felt she was crying because my supply was low & she wasn't getting enough.  We finally broke down & supplemented - first we tried a dropper, then a SNS, and finally a bottle.  I couldn't even EP because I would only get 1 oz or so every time I pumped.  I started to get depressed, & wasn't sleeping b/c I would nurse her & then pump after, and DH works 36 hours straight every 4 days so I'd have to nurse, then give her a bottle, then pump, every 2 hours.  I tried all the supplements, they didn't work.  I tried pumping every hour around the clock for over 2 days straight.  That didn't work.  By the time I was able to get myself out of a funk enough to drag myself to a LC, DD was almost 6 weeks old.  My nipple finally healed, the LC said DD was latching fine & helped me make a plan to transition her back to the breast (she was screaming through every feeding & refusing to nurse).  By 6 1/2 weeks, we were EBFing.  I was so happy I was beside myself.  She gained 13 ounces in 17 days.  It was going great. 

Then she got her 1st shot.  DTaP.  The next day the diarrhea started.  Lasted a week.  Then no poop for a week.  Then 3 days in a row she had a horrible, uncontrollable screaming episode that lasted several hours.  Back to diarrhea for 3-4 days.  Then no poop 3-4 days.  Another screaming episode.  Blood & mucus in her stool.  She started fussing at the breast again, and fussing went to crying went to outright refusing to nurse except in the middle of the night.  Hospital visit, xrays, stool sample, bloodwork, all negative.  Pediatrician visits, pediatric GI visit.  After 1 month of diarrhea, the GI dr. said she had a milk protein allergy.  So I cut out all dairy.  Her poop improved & the diarrhea finally stopped, but she wasn't pooping regularly & the BFing was getting worse & worse.  She wasn't getting enough.  After feeding her for only a few minutes, I couldn't even pump more than a teaspoon out of either side.  Finally last Friday night after she downed 3 1/2 oz of BM an hour after I nursed her, and another 5 ounces 2 hours after that, I decided that I was losing my milk, I was wasting away on a very difficult milk-free diet, she was going hungry & I decided she needed more consistency & less stress & that it was time to stop BFing.  I nursed her that night & that was the last time.  I've basically been crying since then.

I really didn't want to wean, I did it because I felt it was better for her, rather than put her all over again through the stressful nursing session followed by a bottle followed by her sitting & watching me pump when she wants to be held.  All week she's been crying in her sleep & even had a nightmare the other night & woke up hysterical.  I'm blaming myself for her sleep crying.  I feel like she feels abandoned by me, even though I've been trying to give her lots of extra love.  I keep thinking about going back to nursing again, cutting all dairy and soy out of my diet & pumping for 2 weeks until I'm clear & then nursing her again.  But I don't want to be selfish & just do that because I'M sad we're not nursing anymore.  She's probably less stressed on the bottle.  DH thinks I shouldn't put either of us through the same stress we went through in the beginning all over again.  It's not like she was nursing well when we stopped.

Anyway, I'm so sad & I miss it so much & I feel like I've abandoned her & I keep questioning my decision over & over.  Would you ever consider "un-weaning" after all of that, especially knowing you had to following a very difficult, extremely limiting diet AND didn't have a good supply from the beginning?  Or would you let DC have consistency in feeding & try to give them comfort & effection in other ways?

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Re: Would you un-wean? (long)

  • honestly, i probably would try. they say, "what's best for mom, is best for baby," generally, when defending giving formula. but in this case, what you want is best for baby - and may help you avoid being depressed. you want to breastfeed. it sounds as if she has some serious digestive issues that you're looking into. in that case, i would opt for the easiest to digest food possible - breast milk.

    formula may, and probably will, only aggravate any food allergies more - and perhaps more long term.

    also, please don't base your estimation of your supply on how much you pump. your baby is a much better pumper! it is actually more common for women to have an oversupply than a lack thereof. you have to be confident in your ability to provide for your baby!

    support helps to. your DH's work schedule sounds awful! is it possible to have an LC or a postpartum doula spend a day or two with you in your home?

     

    good luck with whatever you choose!!

  • Honestly, and I loved nursing, I would have weaned too. There is just no way I could follow that strict of a diet, etc.  You'll find a happy mom equals a much happier baby.  I was sad when I weaned and I can understand 'mourning' having to wean before you were ready, but honestly I would have done the exact same thing.
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  • First of all - I just want to say I feel so so sorry for you. Your post made me cry! We had trouble bf'ing for awhile too - though it was nothing like what you went through. I do understand that feeling like you are abandoning her. I still feel like that when DH gives her a bottle sometimes. But I really think it is more our issue (feeling like we are abandoning them), it is unlikely that this is really what the baby is feeling. She knows you love her. DD also cries sometimes in her sleep and it absolutely kills me - but she is BF'd so I doubt your DD's crying is related to not BF'ing. 

    That said, I would probably keep trying to pump and get her to latch on every now and then just for your benefit if you can eventually get it to work you will feel so good about yourself. 

    If you do end up FF though you need to understand that you are not abandoning her! You are simply a mom trying to do what is best for her baby. I think you are a hero for going through all you did already for your baby. Go you! Good job! and good luck with whatever you decide!

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  • I don't think there's really a right or wrong thing to do here. Only you can know if following that diet is possible for you. It might be that the emotional benefit you get from it outweighs the diet.

    It is really really normal for women to be depressed from weaning, it's your pregnancy/new mom hormones kicking into overdrive. There's nothing wrong with getting some help from your doctor to get those hormones back under control... especially since you mention that you were in funk earlier too. Please talk to your OB about PPD.

    However, I don't think that babies need consistency in feeding, lots of women nurse and bottlefeed. I also agree with pp who said that the amount you pump does not equal the amount your baby got from the breast - I was always a super-crappy pumper but DD was satisifed with what she got. I realize that your DD was hungry after an hour, but it could be that she was in her 6wk growth spurt

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  • It would be very difficult for me to stick with such a limited diet for very long, especially if my supply wasn't good to start with.  We had some feeding problems at the beginning (reflux and mastitis) and it's really stressful.  I think if the problems persisted, like yours did, for the sake of sanity, I would probably give up breastfeeding.  But I don't think consistency is that important.  My son gets breastmilk only (for now), but he nurses and takes it from a bottle, and a lot of babies get formula and breastmilk and do just fine. 

    That said, whatever you choose to do, I think you should make your peace with it.  Even though you wanted to nurse, you have not abandoned your daughter.  I'm sure even she does not feel it that way.  Breastfeeding isn't the only way we show our love.  Your daughter knows you love her, and your bond will always be there.

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  • Also, my low supply is not just based on pumping, although by last weekend I was able to pump much less than I used to.  I know it is low because DD was hungry practically ALL the time, and this went on for weeks, so it wasn't a growth spurt.  When I finally was able to get her to nurse, by the end, she would suck many times before she swallowed.  I don't really think I have it in me to be on such a restrictive diet when my supply is so low to begin with, I just feel like I miss it so much, especially when my breasts still hurt & my pump is sitting out & my freezer is full of BM I can't bring myself to throw away :-(
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  • It sounds like maybe you think weaning was the best choice (I don't blame you!), but you're still having a hard time with it.  It's understandable to feel sad, even when you know you're doing the right thing.

    Maybe you could find another activity that gives you two special bonding time so that you don't feel bad for giving up the bf'ing?  Cuddling skin to skin while you sing or talk?  Or take her into the bath with you? 

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  • You poor thing! ?You sound so stressed, and what an awful time you have had of it. ?Really, it sounds to me from both of your posts like you really don't want to "un-wean" but feel very guilty about stopping nursing, which is understandable given all the "breast is best" stuff you have probably been reading.

    I don't fault you at all for deciding to give it up. ?I love nursing, but I think I would have done the same thing in your shoes. ?Your DD will be fine, and I am sure she does not feel abandoned. ?(FF babies know their mothers love them very much, too.) ?You can cuddle with her and give her baby massages and other things that will be very physically comforting to her.

    If you do want to try again, I'd set a time limit -- tell yourself you will try for one month and then stop if the diet is too restrictive or she is not getting enough. ?And call an LC, too, and get some support for YOU, not just medical advice.

    Good luck, whatever you decide to do. ?Take care of yourself!

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