Updated: Apr 11
Let me just start off by saying breastfeeding was hard AF for me. It did not come easy, I bled or became so raw I couldn't put a shirt on. I got clogged milk ducts easily and Peyton was never full so she was constantly wanting to eat. She didn't latch very good so it was extremely painful 50% of the time. I was in tears, Steven (my husband) felt terrible for me, it caused a lot more stress than I wanted. I researched and tried everything I thought I possibly could. I even went to breastfeeding classes. Everyone makes you feel like "breast is best" and if you can't breastfeed your a failure. BLAH BLAH BLAH! I don't give a crap how your baby is fed, as long as they are getting what they need. Your the mom, you make the decision and don't feel like less of a mother because your baby/boob combo isn't working just right. Your mental health is very important, and so is your husband's mental health. Your both already so exhausted, scared, frustrating, and overwhelmed with a new baby. Do what you feel is right.
So let's back it up to the hospital...
Within an hour, the nurse had helped Peyton get latched. The first day or two of feedings is really just colostrum. Colostrum is "full of antibodies and immunoglobulins, which not only help protect newborns as they come into our world of bacteria and viruses, but also has a laxative effect that helps them expel the tarry first stools called meconium." (baby center) That first night a lactation consultant came in and helped me try and figure everything out. She said that if it hurts they are latching wrong. I couldn't feel anything for the first 2 days because I was on pain meds. I had no idea if I was dong it right. Peyton wasn't gaining weight fast enough by the time we were discharged so the nurse practically forced me to take some of the formula samples home. And I'm glad she did! We were feeding so much her chin got raw...
I finally got home and quit taking pain medicine and realized how bad it was. My nipples were raw, bleeding and had scabs from feedings every two hours. I had to keep Lansinoh cream on it to prevent them from drying out and scabbing more. Family also bought me some of the Medela hydrogel pads. They worked great and helped relieve the pain but you can only do so much to relieve the pain when you only get about a 2 hour break.
Below is one on the logs I kept on my phone before I downloaded an app to help me. I don't remember which app it was, but there are plenty of apps out there that help you keep track of feeding, sleeping and diaper changes.
August 4th Feeding Log. L & R (left and right boob)
1:00-1:39 L & R
2:04 - 2:12 R
3:00 - 3:08 L
3:30 - 3:38 R
4:14 - 4:24 R
4:54 - 5:12 L
0:00 - 8:10 L
8:18 - 8:27 L
9:37- 9:41 R
10:03 - 10:31 L
3:39 - 4:00 R
6:30 - 7:00 L
8:00 - 8:23 L & R
She started getting baby acne and Im 90% sure this was dairy related. I don't normally eat a lot of dairy but I was blessed with a meal train and people were bringing us delicious food I couldn't turn down so I was eating a lot more dairy than normal. My body nor Peyton's was happy.
But sometimes the milk was too good #milkdrunk
I don't remember the exact night, but Peyton just wouldn't stop screaming. At this time I was strictly breastfeeding, Nobody in the house had been sleeping and we were all exhausted. I tried calming her down every way I knew how, but nothing was working. She was showing signs of hunger for the past two days and I just wasn't producing enough. I thought maybe my milk would just come is quicker but it didn't.
My boobs were completely empty and I didn't want to go buy formula. Steven remembered we had a few formula samples so I opened one of the bottles and she sucked it down within minutes. She still wouldn't stop screaming so I gave her another 1.5 bottles and she finally went to sleep. And she slept for a really long time.
I felt awful realizing I had been starving her for the past few days and had no Idea. I had a breakdown and started strictly pumping and bottle feeding so I could measure how much milk she was getting. Pumping is more work than breastfeeding because you have to wash and sanitize the pump parts as well as the bottles. After 19 days I kinda broke down. I fell asleep with Peyton on my chest and luckily Steven was home or I don't know how that would have ended. On the 20th day I literally put noise canceling headphones on so I could get a few hours of sleep. Y'all may laugh and think this is ridiculous but when you have a newborn your senses are extremely heightened and any little noise wakes you up so you never really get REM sleep so your just exhausted.
And lets not start with the bottles. There are so many bottles and different types out there. Long story short the bottles I was using had too fast of a flow so she would projectile vomit everywhere. After trying 3 different bottles (kiinde, Medela Mimijumi) I bought Dr. Brown's and those worked great.
The Kiinde bottels were great because I pumped right into the bag and fed her. A lot less washing to do but the nipples were too big. I wouldn't recommend using them for newborns but after they are a few months old I bet they would work great.
At the end of August, Hurricane Harvey was coming so I stopped at the store and picked up some formula just in case the power went out and I couldn't pump. I bought Similac for supplementation and two days into supplementing with it, she started having diarrhea and throwing up. Couldn't keep any food down and was super bloated. It took me a few days to realize it was the formula. Because lets get real, Im a brand new mom and had no idea how babies functioned nor was I sleeping more than a few hours a night. In between Peyton waking up, diaper changes, pumping, and washing bottles... It was a freakin nightmare! And get this, my husband is a Firefighter and was working for a couple days straight rescuing people out of their homes. So I stayed at my aunt's house in the spare bedroom so I didn't have to be stranded at home with a newborn by myself.
Long story short after a few visits to the pediatrician and a very strict diet we found Nutramigen formula worked best. The pediatrcian recommended Peyton be taken off breastmilk completely until her allergy cleared up and we could figure out what it was. She drank Nutramigen straight for 5 or 6 days and I pumped and saved all the milk I could. We found that she has a milk protein allergy. I slowly started adding breastmilk back into her diet and it made her extremely gassy and fussy so I just threw it away. And that was EXTREMELY hard to do! Pumping for that long lowered my milk supply, so I couldn't keep up with her anymore. Also, breastmilk is thinner than formula so she was drinking more breastmilk than she would with the formula.
I researched all kinds of remedies to increase my milk supply. I tried pumping more (didn't think that was possible) drinking Mother's Milk Tea, eating more, baking lactation cookies and staying hydrating and doing "all the right things". It worked for a little when I was drinking the tea twice a day but my milk wasn't fatty, it was getting thinner and thinner so I eventually just gave up. The yeast in the lactation cookies gave Peyton Thrush (It’s an infection caused by the candidafungus, which is yeast) so that was fun to deal with. I will say the combination or mother milk tea and lactation cookies worked for my supply but not for Peyton and her thrush.
All signs were pointing to giving up. I was tired of feeling miserable and waking up in the middle of the night, just to pump and clean bottles. Almost every time I went to lay my head back down she would wake up hungry or need a diaper change. So then.I had to pump again because she was out of milk. It just wasn't worth it.
I'm just glad someone created formula and that Peyton can actually drink it. If it wasn't for that, I don't think she would be alive today.
If your struggling with breastfeeding, talk with your pediatrician about options, they will give you all the answers.
I did miss the bonding of breastfeeding but I also loved the fact that she could feed herself.