Friday, March 20, 2009

To Nurse or Not to Nurse...(revised)

That is the question.

There are certain women I have a great amount of empathy and respect for. These include (but are not limited to)

1. women who have fertility issues
2. women who have miscarriages
3. women who either cannot breast feed or have a very hard time with it.

These are problems that I am very grateful to never have had. I get pregnant without necessarily trying at all, have never miscarried, and produce enough milk to feed all the babies in the neighborhood if I had to.(would have made a great pioneer;)

Now don't get me wrong, I definitely have my parenting struggles. But most of them are my own doing. I know too many women who have these problems that they can do nothing about.

So I feel a little guilty about wanting to quit nursing this baby.

To tell you the truth, I am conflicted. There are definitely pros to nursing:
1. It is easy for me. Abigail has always been a good nurser, and we don't have issues like thrush or breast infections to deal with. Or teeth.
2. I don't have to make a bottle every time she needs to eat. Like in the middle of the night.
3. She is my last baby. I love to sit and rock with her. I love the way she pats my cheek when she nurses. I love the little sounds that she makes.
4. breast milk is wayyyy cheaper than formula;)

Basically, I like to nurse, and it is easy for me. But the child won't take a bottle. Period. Brenley did not take a bottle either, so I did everything I could with Abigail to ensure she would. Including starting her on a bottle at 3 weeks old. But it didn't last. The stubborn little thing will go 7 hours plus without eating. Even when given a bottle of breast milk!

So there are the cons of never being able to give the child a bottle:

1.You can't leave her for longer than 2-3 hours.
2. It is hard to be out of the house during feeding time. you can't hand her a bottle in the shopping cart or the car. And she won't nurse well if she is covered with a nursing cape and it isn't totally quiet.
3. Your husband can't feed her while you do three other heads of girl hair on Sunday mornings. You have to be the one who feeds her AND does the girl hair, as your husband is not equipped to do either.
4. Since she won't take a bottle, she won't take a cereal bottle. My babies sleep longer through the night with a cereal bottle.
5. There are certain things I can't eat, because it makes her little tummy hurt.
6.It is hard to nurse her at the gym. It would be much easier to get some much needed exercise/sleep if she would take a bottle.

Then there is a girl I keep thinking about. I subbed in a bunko group last week, and naturally looked up all the girls blogs;) As I was reading Lindsey's, I stumbled across her brother and sister in law's blog, and how they lost their little girl. And this post keeps popping into my head. That wagonful of breastmilk, and more. That was meant for their sweet little girl who did not make it. What would she not give to be able to give up her freedom and nurse that baby?

There you have it. In a nutshell. Ideally, it would be best if she would nurse AND take a bottle. But no matter what we try she won't. She is a stubborn tiny thing. I have really been wrestling with the idea of going cold turkey onto a bottle.

What is your opinion? Don't be shy, I have no qualms about other people telling me what to do;)

19 people know I love comments!:

Little Red said...

I don't miss nursing as much as I thought I would. And I LOVE not being the only one responsible for making sure he's fed, burped, etc. And you're totally right about it being easier to just be out and about with a bottle in your purse instead of sneaking off to the bathroom or your car to nurse. I say leave her with Jan for the weekend- did the trick for us!

Patrice said...

Oh, I had all the same issues -- did the guilt thing, too. I keep changing my mind on what to tell you, so follow your heart!

Sarah said...

I quit nursing Olivia at 6 months, my first kid not to get nursed for a full year. At first, I felt insanely guilty about it, but as time went on, I realized it was the best decision I could have made for both of us. Unlike your situation, nursing was a battle from day one, and (not to be graphic, but, ummm..) my nipples are permanently deformed from this little chick. I finally gave up the battle and feeding times were so much happier for both of us. Also, selfishly, I can't lose a pound while I'm nursing, so it was nice to get my prebaby body back a little sooner that last time. Does any of this help you? Probably not, but everyone loves to tell their own story, eh? Good luck on the decision. Whatever you decide, just know that my kid who got jipped is a very happy, well adjusted, mommy attached girl, and doesn't seem to know there was a difference.

Elizabeth Larson said...

Sherri- Boy do I understand how you feel- I, too, am blessed to be able to feed every baby in the world with my milk supply. I luckily have a baby who nurses really well. I don't have the desire to stop nursing yet, but with my last one, Brayden, I really struggled. He was a difficult nurser and I don't lose weight when I nurse- In fact, the second I stop nursing, I literally lose at least 15-20 pounds within 2 weeks!! I struggle being extremely well edowed and have major back problems when nursing. Because Brayden was a preemie, I felt even more that I needed to nurse him as long as possible. I nursed him for a year, as I felt I should. But I can tell you that although I don't ever regret nursing him so long, it did keep my from a lot of the things I know would have helped me during that time. I can say that you have to do what is best for YOU and your baby. Of course you would love to nurse her and have the freedom you need, but that can be really hard to work out...and it doesnt mean you love her any less! okay, ive written a novel...but just go with what is best for you and your baby will be fine. If your not happy, then its not good for the baby anyway :) Okay, Good luck!!

The Northwest Bunch said...

Breastfeeding is not for everyone. I only breastfeed for 3 months and on there third month of life it is all gone. I am not really a true fan of nursing anyway. Yes, it is good for them but I just am not really into it. I do it because it does have its benefits especially in the middle of the night when they are up every 2 or 3 hours. Emmett is a very loved baby whether or not he is feed through a bottle or breast. He will never know that I did not breastfeed him for a year. He will always know that I was there for him when he needed me.
If you are as busy as I am it was very hard to feed Emmett when we were in public. Dressing rooms were getting real boring. He never had trouble with the bottle so that was easy. I love the freedom of driving in the car and one of the kids can feed him. Or that tonight I went out with my girls and saw Cinderella a musical at the local theater.
So, Sherry you do what is best for you and your baby. No one will judge you for what you decide. As for feeling guilty, don't because we will never understand why we were so blessed to be given this gift and others were not. As your friend Patrice said "Follow your Heart"

Ken_and_Becky said...

My little one, Tyler, didn't want to take a bottle at first either, but I quickly decided that at church and times when we're out, it would be nice to just give him a bottle. I started by either nursing him for a minute and then switch to the bottle while still holding him close. You could try putting apple juice or something yummy to get her to like it. Now he has 6 teeth, but since he's really good about not biting, I just nurse him at night and give him a bottle during the day. It was kind of painful for a couple days, but my body got used to it. Now it's sooo convenient and we still get the benefits of nursing. It's going to make quitting nursing at a year old so much easier too.

macmommy said...

That's a hard one! I had no problems with Kiara, but my body just gave out on it around 9 months for the other 2. Not sure if it was simply because my heart wasn't in it. I think we get to the point that we just want our bodies back to ourselves! Do what you can do and know that millions of babies are raised on formula. I would say you might want to wait a month or two until she starts on solids so you're not having to buy so much of it. That stuff is insanely expensive (they do have it at Costco, though).

Was nice to see you yesterday even though I was the messenger of news you did not want to hear. Next time I'm pleading the fifth =) That baby is so tiny and sweet, that smile could make anyone's day better. Love you guys and we'll see you at Mitchell's baptism (Grant actually already had it off for it-it truly is a miracle!).

Caryn said...

I never had the choice with Braden, I had to pump my milk and mix it with formula, so he was always a bottle baby. With berk he nursed great for 3 weeks till we found out he was allergic to my milk, so once again I had a bottle baby. I really don't know if I will even try to nurse this one! But if I do I will give him bottles early.

PS She is not going to blame you when she is 30 about you not nursing her longer...

Shelli said...

My last four babies all went straight from nursing to the cup -- refused to take a bottle ever! It was tough for awhile, but in the end I loved it. I loved skipping the whole bottle thing and having to wean them off a bottle. Also, I nursed longer with my last than the others (just a couple months, actually). I hated the idea of giving up his babyhood so early, knowing it was something I would never be revisiting. And he was such a good snuggler -- much more snuggly than any of my others. It was just such a nice way to end my baby mama years. Of course, it's a decision that everyone makes for herself -- you have to decide how meaningful nursing is to you, and decide if the inconvenience is worth it or not. I know very few women who really agonize with guilt over how long they nursed their babies.

Mandi said...

I am one of those who never has milk and has always wanted to nurse (because, as you pointed out, it is much cheaper - plus I would like that bonding). It lasted six months with the first, two with the second and then one month with the third. But I have a sister-in-law with the same problem and I do totally understand your dilemma. Have you tried skipping a feeding so she's starving and then only offering her a bottle? Although if she's stubborn she may rather starve. My sister-in-law is skipping the bottle and trying a sippy, but I'm not sure how old Abigail is so that may not work. I don't think I'm much help here so I'll stop.

Oh, and I'm so glad you're a Les Mis fan -- Phantom is good (especially in London), but I agree that it just doesn't compare to Les Mis.

The Jensen Family said...

i totally get you! and nash will NOT take a bottle either. frustraiting.. i can't let him leave my side for longer than 3 hours! but i think she is old enough and you have nursed her long enough to benefit her health. don't feel guilty, do whats best for you now. like caryn said, when she's 30 she won't blame you for not nursing her longer...

onehm said...

Lucky me! I fit into #1, 2, AND 3 of your list! WHOA!

I have to say that I couldn't make enough milk for Gigantor and had to nurse and give him a bottle from day 3. He finally quit nursing at 6 weeks. It was the most stressful thing ever! I knew that he wouldn't nurse for too long, once he was taking that bottle.

That being said, it was SO convenient to be able to give him the bottle. And I was selfish and fed him myself for a long time. (Not that anyone around here cared very much!) The bonding happened no matter what.

I think you should do what feels best for your family and yourself. Not alot of help, am I?? :)

The Taylor Family said...

In our society there is so much pressure put on breastfeeding, and if you don't or can't do it, as a mother you feel like a failure. Ayden was easy to breastfeed, I was at home, older kids were at school, I had alot of time with just Ayden and I, he was easy though, took a bottle and formula and breastmilk. He was a breeze. Shortly after, I got pregnant with Emme (OOOOps). She was so much harder to feed, I had a 10 month old running around, I was exhausted, so with her, I stopped breastfeeding at 3 months. I just couldn't take it anymore. And there were people in my life who guilted me. I got some advice from someone very wise who basically told me that #1 I wasn't a bad mother for not wanting to breastfeed #2 I would still have a strong bond with my baby #3 my husband would be able to participate in feedings #4 it's a choice that only you as the mother can make! You have to do whats best for you as a mother, the baby will survive, you will bond!

Crazymamaof6 said...

for my sanity i don't breastfeed. i need to be able to walk away, or go out and not worry.
do what you gotta do. but you've nursed her a long while.
you could stop and not feel guilty. now convenience wise which is easier?

Ginee Scabrough said...

economy is a huge driving force, but in 6 months it is all over. Mine is my last. I want to slow things down enough to remember them. I don't remember much from the olders, it was a blur of hurry ups.

Cassie said...

Sher- Thanks for the Baby Wise tip. I actually already read that with Lexi, and you're right- it's awesome. I read the Happy Sleeping Habits book because a friend said it was magic... but I like Baby Wise better.

the tim gailey home said...

adding my two cents in the end of things doesnt't hold much wieght but here goes...guilt rules my life. I feel guilty over everything. I hate nursing, do keep going the full year, and happy to stop in the end. I figure it is just the encore to being uncomfortably pregnant to full term. I feel I chose to have this baby and I'm to going to give him what I can to give him the best. But I think you shouldn't determine what you do because what any of us do, cause it doesn't really matter. Consult with your husband (and maybe doctor) and if you can afford it, go with what you want. (otherwise, you might feel guitly for having money, being married to a great guy, etc.)

jacob said...

Hey Sher,
I thought I should let you know that I have been checking your blog regularly for quite some time now. So in my mind we are keeping in touch. I haven't dove into the blog pool yet so you will just have to email me. We need to get together!! Oh, and reguarding nursing...this is the only time you will be this attached to little Abagail and she to you so in my opinion you should take advantage of it and love it. --Lara

Michelle said...

I'm not here to give advise...just to let you know what worked for me.
I wasn't going to nurse Jayson at all. But when he was four days old, I had a change of heart. I nursed him for exactly eight weeks and I have no regrets. I thought "if I could wake up one day and decide to nurse, I could wake up one day and know when it was time to stop". Sure enough - one day I woke up, and it was time to stop. My family needed me. My husband needed me. And it is easier for ME to be there for them when I'm not the only one who can feed the baby.
We are a happy family again.