Feeding Frenzy

When I became pregnant, a common question was always, “are you going to bottle feed or do you plan on breastfeeding??” When I was asked that it was always 100 percent I am going to breastfeed, without a doubt. I had been told it would be hard, painful at times, especially those first few weeks, but that it would be totally worth that bond you get with your baby. I, for some odd reason, thought it had to just come naturally. I mean don’t most new naïve moms to be have this thinking? My son was born and reality came in to shock me. Breastfeeding was far from “natural” for me and I feel bad ever thinking or wondering why moms would not breastfeed, and now I totally understand.

My son had a rough beginning and ended up instantly in the NICU rather than my plan of having him skin to skin instantly and breastfeeding right away. I partially blame the NICU for it not going as smooth as it probably would have if all had gone right. But we can’t play the “what if” game forever. My son had an umbilical IV placed and was just given fluids and antibiotics for his first 24 hours of life. My poor baby in all those cords. Then came the time to decide how to attempt feeding him for the first time. I still get upset that the nurse at the time said no to breastfeeding the first time-I mean the reasoning was logical-it was too dangerous with his umbilical IV and he was too weak to start off eating straight from me. If you didn’t know already breastfeeding is harder for babies than the bottle, I had no clue. We attempted the bottle and he wouldn’t take it. {I am SO thankful for the women that donate breastmilk too!} He needed breastmilk, but all I had was colostrum coming in, so we mixed that with donor milk while he was in the NICU. A feeding tube was then placed in his nose and he would be fed this way. 

The NICU routine began, every three hours I would attempt breastfeeding, then attempt bottle, and if both did not work he would be given the milk through his feeding tube, and I would go pump whatever I could for the next round. Exhausting doesn’t even begin to describe what this mama was feeling, recovering and all. And not to mention I had {dinosaur} feet from all the swelling! Finally we conquered the bottle and began part my breastmilk and part formula, and we got out of that dreaded NICU!


Finally we were home and the struggle continued. I am not sure why I was mindset toward “breast is best.”I was going to fight for it so my son could have this. I just kept trying and trying and nothing was working. I would pump whatever I could, my milk wasn’t fully in yet, and added formula to that. The viscous cycle of pump, feed, pump, feed continued on. Talk about no sleep. Finally a lactation nurse gave the tip of dripping formula or breastmilk on my breast and that would cause him to latch, yes finally something worked!! My husband and I were quite the team doing this. I was feeling bad I couldn’t produce enough just to give him my milk. I fell in love with our nurse practioner in our pediatrician office that convinced me “fed is best,” and I am 100 percent about this now.

A couple of weeks in and although breastfeeding was going somewhat well, it was still a struggle most days. My son was gaining a ton of weight, and all was going how it should be going. Now colic was settling in. This should be every mothers worst fear. It is an absolute nightmare if your baby gets this. I cut basically what felt like everything out of my diet, and now was a plain jane when it came to food. My days consisted of all day in pajamas, nights of screaming and crying-both of us, bouncing all day and night through my house, constantly holding him, and trying to be the mind reader of what in the world could be wrong. The only time he would sleep was on myself or my husband and they were “cat” naps. I still am amazed anytime I see a new baby just hanging out or sleeping because I sure never got that. The weeks and weeks of no sleep and a miserable baby were catching up to me and my husband.

We were past the point of delusional and gripe water was in our house like it was going out of style. Total life saver. The only advice the doctor would give was to give him gripe water, give him gas drops, blah, blah, blah and most days nothing would help. I was so emotional. Why was my baby so unhappy? What could possibly be wrong? I remember just breaking down and calling my husband at work in tears, just not knowing what to do and feeling like everything I was doing was totally wrong. It was so hard as a new mother. There was just no light at the end of the tunnel. It was day after day, week after week. I was stuck in the walls of my house with a baby that seemed to hate everything. I felt like I was going to crash of exhaustion and I felt bad my nights were full of tears for both of us and me begging my baby to stop crying.

After weeks and weeks of reading up on everything, sleep training, eating {beyond} plain, and getting a great schedule down, I got a whole new {happy} baby! It was a total life changer and I was finally becoming myself again. He now was eating, taking naps, smiling, cooing, and get this, sleeping THROUGH the night in his OWN crib. I couldn’t believe it either.

Then about two weeks ago problems began again. He began latching and unlatching, getting mad every feeding especially at night, and my worst nightmare seemed like it was coming back. I read about “nursing strikes” and thought surely this was it and he would stop soon. Nope. I had to make the decision this last weekend to try formula. I needed my happy boy back again. Good thing I did this because he clearly was not getting near enough from me. My poor baby! Bad mom award over here.

This weekend had this mama in tears and SO emotional. Our breastfeeding journey is beginning to come to an end after 3 and a half months of a pure struggle. I really didn’t understand the bond, emotionally, till now. It has been so sad for me to stop, but guys, fed is BEST. I just want my son healthy and happy and he is so much happier this way already. Well I mean eating wise. I feel like I have a VERY stubborn boy on my hands. I am so thankful for the support around me and hope other moms don’t feel like a bad mom just for doing what is BEST for their baby and themselves.

About

My name is Chelsie Overgaauw. Born in New Mexico, grew up in California, and now living my adult life in Texas. I am a 26 year old stay at home {new} mama to my sweet boy and I am married to my best friend. I have experienced a lot in life already, good and bad, and have a lot more to experience. I am a lover of cooking, writing, photography, and design. Follow along to learn more.

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