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Saturday, November 6, 2010

Mom Guilt

I never knew how acute Mom guilt could be. I'm sure the crazy hormones in the early weeks after birth don't help either.

We've been having issues with breast feeding. The biggest problem is that Evan is so young. Being born at about 35 weeks means he didn't develop the suck/swallow technique very well. This means, even though he can latch on and feed off the breast, he isn't very efficient at it and he gets tired quickly. He can be on the breast for 15-20 minutes, working as hard as he can, and not get very much milk.

So, in order for him to be able to breast feed, he needs to be bigger and stronger. In order to make sure he's getting enough food in order for him to grow bigger and stronger, we've been supplementing with bottles of pumped breast milk. But, this means that he's not getting a lot of "practice" on the breast, which could lead to him not wanting to breast feed at all in the future.

All of this has caused me a lot of anguish. Each time we try to breast feed, it is extremely emotional and frustrating. I typically end up crying, and feel like I just want to give up. I worry because I know he doesn't get much milk from me, and so we have to supplement with a bottle. I get frustrated being attached to the pump, because it means less quality time I'm spending with him. I worry that my milk supply either won't keep up with his demand or will start to deplete.

I talked to my midwives about this yesterday, and they eased my mind a bit by saying the important thing right now is that Evan is growing and getting stronger. If that means he's getting breast milk from a bottle, then so be it. Hopefully, once he gets strong enough, he'll be able to breast feed. And if he doesn't end up being able to for whatever reason, there are other solutions.

Now a confession: I haven't attempted to breast feed for two days and I feel a lot better emotionally. I've been able to feed Evan from a bottle and I feel more connected with him. I know that I should try breast feeding again soon, but I am so nervous because I don't want to deal with the pressure of having "successful" feeds.

Before Evan arrived, I knew I wanted to breast feed. What I didn't realize was how agonizing it would be if I couldn't do it for some reason. I feel okay with where we are right now, because it's acceptable for it not to be working because he's young --- but then I think about a week, two weeks, a month from now and I'm already overcome by guilt if it doesn't work (or if I decide not to push forward).

This whole mom thing is hard. I just want to give Evan the best, and I feel my best might not be good enough.