I have not been very successful with breastfeeding. It all started with Ruby not being interested at the breast and falling asleep, and progressed to the point of her being fitful, and right pissed off every time she was/is presented with the breast. She lost a bunch of weight - she was under 7lbs, down a whole pound at one point. It was then that I was told to get a pump and supplement the breastfeeding with bottle feeding.
The minute that bottle of breast milk went in her mouth, her whole demeanor changed. She stopped scratching at her own face (she had actually scratched the inside of her eye quite badly during one feeding), she stopped scratching my breasts, she stopped crying, she stopped throwing her head around, she stopped kicking. The minute that bottle went in her mouth, she instantly calmed down, relaxed and she was ever so content. Her little face became so peaceful and her eyes actually lit up. She was very obviously happy and content.
I briefly (for a couple of days) had a supply issue after I started pumping. My midwife believes it was stress that caused the shortage. I also think it could have been my physical post birthing condition as well - weak from blood loss and dehydrated. It was thought that maybe Ruby was an impatient baby and wasn't waiting for my milk to let down - which was why she was getting so mad and thrashing around. It turns out, that was not the problem as there is no longer any shortage whatsoever, yet she still reacts the same way when given the breast - even when milk it literally squirting out of my breasts and all over Ruby's face and everything else in range.
Since supplementing with pumped breast milk, I've done less and less breastfeeding - although I still try breastfeeding every single day. She's almost fully back to her birth weight now and she's ever so much happier. There is a noticeable difference between the days when I try to breastfeed her more. The more I try to breastfeed, the worse our day is. Days when I try to breastfeed her more, she is fussy and cranky. Days that I bottle feed her my breast milk she's happy, alert, content.
I have spent hours at a time, just trying to get just one successful feed into her - with no luck. The frustration level of both of us is ridiculous.
I am at a crossroads right now. I am really very saddened that I have failed in the breastfeeding department. I wanted so badly to be able to do this. I see so many other moms that have been successful and I can't help but think that there's something wrong with me that I haven't been able to do it. I love Ruby soooo much and I want to do everything right for her. I feel that I am denying the best possible thing for her. But on the other hand, I feel like it's the only way I can get her fed properly and keep her happy and content.
I cannot begin to tell you how frustrating and upsetting it is for me every day when I try and try and try and she refuses my breast. I cry a lot. I feel devastated. I feel on the verge of being depressed and I really don't want that.
I've talked to a lactation consultant and I've spent many hours on the phone and in visits with my midwives. The last resort that was just suggested to me is a Supplemental Nursing System. I've just discussed it with my midwife and she told me to sleep on it and decide if it's something I want to try as a last ditch effort.
To be honest, at this point I don't know if I'm interested in even trying it. I feel defeated and so sad already. I'm frustrated and upset. I don't want even more pressure on me to try the SNS only to have that fail on me too.
I feel really terrible. It's been drilled into my brain that breastfeeding is the absolute best thing you can do for your baby - and I really wanted to do it. The fact that I can't - or haven't been able to, makes me feel really, very bad inside.
I need to be able to fix the problem or get over it. I need to find a way to be at peace with the situation. I love Ruby so much and I want her to be happy and I want the best for her.
I'm racked with guilt.