Friday, June 20, 2008

Feeding my baby

I definitely underestimated the power that feeding my baby has over me. I've never been satisfied in feeding my baby. Of course, E and I were so committed to breastfeeding that she was working on lactation as well. We had planned to nurse A until he was a year old and thought that two of us working toward that end would make it all the more likely that we would give him the best start in life possible.

Of course, you all know of our bowel ordeals. Now, A is on a predigested formula that costs a bazillion dollars (not covered by insurance yet/still....) Instead of proteins, he gets amino acids and instead of fats, he gets fatty acids. When A's stools are within reasonable volume (as in, he is not "dumping"/having increased output and is therefore absorbing an appropriate amount of his nutrients and water), we are able to mix in a bit of breast milk so that he hopefully gets some of the good stuff from it as well.

All of this is somewhat painful for me. Of course, the surgery and the not-knowing around it were nightmarish. That aside, I have all of these issues around A's eating. I pump 6-8 times a day trying to keep up my supply. I feel desperate to try breastfeeding once he is reconnected. Feeding him now is unsatisfying to me - and how selfish is that?! His nutrition is not about me. Yet, I am struck by how I cannot feed my child.

I am not able to focus on the positives: that we no longer have to feed him in a regimented style where we feed according to a three hour schedule and to the most precise cc of formula. Now, he does get to eat when he's hungry, and we are able to give him some breastmilk... but it doesn't feel like enough to me. I want to hold him and feed him. I want to nourish him. I wish his surgery was this week so that we could be done with all of this. I'm tired anyways, all of this pumping is just overwhelming.

Of course, I also cannot stop pumping. I hate it. I hate every second of it. If I stop, though, I'll never get to just feed my child. That's what I want more than anything: those quiet moments of connection where I am giving him something that cannot be bought in a store, or manufactured by a pharmaceutical company. It is what I can do for him that no one else can. I'm glad that my pumping is used somewhat now, but I want the day where no intermediary (pump/bottle) is necessary to deliver the goods.

I know it's random. I'm just having a hard day.. time to go pump...


Lizzie said...

I'm sorry. My sister really struggled with similar issues. My nephew was a preemie and by the time he got out of the hospital (10 weeks), it was really hard to get a good breastfeeding thing going. She had lots and lots of sadness over that part of his babyhood not being what she wanted. Just to say that I think your experience/feelings are normal, given what you've gone through, and I hope that very soon you are able to feed him as you'd like. Congrats on keeping up the pumping. You're doing all the right things.

Carey said...

Pumping sucks... I hate it too. FWIW, it took me 11 weeks to get to a place where I could nurse and not be so chained to that damn pump & get that one on one nursing time. There were many, MANY times when feeding the twins felt like just a chore to me & there was no enjoyment. I'm now in a better place... a place that I hope you get to soon!! Hang in there, I KNOW pumping is overwhelming... but you can do it!!!

Merr said...

Oh I am sorry! That just sucks! Obviously A's health is most important here but it is hard. Maybe one day soon you will feed him.

MaMaMia said...

Isn't it amazing what we can put ourselves through?

You are doing an EXTRORDINARY job, if you are pumping that many times a day. Wow.

I can't totally relate to your struggle, because you guys have been through some serious shit. But, I do know that feeling of wanting to be able to feed your child, and not being able too. I had--with both boys- serious supply issues and felt like such a complete failure when they had to be supplemented with formula. I was SO committed and did everything I could, but even medication did not increase my supply enough to breastfeed exclusively. I didn't focus on the fact that, at least I could bf some, and just focused on the negative.

It sounds like you are in a similar situation. Yeah, sure it's great that he can get some of your breastmilk, but that's not enough. I UNDERSTAND. And for those of us that have that committment to bf imbed into our brains, your feelings are oh so rational.

Sorry to ramble, but S, you are seriously doing something amazing here. I hope that we can give you the support you need to continue on, and hold on to the hopeful opportunities ahead.

A Hug from LaCrosse

Jen said...

Oh, I am so sorry. How hard. I hope he has the surgery soon and you get to BF without any interference.

bleu said...

You are doing a fantastic job mama. I too hope you can get to that place as well and I understand feeling how you do. Much much much love.

E, M, and the Little Man said...

I HATED pumping too. It sucks. You are so justified in feeling that way. Also, it's so not selfish of you to want to breastfeed your child - it's your natural instinct. I hope things get better soon and you'll be able to latch him on.

Susanica said...

Hey Sara and Erin. Hang in there. You are doing the best you can with this tough situation.

Say...when you said insurance wasn't covering his formula I did some searching because I remember being inspired by reading the blog of a guy named babydaddy who sent a letter to the insurance company when his son was sick and needed expensive formula. They actually agreed to cover it. Please take a look if it helps you advocate for your son. Go to the Sept. 19, 2007 entry at

I tried to paste the whole link and blogspot got mad at me. Best of luck. -Monica

Eliza said...

Ooooo is he on Neocate? I have a child who needed that stuff and BECAUSE it was (and almost three years later still is...but totally different issues) being delivered via NG and later G-tube the ins. company covers it at 100% but if the kid gets to a point of being able to drink it they stop covering it at all. Is that what you're running into? If so then I feel your pain--during the brief interval when my baby could still eat by mouth and the stuff wasn't covered we were really scrambling to afford it...I hope A can have his surgery soon and absorb breastmilk better without the short-bowel issue...I myself suffer from occasional "dumping syndrome" triggered by stress due to a genetic syndrome and from what I understand it's MUCH worse if you have had to have any sort of surgery like A's or gastric bypass or whatnot. I have not had any surgery on my stomach as of yet and am told that it would be much worse if I have to. The good news is that from what I've read about it in babies (my youngest had that issue for a while until we figured out the whole multiple-protein-allergy deal), reconnecting kids like A is usually a "fix." I understand what you're going through--in my baby's case breastmilk was just not an option, period, and that was really, really hard :( You're doing a fantastic job of keeping up with the pumping--I admire your tenacity and wish you and your sweet little family the best!

Anonymous said...

i can imagine that this must be really hard. you are so amazing for pumping so that you will be able to nurse in the future.

sandra said...

Ugh. Although on the bright side, you'll probably have so much breast milk frozen that he can drink it even longer than a year!

OC said...

I've been following your blog for months now.

I am the mother of two preemies, one 30 weeker and one 32 weeker. Between them I spent over 3 months in the NICU and their combined birthweight was 5 lbs 2oz.

With my son, feeding him was a breeze. I nursed him for two years and was fairly smug about it, even when I had my daughter two years later. She took me down off my soap box. Sometimes nursing is so hard. Pumping can be so tedious and time consuming. I got to where I hated my pump. I only made it out of the NICU with her before I couldn't do it anymore. I guess what I'm trying to say is don't beat yourself up. You are doing your best, and that is all that counts. It's hard to be in a place where feeding your baby is hard, I know this from very real experience.

You are doing an amazing job with A. Dealing with a sick baby is one of the hardest things I've ever done. People don't understand the emotions of it unless they have "walked the walk".

Believe me, it does get better. It gets easier. I promise. Having a baby go through what you and A went through and are still going through, changes who you are inside forever.

I know you will keep doing what is best for your son, and it will be worth it. Keep pumping and hopefully soon you will be able to establish a wonderful nursing relationship with him. Even if you aren't able to, you will know that you did the very best you could do.



NotesFrom2Moms said...

i think you should know that you are being the absolutely best mom by continuing to pump. It sounds so painful but in the long run this will be great for E. Keep up the great work and be proud of yourself.

*G* said...

You're a rockstar for continuing to pump as much as you are - and I was thinking exactly what sandra mentioned already - even though it doesn't make it any easier to handle now, just think of the great stash you'll have to get him through the time after he's done nursing and you can give him the good stuff in a bottle or sippy!

Shawna said...

You are doing an amazing job.

I can only imagine what you're probably going through and the feelings you're having.

I'm nursing our little one and even though it seems like she might be on the right path...there are many nights when I feel like mentally, physically, emotionally...I just can't keep going.

I hope the end is in sight for you and hopefully your little boy will be off of that nasty formula and on your boob soon.