Friday, May 27, 2011

Mommy Guilt, Chapter One

It was that title, or "Mommy's Intuition, Chapter One".


The routine I was advised to follow for Michaela's feeding schedule was tortuous in my opinion. After nursing on each side for fifteen minutes, I then gave her 1 ounce of formula, and completed the cycle with fifteen minutes on the breast pump. Mind you, the most I ever pumped was 10 mL of colostrum. I was supposed to repeat this every three hours round the clock.

Besides being a grueling schedule, I didn't feel like Michaela was getting the nutrition she needed. I was really frustrated and I gave up on the pumping a couple days ago. I also felt that the breastfeeding wasn't even as bonding and pleasurable for us both as the time with the bottle was. She latches on like a barracuda and then falls asleep.

What caused me the most concern was that Michaela's stools were still dark as of this morning. They had not transitioned to yellow like all my baby books said they should have several days ago, and one of my books said that was a reason to contact our pediatrician.

So I did, and we were seen this morning by one of our pediatrician's colleagues. A very sweet, older gentleman. The kind of doctor we'd all like to have growing up - warm and gentle. Michaela was weighed and she only weigh eight pounds. That's more than she weighed when we left the hospital, but it's not her birth weight. We took a dirty diaper with us, and he said her poopy didn't have meconium in it, but that its dark color was indicative of starvation.


Thus the "mommy guilt".

I told him what our routine had been for the last week, and he told me that one ounce of formula was not enough. Michaela is to be given as many ounces as she will consume after being on the breast. He also advised me to get some nipple shields for nursing because she has done a number on me. Like I said, she's a chomper!!! He said that our nursing time is for intimacy and bonding, but the bottle will ensure that she is getting the amount of nutrition she needs. He said by the time we return for our next appointment next week, he expects her to have gained a half pound. And gone is the three-hour routine. He said she is to eat whenever she wants to. (Note: we just tried the breastfeeding with the nipple shields, and she was not into it at all! I don't know if that will work for us.)

I felt really good walking out of there knowing better what to do for my precious daughter. I just want her to have what she needs. I don't care about breastfeeding versus bottle feeding. I just want her to be well-fed and satisfied.

Here's a picture from yesterday. I was trying to get her to wake up for our required feeding time, but she just wanted to keep on sleeping. Today she's getting to sleep and eat whenever she wants to, and we're both happier about it.


  1. sorry it's been so hard! I am glad the Dr. was able to give you another game plan. I know you all will work at the right thing for you.

  2. sorry to hear you are having such problems. glad you went with you mommy intuition and called the dr. better safe than sorry. as long as baby is gaining weight and happy and mommy too, that is what matters. she is beautiful
    hope things get easier with time and as you settle into a routine that is best for you and her.

  3. I'm glad you are letting her eat whenever she wants. :) Babies know! Mine always nursed every two hours. Which meant I hardly ever got dressed after nursing, burping, switching boobs, etc. Topless is the new mommy look! I will pray that she does better and I will pray that nursing gets better so you can have that special time. I know everyone is different but it took literally 6 weeks before my nipples toughened up. And that was with nursing every 2 hours! I probably would have switched to formula if I could have afforded it, LOL.

  4. Sounds like you need a good lactation consultant. Can your doula recommend one to you?

  5. YAY for both of you being happier. You will do just what you need to do... good job trusting yourself and listening to your instincts. And WOW is she just a cutie!! Look at that great hair!

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  7. She is so sweet :) Go easy on yourself. You'll figure out what's best for you and your daughter. There is a HUGE learning curve with parenting. My kiddos are 6 and many things are still a mystery! LOL. Try not to worry too much. You will figure it out. Love, love, love the hair.

  8. I love those sweet lips... you do what is best for you guys.. breastfeeding is not always great for everyone...
    Love ya.. and she will bond...she already has...

  9. You're not really looking for advice. I say do whatever works for you. A lactation consultant can be very helpful, especially with the nipple shield. I eventually moved to exclusively pumping and bottle feeding which ended up working great for us.

    Good luck and she is precious!

  10. (((((hugs))))) no mommy guilt ok? I know a lovely mama who had no problems with breastfeeding her first two then a horrific time with her third who just wouldn't gain. She did what all good mama's do - ensure their babies aren't starving like you're doing!

    BTW I know many many breatfeeding experts who say just feed on demand, so I'm so glad you've found something that is working better for you. Also someone else I know who had a horrible time said she eventually just decided every bit the baby got was good, even if it was only 50% breastmilk and 50% formula or even 90% formula. She eventually got to two breastfeeds a day and was so happy she had a content thriving baby even though he had formula 4x a day!

    Someone else I know had the same problems you did, she would breastfeed then give 3 oz formula and by 6 weeks the baby went back to fully breastfeeding.

    Such a range of outcomes but the most important thing is LOVE! :)

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  12. Huge hugs, my friend. I agree with Allison in that there is such a massive learning curve in parenting. What you are going through with Michaela is so similar to what I went through with the twins. They ravaged me to such an extent that I was bleeding constantly and couldn't get relief because I couldn't switch at each feed. Each had to have a breast!
    In the end, I had to stop because I wasn't producing enough to feed them. No one could make me feel better about it and I cried for days. It was awful.
    All this to say that I understand the guilt and wish I could say something to make it better.

  13. So adorable that sleeping angel. Good luck with the feeding.

  14. I had a similar situation Joannah, but Gillian hated breastfeeding. I was at Hoag for 6 days after my c-section, and the pressure to breastfeed was overwhelming. Meanwhile, Gill was miserable. On Day 1 at home, I decided to use formula, and the struggle immediately stopped. I did end up pumping for 3 months, but supplemented with formula. She turned out A-OK.

    Only a Mom knows what's best for her own baby. Good for you for listening to that instinct.

    Yay Mama! :)



  15. I highly recommend that you see a lactation consultant. Breastfeeding is very challenging, but it can also be very rewarding. An LC can help out tremendously!! Your hospital might have a free service or check with your doula. Paying for a consult might help you save on the cost of formula later. Good luck!

  16. As a new mom I remember every little tid-bit helped so I'll say mine :)

    Our kids had REALLY dark poops for a GOOD week after being born and then slowly transition to the whole yellow, grainy thing. I was told by my midwives and the nurses that came to the house to visit a week after the birth that they would let me know it (by screaming) if they were famished.
    You are so right about latching on with those killer jaws and then passing out. You've got great friends that comment here - an LC can just give you that one little "tid-bit" that could help.
    Glad you are doing better though!
    She is just so beautiful - please don't be too hard on yourself!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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