Thursday, September 9, 2010

Breast vs. Bottle

I hate this debate. I've tried to fight it for as long as I can, but I think the breast is losing. I feel like a failure, but it's best thing for Joshua.

He's has been gaining weight the past few nights. The nights he has gained are consistent with the days that he has had more bottle than breast.

I tried nursing Josh twice yesterday. He fought me both times. I tried for 25 mintues to get him to latch on, but he refused, screaming and crying. I know for a fact he burned more calories than he ate at both of those feedings.

He's been taking the bottle, filled with my milk and fortified with formula, better than he has been nursing. I'm tired of wondering after each feeding if he's gotten enough, or latched on correctly, or if he got more calories than he's burned. I'm tired of feeling guilty that maybe I'm pushing breastfeeding for my own selfish reasons rather than for what is best for Joshua to get him to grow.

So, my decision is made. I'm going to pump exclusively and bottle feed. I hate that it's come to that. I feel like a failure, but at this point, it's the best thing for Joshua to get him to grow. And I guess pumped breastmilk is better than none at all. I also need to be thankful that he's taking his milk orally and we have not had any oral aversions. It could be so much worse than what it is. It's just hard for me to give up something that I love so much.

So bottle it is....

He took his first full 50mL bottle yesterday
The nurses thought it was reason to celebrate!


Jenny Lincoln said...

You should absolutely NOT feel like a failure. You are doing the best that you can. Like you said, sometimes breastfeeding burns more calories than heart babies are taking in and they need those extra fortified calories. He is doing so well drinking from a bottle! Keeping you all in our thoughts and prayers that Joshua keeps gaining oz's and you guys can get home soon!!

Kathie said...

(((((hugs))))) You are NOT a failure. You are doing what a good mommy does, sacrificing what you want for what is best for Joshua. I really wanted to BF Amelia, but I couldn't, so I pumped too and supplemented with formula. It wasn't what I ideally wanted, but it was what she needed, and it enabled her to grow for the second surgery and handle it well, and that was what needed to happen. I still wish I'd been able to, but I don't think she's any worse for the wear for it, so I am usually at peace with the way things went and you'll get there too.

We are praying for Joshua to gain weight and remain stable so you can both go home!

Jennifer said...

You are not a failure!! It's hard to give up on breastfeeding, but it's best for Joshua to get as much calories as possible so he can be big and strong.
I was also disappointed when I couldn't breastfeed, but knew it was for the best!
So great he is taking the bottle so well!! That's so important. We fought and fought the bottle for 5 months! Luckily after the Glenn it got better! Now Colin eats everything in sight!


Veronica said...

From what I have read, direct breastfeeding a hypoplast baby is quite rare. It is great that he is doing so well with the bottle...and you are filling it with breastmilk so I wouldn't feel guilty for a second... you are doing your very best and it is certainly a gift to him that you are pumping. Whatever is the least stressful and healthiest is what we want for our babies! I bought my very first bottle the other day to have on hand to sample. I read the reviews on amazon and saw that the Gerber Nuk is supposed to be one of the best for fresh out of the NICU babies, and it is cheap too!
I have never bottle fed, and this will be my ninth baby... but whatever it takes to put some chub on my baby (coming Sept 22).
May I ask what goals they have set for Joshua before going home?

Anonymous said...

You are such a success for putting your child first! I had to pump and tube-feed exclusively (we never even got to the bottle feeding stage) and it was heartbreaking at first. However, in the scheme of things I decided there were so many other battles to worry about and take care of that I finally gave myself permission to let go. Ava thrived and I think part of it was doing what was best in total and not getting hung up on the single issue of breastfeeding. Feel free to grieve the loss of the breastfeeding dream but then celebrate that you are such a wonderful mom, meeting Joshua's needs and helping him get bigger and stronger! We are praying for you.


The Real Life of a Red Head said...

Veronica- our goals to get home are as follows:

1.) be completely weaned off the methedone. He has about 6 more days before he is completely weaned.

2.) be weaned off of the continuous pump feedings. Everyday they are decreasing his pump feeds and increasing his PO (mouth) feeds, and bolus feeds.

3.) consistent weight gain

4.) consistent feedings from breast or bottle with little or no reflux.

SteveC said...

Whatever it takes to get you two home!

Hope you are feeling better, Jill!


Amy said...

If it makes you feel better, I'm totally jealous that you can even pump, LOL! When I first had to give up breastfeeding itself, I continued to try pumping. Unfortunately, I was unable to do even that, and Sean was an exclusively formula fed baby. I totally understand your feelings of guilt though because I had that when I had to give up all hope of giving my son ANY of my milk, and concede to formula feeding. But thanks to a very, very kind lactation consultant, I was able to understand that the goal is to feed the baby. Period. Whatever that means and however that happens. In my case, she assured and reassured me that formula these days is the best it's ever been and bonding isn't solely about putting the baby on the breast. I was able to bond awesomely with Sean while bottle feeding. And he's now a very healthy, happy, and very-well-bonded-with-Mommy 3-year old :-D. You're doing awesome!!

Hope's Blog said...

Pump away. It is a great thing...breakmilk no matter how he gets it. I wish I had pumped longer...too much stress took its toll on my production supply (sounds like a manufacturing company). Keep up the pumping and fortify and let the little man grow like a weed...then you get to go home and love on him all the time!

Erika said...

Do NOT feel like a failure for a second! Breast milk from the bottle is every bit as good as straight out nursing! In fact, many mothers will tell you it is harder because it takes more time - pump, take care of all that, plus feed the baby! I know because I pumped for my daughter for 5 months.

Plus, you have even more reason to quit with Joshua's need to not lose calories right now! You are doing an amazing job! Hang in there! ((HUGS))

Anonymous said...

Please do NOT look at this as a failure - what have you failed at? Joshua is getting your breast milk - does it really matter in the big scheme of things how he gets it? I am VERY suprised the dr's even allowed you to attempt it. We were told that if a baby is in the NICU/CVICU/PICU that they have to monitor to the drop how much they are taking in - not able to do that straight from the breast. Both of my children were NICU babies so I pumped with both - by the time we got out of the hospital they would not latch at all. I will be honest and say that I had some sorrow over the fact that I could not "breast feed" but they were getting my milk.

Please don't stress over this - it can effect your milk production and that is what Joshua needs right now, no matter how he gets it!

Shannon Egan

kirsten michelle said...

Yes, at least he is getting your milk. I have the same fear about this happening with Ewan -- I have been looking forward to the breastfeeding experience, the bonding and all that But I'm afraid that he'll end up getting me through a bottle instead.

I can't relate to the feeling of failure, but I can certainly understand why you'd feel that way. I know you're doing everything you can for him and I know it's got to be hard to see this happening.

You're a good mama, Jill.

Arika said...

You are not a failure!

Anonymous said...

Hi Jill,
I have not met you in person, but found your blog through a friend. I read about your feelings of failure beause you could not breastfeed. I felt the same way with my son, funnily enough his name is Joshua. He did not have severe health problems, but was a premie. I was so upset that he would not breastfeed. I did not know at the time he had some sucking and mouth issues. (He is in the 8th grade now and has been in speech since kindergarten.) I was also one of those who could not pump enough to feed him. So he was a formula baby. And I felt guilty. But learned that getting him enough to eat, however I did it was important. I will keep up with your blog and pray for you and your family. Sandy

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