Monday, July 18, 2011

Confessions of a Mama who Formula Fed

(©) Amber Carder 2011. Amber shares her journey of working with a late diagnosis of tongue-tie and perhaps thrush. She shares the struggles she made to choose formula and the relief she felt when she discovered an online community for donor milk.

From the first time he nursed I knew in my heart that something wasn't right. I asked the midwife if I was doing it right and she said that he looked like he was latching on just fine. I still felt like something wasn't right. I kept nursing even though I felt as if my nipples would just fall off! 

At 2 days old our midwife came to visit. My nipples were busied and blistered. She checked his tongue and said it didn't look like he was tongue-tied but that might be something we needed to verify. We just chalked the pain up to me needing to get used to nursing. Uh oh!

I met with a La Leche League leader and she said she suspected he had a tight frenulum. She thought his latch looked beautiful and couldn't figure out any other explanation for why I was in so much pain. She recommended I nurse and pump as often as possible and she gave me a number to an ENT. 

I kept nursing and nursing as much as possible. I pumped some but was never able to get a lot. My husband would finger feed him what I did get. I nursed him very often. He never went an hour without eating. That was when I made the decision to get him into an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist. 

At 10 days old we took him in to the office. The doctor said he had a posterior tongue-tie. A posterior tongue-tie is when the frenulum is tight. Further back under the tongue. He wasn't able to totally lift his tongue or stick it out far enough. They clipped it right there and the doctor said we had a 70% chance that nursing would get better for us with in the next 2 weeks. 

I prayed that it would get better. I could tell my supply was dwindling. I started drinking Mothers Milk Tea like it was going out of style. I was eating right and drinking lots of water. I tried pumping when I could but it hurt really bad to even pump. I developed vasospasms. My nipples weren't getting good blood flow.

I lived with a heating pad on my breasts. I couldn't hold the baby when I had it on me in fear of him getting too hot. It was hard to hold him even when I didn't have it on me because I was in so much pain. It was affecting our bond. I wanted nothing more than to nurse my baby and truly felt like I was failing him.

The pain was unbearable. My husband tried being supportive but he didn't understand why I was letting myself be in that much pain. “It would be easier to just give him a bottle.” But that wasn't an option for me. At least not until I knew there was nothing else I could do in my case. I kept on nursing!
At about 4 weeks I woke up one morning and my nipples were completely sucked into my body. What the heck is going on with me? Why is this happening to me? Things just keep getting worse. I've never been in this much pain before. I can only compare this feeling to strong contractions during labor. This wrenching, toe-curling feeling has got to stop! I just can't take it anymore! I've cried enough tears. This is supposed to be a happy time. 

Every time I tried to talk too my midwife about it, she made me feel guilty for even entertaining the thought of formula. She told me how badly I would regret this someday. Maybe she was right. But I knew this wasn't fair to either of us. She came to my house to “help me” a few times. Nothing was working. I was losing hope.

At 6 weeks I made the decision that enough was enough. I couldn't do this anymore! How could this be happening to us? I'm one of the most pro-breastfeeding people out there. It's just not fair. I almost felt like it was karma for me being judgmental in the past. 

Giving him formula was the hardest thing I've ever had to do as a mother. It had to be done. I refused to feed him for the first couple days. I just couldn't do it. I finally got over it and I knew he still needed his mama. 

When I brought it to my midwife’s attention she flipped out on me and told me that I should have consulted with her before I made the decision. She also told me she would not be giving me my last postpartum appointment because she doesn't see babies who are no longer breastfed. She then had enough nerve to ask me for the $30 for the rental of her pump. I told her I paid her in full for her services and since I wasn't getting my last visit I thought we could just call it even. 

After a couple weeks of researching milk sharing, I decided to try to get some milk. I found a group on Facebook called Human Milk for Human Babies. I found this awesome girl, with tons of milk to share. 

Thankfully my son is still getting some of the good stuff today. He is still on formula but thanks to my new friend he is able to build up some natural immunities through her milk. 
Thank you Shaye, for donating milk. You’ve brought me and my baby happiness!”

1 comment:

  1. What a horrible midwife! I can't believe she treated you like that! I'm so sorry your nursing relationship was sabotaged by her, but thankful you got in contact with HM4HB!