I Gave Up Breastfeeding
…… And I feel guilty all the time.
The mass articles/news/studies/blogs about how great breast-milk is, the so-called “liquid gold”, only make me feel even more guilty. Friends who keep telling me that they will support me and it is my decision to continue or not, again make me feel that I am a bad mom. Not a day goes by without me feeling guilty since the day I stopped breastfeeding…… Not a day I feel guilt-free……
I have a loving husband that loves and adores me more than anything else. When I was exhausted from all the pumping and feeding, he had helped me with cleaning the bottles and fetching the pump. When I was too tired from the midnight pumping, he had helped with the nappy change. When I was too sleepy to wake up, he had helped with warming the breast-milk and feeding the baby. When I was having difficulty breastfeeding and cried every time I breastfeed, he had told me to stop. Again and again, he told me to stop breastfeeding since I suffered from the day I gave birth. He is a very supportive husband and he does support breastfeeding, but he just can’t bear to see his wife suffer and unhappy anymore. “What’s the point of breastfeeding when you are not even happy feeding? You have not been happy since the day you gave birth…… If you fall sick, how to take care of Lucy……” And people always say, happy mommy, happy baby……
I can only blame myself for not getting proper help from a lactation consultant. When I finally did, it was too late.
I was having sore and cracked nipples all the time. When I stopped direct latching to let them heal, I kept having engorgement. The pump never really helped in emptying the breasts.
To this day, I still can’t figure out if it’s bad latch problem or my nipples problem. No one can tell me exactly what is the cause, not even the lactation consultant. All they told me is baby has got perfect latch, but I still felt constant pain whenever baby latched on. They even told me I would get used to it after some time, but I never got used to it. The pain only got more and more intense and worse. The pain would persist hours after the feed. No one could really understand what pain I was going through and I couldn’t exactly describe it. They even told me they have seen cases worse than mine, and I should be able to get through this. But I didn’t.
The day I stopped breastfeeding was the day I got mastitis. I was already having fever for 2 days, on the third night, I woke up to the pain of engorgement. Went to see Dr. Suhaimi and he put me on strong antibiotics. I too went for a breasts ultrasound to make sure there was no abscess. That day, I cried so much and loud. I cried because I can’t breastfeed anymore, I cried because Lucy is not getting breast-milk anymore, and I cried because I’m not going to have that special breastfeeding bonding moment with Lucy anymore. I cried, feeling I’m a bad mother.
The day I had mastitis was also the day Lucy going to her first month check-up. When I told the paediatrician that Lucy was having some mild rashes, she advised us to change her formula to hypo allergic as she suspect Lucy was allergic to cow’s milk. While in the hospital waiting for my turn to do the ultrasound, Lucy already had two feedings with the new formula. When we got home, it was her feeding time again. I was surprised that Lucy did not finish the bottle but at the end, slowly, she finished it. When I was changing her wet diaper, she had projectile vomiting. It was so scary and the milk literally gushed out from her mouth and sprayed across the room, a lot of them! I was alone at home and I got so scared. But amazingly, Lucy was all smile and calm and she didn’t seem bothered with her vomiting. Again, I cried. If I could still breastfeed her, this wouldn’t have happened. I was blaming myself and I felt so bad.
Luckily, the projectile vomiting was just an one-off case. She’s back on the normal formula milk and her rashes are cleared. But my guilt has never gone away.
After I recovered from the mastitis, I noticed that I can still produce milk. I know if I want, I can start breastfeeding again, not direct latching, but I can pump and give Lucy breast-milk again. However, I don’t get support from Andrew.
I know, it’s my body, if I insist, he can’t do a thing. But I know I would not feel good if I don’t get his support and I understand why he does not want me to breastfeed again. He has seen it all, he knows and understands how difficult is and will be.
I asked him many times, if I am selfish for not breastfeeding because I will be very tired. He said, “if you’re tired and can’t take care of baby, that is even worse. And you’re not happy. You still can bond with Lucy in so many ways.”
So, here I am. Everyday fighting with my own devil, until the day I can finally let it go.
I can only comfort myself, at least Lucy did get breast-milk for one and a half months.