Friday, August 15, 2014

The Day I Decided to Stop Breastfeeding...

This will be the last post in my World Breastfeeding Week 2014 series. Probably the last time I will discuss this topic at all, considering I don't have too much experience with it - although I do cherish and appreciate the 8 weeks that I was able to bond with and provide for my babies.

The day I decided to stop breastfeeding was sudden. So sudden, in fact, that I didn't even realize the last time I was feeding my babies would actually be my last time breastfeeding. Within hours, my life and our routine changed. I wasn't okay with it at first, but within 2 days I knew that we had made the right decision - as hard as it was. 

A little background...

I returned to work at 7 weeks postpartum (I know, right??? That was even with using a full week of precious vacay!) I was still almost exclusively breastfeeding my twins- only giving about 1 bottle of formula a day and supplementing with pumped milk. We were doing well - and I was blessed with a crazy-good supply. Had my babies been more efficient eaters we may have been able to get rid of the pump and the formula all together. But it wasn't meant to be. Several factors played a role in how we decided to stop breastfeeding. I believe that returning to work that early postpartum is ultimately what destroyed us.

I had to pump right before I left the house for work, at least 2 times while I was there, and then immediately feed the babies upon my return. It was rough. I was engorged from day one and no amount of feeding or pumping could do anything about it. Within a few days I had developed full-blown mastitis (I would not wish mastitis on the person that I hate the most in this world... or maybe I would? Nope. It's horrible.) I fed my babies one evening, after feeling pretty darn crappy all day, took my temperature and then headed straight to the urgent care facility since it's.always.the.weekend when I'm sick! Geez. ALWAYS!

The doctor there had no idea about mastitis or breastfeeding mothers in general. He didn't understand engorgement and actually kept asking me if I had implants. No. No no no no. He put me on an antibiotic injection and oral antibiotics and told me it was pump and dump only - no feeding the babies milk for 2 weeks. It was heartbreaking. I realized that I had probably breastfed my babies for the last time unknowingly and I didn't even appreciate it at the time because I was feeling so sick. I knew there was no way I would be able to function with pumping and dumping and still have a decent supply at the end of the 2 weeks - or my sanity! 

The following day I go see my regular doctor and, of course, I was given the wrong antibiotics and information the night before. But it was too late. I was in so much pain and so through with breastfeeding I had decided that I was stopping cold turkey (probably one of the worst decisions I've ever made - so much pain! - but hindsight is always 20/20!!!) Mastitis got the best of me. We switched to formula at the point and we haven't looked back. I keep thinking that if I had more time before returning to work, if I had a more knowledgeable doctor, if I had more support (if I weren't such a pain-sissy?) - maybe we could have powered through! But it's in the past. I would love to be able to provide support to friends and family who decide to breastfeed in the future, though!

Formula feeding has given me my life back. It now only takes about a half hour to feed my babies instead of 75 minutes. I don't have boob issues to deal with. I can let other people feed them. The formula does keep them full longer, don't even try to tell me it doesn't! If I were to have another baby, which I won't be, I would probably re-try the whole breastfeeding thing. But I wouldn't kill myself for it. Formula is just as good and it's what works for us.

1 comment:

  1. I am stopping breast feeding my daughter after 18 months. I have done my part and enjoyed bonding and nurturing my daughter and providing healthy nutrients and antibodies to her body.