The Guilt

IMG_1850fWhy do I always feel guilty? Why do I always feel that I am not doing enough? Why do I always think that the grass is always greener on the other side? As we approach the six month-mark of exclusive breastfeeding (so proud of myself), and four sharp teeth, I am contemplating the idea of changing things up. I have discussed about potentially getting a pump with some of you, and still haven’t. I am beyond exhausted. I have lost an amazing amount of weight (which is great, don’t get me wrong, but I feel weak), my nipples are sore, and I am just not enjoying it as much. We are still co-sleeping, and she still nurses frequently at night.

I feel the need to mention that I am writing this post during a growth-spurt and therefore, I am very sensitive about the issue. After a couple nights of constant nursing, I am ready to tackle tonight but I can’t help and wonder: Have I hit rock bottom? Is this it? Can I keep going like that for a few more months?

One part of me wants to stop breastfeeding and feels extremely guilty for not wanting to continue to do what is best for my daughter. And the other part of me wants the best for me (mentally and physically speaking). It is just me and the girls 24/7 most of the times as my husband works away, and although we have family here, I care for them exclusively. I dream of a day off. I feel bad about it but it would make me feel so good – walking around, light and free. I would sleep in, read an entire book, window-shop without the stress of being as quick as possible so that my babies aren’t too cranky by the end of it, create, paint, do nothing.

What does it have to do with breastfeeding? Yes, good point. Well, I feel like I am losing myself. I don’t want to be cranky anymore because my child bites me when I feed her. I don’t want to be cranky because I don’t have time for myself in the evening. I don’t want to be cranky because I don’t have uninterrupted sleep. But when she is in her own bed, I can’t find sleep because I miss her.

My first baby drank formula when she turned 2 months old. I wanted the best for her. And I want the best for the new baby. But I know more. I have grown as a parent, and a mother, and it is hard to ignore the simple facts. Breast is best. It is not going to damage her – Sixtine is a beautiful toddler, but I can’t quite tell myself: “Oh, I am tired, I’ll just give her formula. It doesn’t matter that it isn’t best for her.” Pumping would be ideal. Unfortunately, it takes up so much time and energy – I am afraid it might make things even more complicated than they are now.

I am at a complete loss.

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Comments

  1. Deb, are you on PEI right now? Is there way to contact you privately? I think back to several times over the years when I could identify completely with this post…

  2. Your post is honest and real and I respect you so much for that. My youngest was born very prematurely. I had to take Domperidone just to make enough milk to keep going. It was terrible, and exhausting. The MOST important piece in all of this is YOUR health. Both physical and mental. Why do I say that? Surely it’s the happiness of our child that is more important? Yet how can a child be truly happy when their parent is suffering from exhaustion.
    I have no advice, I only have what we did. Take what you need to from it.
    I: pumped when I could (even for 2 mins after feeding got some to store away in the freezer), bottle fed breast milk when I could (even 1 feeding without biting was enough to keep me going), drank a tonne of water and ate better than I ever have or will again. Convinced myself (finally!) that me missing him when he slept in his own room but getting sleep was so much better than no sleep with him being with me.
    We also (slowly) introduced solids at 6 months. I continued to pump as much but replaced a breast feeding with a bottle of breast milk (the lunch one) every day. It made a huge difference.
    No matter what anyone (Dr., family, complete strangers) say, you must do what is the healthiest option for yourself. You have 2 beautiful, smart, funny daughters, that love you. What ever you decide to do I know they will “turn out” just fine.

    • Thank you Beth. Your comment made me very emotional. I guess the mom-guilt comes in every time you feel that you are putting yourself before your children. But you are right: a healthy and happy mummy makes a happy baby. I am going to let it sink it and see what option works the best for us. I might introduce a bottle to start with…and we will see how things go.
      Again, thank you for sharing your experience. I really appreciate that.

  3. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Give her both! You’ll both be fine 🙂

  4. I can remember many of times that I felt the exact same way. All I could ever do was take it day by day…I would try to build up the strength to get through that day and do it all over again the next day. You are one amazing Mama doing it all by yourself with 2 little ones…keep your head up and know you are doing an amazing job. Whatever you decide is ultimately what is best for you and your kiddos…only you know what will work for your family. Saying a prayer for you…just know in the end it will all work out.

    • Thank you. This is what I have been doing and it helped me go through the first six months. I always get discouraged during growth-spurts because it is so exhausting. It seems that she is always so hungry and gets frustrated I guess which leads to biting. I have been drinking a lot more water as well as nursing tea…
      Thanks again for your prayers x

  5. A Frog at Large says:

    I totally get where you are coming from.I do feel you should not be feeling this exhausted by the breastfeeding at this stage however this is my personal opinion from my own experience of breastfeeding for years and not necessarily medically correct. I would still recommend you see the doctor and have your iron levels checked out, it could partially remedy your situation. I can’t say anything for the biting apart from she can’t eat and bite at the same time so you could try and preempt her actions by a couple of seconds

    • I did see a lactation consultant a couple weeks ago and she mentioned that as well: can’t bite and nurse. I watch her closely when she nurses but it seems that whenever she gets distracted, she starts “chewing” and this is when the biting occurs. Or, if she is not getting enough milk…I know breastfeeding is not the sole reason why I am exhausted and I had a severe case of anemia during pregnancy. I should probably get it checked again as I stopped taking my pills when Victoire was born. Still, nursing at night doesn’t help when you are on duty 24/7.
      Thank you for your input!

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