Saturday, April 7, 2012

I have a bottle fed baby.

I did an update a week or so ago and included with it how Kyra was now a bottle fed baby and I sold my pump.  I said there would be an explanation.  Honestly, there isn't much of one. I've felt a flood of emotions about it.  From anger, to hurt, to bitterness, to frustration, to jealousy, to acceptance, to sucking it up and getting over it. There are times when I see other mom's feeding their baby that I feel a twinge of guilt and I have to blink back tears.  That should be me. I should be feeding Kyra that way.  I can honestly say I went down with a fight.  It was not for lack of trying by any means.  There was nothing else I could do.
We went to Kyra's four month check up and she hadn't gained enough weight.  She'd dropped below the threshold (20th percentile) and they were concerned so we decided to come back in a month.  She and I had been struggling, as I've talked about before, to the point of tears and exhaustion at every feeding.  The doctor confirmed my fears and so we started pushing the bottle more.  We made it to four and a half months of just breast milk.  But, I was so determined she wouldn't have to use formula that I was pumping to the point I made myself bleed.  Not just a little mind you, it was pretty substantial.
My friend, Meghan, called me on it.  Breastfeeding, giving Kyra breast milk was quickly becoming an idol for me.  It was all I could think about.  I was letting so much other stuff go just so I could give Kyra breast milk.  Some would call that doing the best for Kyra.  Others called me crazy.  I will admit now, and had to admit then, that I had reached that proverbial line in the sand and jumped across it. I had to decrease what I was doing because honestly, I was sacrificing too much and it wasn't worth it.  I was hurting myself physically and emotionally and sacrificing precious time WITH Kyra and Teagan and Josh.  After a little while my body gave up.  It realized it wasn't Kyra at my breast but a measly pump.  After a few weeks my milk was gone and we ran out of our freezer supply.  Now, she is a formula fed baby.   I broke out in HIVES the day I realized we would have to put her on formula.  I cried crocodile tears on the day we sold the pump.
I know she won't grow an extra arm.  I know she is going to be just as smart as her sister.  I know she is developmentally on target and growing like a weed.  Like she should.  Sometimes it still hurts though.  In the middle of the night when she can't go back to sleep; I know if I could just put her to my breast she would settle in a mere minute and fall right back to sleep.  Now, we have to give her an entire bottle before she will settle down.  I do feel pangs of guilt, like when we're at church and a mom sneaks out to feed her baby while I'm feeding Kyra with a bottle during the sermon.  I feel envious when other moms talk about their babies wanting to be at the breast all the time.  I am sure it's a little frustrating for them, but I can only wish that was me complaining.  Then there is the fact that I breastfed Teagan for an entire year.  I almost feel like I've done Kyra an injustice.  Like she isn't getting the things Teagan got because I wasn't able to do the same for her.
There are upsides that I have tried to focus on.  Teagan has fed Kyra, Josh gets to feed her more often.  We've been able to leave both girls at my parents for a night.  Feedings are good now for Kyra and I at night.  We snuggle up in the rocking chair, she buries the side of her head close to my chest and drinks the bottle while we stare at each other and I smile.  That is how a feeding should be.  That is how ours are now.  No more circus act.  No more acrobatics trying to keep her latched.  It's peaceful.  It's calm.  It's a good experience instead of a frustrating one.  It is exactly how our time should be together.