Saturday, July 27, 2013

When positive peer pressure is just too much

I've learned quickly in this brief postpartum period that everyone and their dog has an opinion about breastfeeding, and just how great it is. I've also discovered that some opinions are more helpful than others. and sometimes seemingly harmless comments meant to encourage can do just the opposite.
I'll admit that I've been having problems with breastfeeding thus far.  Not having anything there the first few days, then the colostrum coming in so slowly and in such small amounts I wasn't even able to syringe any up, let alone in the amounts that baby J wanted them in.  Now on to the problem that he's such an impatient eater, he won't latch on to me for more than 3-4 sucks, and then gets frustrated there isn't anything there, and that he actually has to put in some work to get something from me. Honestly, I don't want feeding time to be any more stressful than it already is for both of us (especially that 3am feeding....) that I've come up with my own system of  pumping what I can, feeding that to him, and then supplementing with formula. I'm content to do that until my actual milk comes in (and not just the colostrum or in-between the two stuff), and  if he's still too impatient after the milk comes in, then to continue on after. But then people give seemingly harmless comments about "The best thing about actually breastfeeding is..." and it's very discouraging, and honestly, a bit overwhelming. So far, I haven't been able to produce the amounts of stuff that J wants and I think that even if I could, he wouldn't latch on long enough to be able to get at it. But is there really a problem with pumping my milk, and just giving that to him in a bottle?  Isn't that good enough, and can't I get some encouragement on just what I can and am doing for this kid? I'm making sure he isn't starving, and I'm trying to get the amazing-ness that is breast milk to him in as much quantity as I possibly can. Isn't that good enough?  Can't people see that and be encouraging about "you're doing your best, and that's what counts"?  So far, out of the multiple people I've talked to about this problem (Drew, numerous nurses at the hospital, the hospital lactation consultant, mom and mom in law, sisters...) only 3 of those many, many people, have been supportive of what we've got going and encouraging that I'm trying my best, and thank heavens for today's medical advances. So yes, it is nice that people care about what's going on, and that they want to be encouraging.  Maybe just try a different tactic, and don't keep going on and on about "well, the great thing about actually breastfeeding is...." and try something more like "It sounds like you've got some problems there, but I'm glad your doing what you can for him"