Thursday, February 24, 2011

When to Quit

I guess the title pretty much sums up the post.

Everyone says that the first 6 weeks of nursing are the hardest and here we are at 6 weeks. Reese still fights me on the latch 3 out of 8 feeds a day and Ryan happily nurses but he's aggressive nursing him still hurts. They are both spitting up like mad these days and are both dealing with gas issues.

I must change our sheets 5 times a week because a kid will spit up so hard that they overshoot the burp cloth and hit our bed. I tandem feed sometimes, but they seem to distract each other or I'm dealing with one falling off and then having to try to relatch them with one hand. And neither is taking a full feed when they are tandem nursing - probably because I'm not giving them my full attention and keeping them focused.

It's hard enough to feed two kids every three hours, but even more exhausting when they fall off schedule with one another. Last week when we were traveling for the funeral is when I really started to question what I was doing nursing the babies. The whole experience was so isolating. Because of the situation and travel times between my in laws home and the funeral home and reception the babies mostly took bottles. When we were at my in laws' home they were also taking bottles because there were so many family members in from out of town that I let them bottle feed so they could spend more time with family and I just left the room to pump instead.

So here I am sitting in a car in a parking lot during a funeral service pumping or in a guest bedroom by myself pumping while family sat in the kitchen eating pizza. I got to come out and microwave my dinner and eat alone.

I'm not comfortable nursing in public, so I'm pretty limited by what I can accomplish outside of our home. I pack bottles when I run errands just in case, but I try to stay on schedule so most of the time I save errands for the one day a week my mother's helper is here or I leave them for my husband.

I keep waiting for the magical nursing moment that people talk about where you feel like you're bonding with your baby and forging a special relationship with them that only you can have. Instead I feel like I move from feed to feed like a machine. I don't know if I'm too hard on myself or if that's just a reality of nursing more than one baby. I mean, at the end of the day I'm feeding another human being 20 times in a 24 hour period. Where is the downtime to cuddle and snuggle and bond? I'm not really sure it exists.

With the weather getting nicer I feel like I don't want to be trapped inside by nursing the babies. And I just started working out again and I'm (selfishly) feeling like I want my body back. My boobs have a life of their own and nearly knocked me unconscious during spin class on Monday.

Some days I'm absolutely ready to quit and other days I feel like I can make it another 19 weeks. I just feel so guilty. Obviously I want what is best for the babies and everything you read says that breastmilk through six months is what's best. Aside from some issues with blocked ducts and milk blisters, I haven't had it too hard. I have enough supply to feed both babies. I'm not even sure that switching to formula would make life easier, but I can't help feeling like it would at least make feedings more predictable and easier to do at the same time.

Anyone go through this? If you quit, looking back did it make things easier or did it just open up a new set of problems? If you stuck with it, did it get easier (if so, how?)

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