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My heart is broken!

by Alicia on January 3, 2007 in New posts

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I am reaching out to you..  for advice. I am having a really tough time lately. Madelyn will not nurse any more (she is 8 months old). When I try to nurse her, she arches her back and screams like I am hurting her.
First, let me give you a little bit of history. I knew that I wanted to breastfeed Madelyn for at least one year before she was even born. I was only able to breastfeed Sebastian for 6 weeks and stopped because a lactation consultant told me that it would be better for him and me due to the stress it was causing both of us. Now, 7 years later, I know better.
Madelyn was never a great nurser (she only nursed for 2 or 3 minutes per side), but I stuck with nursing her exclusively for almost 4 months. Then after listening to my Mom tell me that she wasn’t nursing long enough to do any good, I decided to start supplementing with formula. I would breastfeed, then she would immediately gulp down a 4 -6 ounce bottle. This was our routine for 3 months.

Where things started to go crazy was when I had to go to an
Urgent Care center because I was having bad pains in my abdomen. I was
told that I had several ovarian cysts that were rupturing and I needed
to be on 2 antibiotics, one of which can not be taken while
breastfeeding… so much to my dismay, I stopped breastfeeding while I
was on the medicine. I couldn’t pump because this was during
Thanksgiving and we were staying with relatives in Kentucky where I
didn’t have access to a good Breastpump.
I have continued to try
to nurse Madelyn but she gets so upset when I start to even put her in
the nursing position now. She absolutely will not nurse. I feel so
guilty that I am not breastfeeding her any more. Now she has a nasty
cold and I feel like she wouldn’t have gotten sick if I had been
breastfeeding her.  I have gotten to the point where I am being
irrational in thinking that when she is older every time she gets sick
I am going to blame myself for not breastfeeding her for a year!
When I try to pump these days I get one ounce in the morning and one in the evening. That’s it.

Another note: My doctor  diagnosed me with adrenal failure which I
should  be taking medication for, but I can’t take it while
breastfeeding, so I have done without. I know I should take care of
myself, but I feel like Madelyn’s health comes first and I should do
whatever I can to breastfeed. I have the medicine and I take it out
most mornings, but I put it away everyday thinking maybe today she will
nurse again.

Anyone who has been in the same situation or if you have any advice I would be so glad to hear it!

Thank you for listening!

Alicia

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Darlene Thrasher January 9, 2007 at 9:30 am

Alicia, I think you need to give yourself a big pat on the back! For not giving up! But I agree with the Nurse! You must take care of yourself so you can be there for your children. I know you have a Great supportive husband, but when it comes to your children you are the one that gets them through the day with their demaning schedule. So if you are sick you can not be there for your children. The best advise I have every received is to take care of myslef so I can be there for my daughter!!! One thing we moms don’t do is listen to our own body’s needs! our body is telling you to take care of it!!! Madelyn is a very lucky little girl to have a mommy like you. But I think she would rather have a healthy mommy than a sick mom. Also she is telling you that she is done breast feeding. If she could talk I am sure she would say thank you mommy but please take care of yourself, I am done breast feeding! I LOVE YOU MOMMY!!! Please don’t fell guilty you have done a great job brest feeding her, she is just ready to move on and so is your body! Once again great job!! Take care of yourself now!!

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Sally January 8, 2007 at 3:08 pm

My 1st daughter abruptly stopped nursing at 8 months old too. I think it was the combination of eating cereal and food and having a bottle at night. Nursing was just too much effort for the small reward for her. My supply was down by then because of her eating solid foods and having a bottle at night. My 2nd daughter is now 5 months old and is completely different and won’t even take a bottle…so every child is different. I think it is GREAT that you have nursed and pumped for so long. Every day is a benefit to Madelyn. It’s okay to stop, sounds like your body has been though a lot and Madelyn has already reaped sooo many health benefits. My first daughter is 2 1/2 years old now and very happy and healthy even though we stopped breastfeeding at 8 months too. Best to you!

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Meaghan January 6, 2007 at 3:38 pm

As a fellow BFing mother I applaud your efforts to continue this experience with your daughter. However as a nurse, you must also consider you own health issues so that you can fulfill all the needs of both your children. Untreated adrenal failure can lead to serious health problems.
As mothers we will always put our children first and foremost, but perhaps you can think of this way, by treating your own health problems first you ensure that you can be there for you children in every capacity to care for them in wellness & sickness.

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Paula Kittle January 4, 2007 at 5:28 pm

I agree with the other women; please do not feel badly about this. You are doing your very best. However, I will suggest you get her ears checked. If there is fluid in her ears it may be she is in pain and is refusing to nurse for that reason. We just went through this too. My baby is a couple of months older. I happened to be at my chiropractor’s office and she checked her ears and adjusted her. Since then she has gone back to nursing, but only in the morning. I have other issues in that I am also pregnant, so I suspect that my baby is not enjoying the “flavor” of my milk now. I nursed my other 2 children close to 2 years and am sad to see this baby being so close to weaning, but I can’t force her to nurse when she doesn’t want to! I’m hoping she will at least reach 12 months with nursing in the morning before giving it up completely, but it could be any day that she decides to stop for good. I too am not good at pumping, unless it’s the first few months when my supply is ample.
Anyway, I hope that this is just a passing phase for you and your baby, but if it turns out not to be, rest assured you have done everything possible to continue to BF. All the best to you.

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Evie January 3, 2007 at 6:46 pm

I understand your concerns and have to applaud you on your deep thought and determination. I have to share with you that I too had a challenging time pumping with my first child. Besides the fact that I was very stressed out as a first time mommy I also gave birth to her two weeks before college finals and then started back up a month later. I tried to pump all that I could and would barely pump 1/2 to 1 ounce everytime.
I’m happy to have found some interesting information on BM supply for you.
Recent research states that the milk making tissue/glands in your breast can effect your baby’s feeding patterns. Second, Breast storage capacity explains why every mommy’s ability to nurse and pump vary so much from mother-baby pair to another (Breastfeeding Made Simple, Mohrbacher, Nancy and Kendall-Tacket, Kathleen). Breast storage capacity is just the amount of milk you can store in your breast. I assume that I have a low breast storage capacity but I was able to breastfeed each three of my children just fine (with a bit of fussiness at the beginning). I did frequently nurse though, which may have helped at supplying a sufficient amount, and could not successfully pump very much at all. Talk about a child being attached at the hip, mine were attached at my breast for a full year because of this.
Milk storage capacity also explains why there should and can not be universal rules to nursing. Every situation will be unique and different.
If you do want to give BM to Madleyn simply pump often and feed it to her through a bottle, add it to her cereal, sippy cup, and invite her to your breast once in a while, she may just start to nurse again.
This book also gives advise on breast refusal and Nursing Strikes. A Nursing strike is when a baby just refuses to BF. It states that a newborn who refuses to BF may refuse at several weeks or months too. Many factors can cause the strike like illness, injury, forceful letdown, forcing a baby to BF, not enough milk, and cahnges in life. Steps to take to coax your little one back to BF are lots of contact with baby (skin to skin), BF when they are asleep or sleepy, watch for early hunger cues (don’t wait until starving), make sure to pump when baby refuses. Keep at it and seek advice from a professional. Overall the book states to have patience and get support.
Hope this helps and good luck. No matter what, you need to do what is best for you and your baby and your choices will be the very best.
Evie

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Amy H. January 3, 2007 at 5:46 pm

oh, boy! sounds like a terrible situation. I hope you get some answers because I am in a similar situation. no health issues, but for some reason, my milk is just drying up. All of a sudden I am only producing about half of what my 5 1/2 month old drinks in a day. Don’t know what the problem is but I do know how frustrated and guilty you feel. All I can say is this:
first off, you did your absolute best and if she is done nursing, then she is done. She has gotten it for this long and will benefit from every drop. As for getting sick, please don’t blame yourself. My daughter just got done with 2 infections and I am nursing her all time time. They are going to get sick no matter what. I think it might be better for you to give yourself permission to not feel guilty about stopping. She let you know that she is done and that is all that matters.
The other thing I might add is maybe you should give her a bottle first and let her nurse after 4 ounces of the bottle. She will still be hungry, but less frustrated about getting food out. Just a thought…
good luck!

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