Maybe I Will

It seems fitting that right about the time that post was going up, I was a blubbering mess on my couch, trying to console my very hungry and frustrated little boy while also trying to endure some significant breast pain.
It was also when I started to truly consider quitting.
I know you’re not supposed to quit on the hardest day. And I won’t. But I will start to look really closely at whether or not I can keep doing this. I don’t know if I can. And I don’t know how I’ll know when I can’t.
It’s not so black and white when I’m really considering quitting. There are no bullet points to justify the decision to myself.
This is so hard. I wanted it to be better. I didn’t let myself dream too big because I hate to put pressure where there needn’t be any, but I was so hoping I would have a positive experience this time around, that I’d have an inkling of what it’s like for those who love to do this, or at least like it well enough. But instead it’s exactly the same. The pain, the thrush, the bad latch, the constant, unhelpful lactation center appointments, the frustration, the feeling of failure. I wanted it to be better but it’s not. Not at all.
I’m just so beaten down by it all, by the suggestions that it probably won’t improve, at least not for a long while, that the thrush is out of my control and that the bad latch is not something I can change no matter how many books I read or YouTube videos I watch or experts critique it (and why are they the least helpful by far?! I hate LCs. Fucking useless).
I really don’t know what to do but I know I can’t keep this up indefinitely. I also know it might change but I don’t know when or how, so how can I know if I should keep going? Especially when I have so little hope.
I hate this so much. It feels so unfair. Fuck breastfeeding. Seriously. I hated it last time and I hate it again. It puts mothers in such an impossible place. I almost wish I didn’t have options so I wouldn’t have to make this impossible choice.
God, it’s going to be a long week.

9 responses

  1. I’m so sorry you’re going through this! Ditto on your comment about LCs. Most of them were not helpful at all (especially the ones at the hospital). They would come in, tell me my latch was all wrong, shove her on my breast and then never come back again. So helpful.

    I know it’s hard to give up on something that you wanted to be successful and positive, but I just wanted to say that you have to do whatever makes the time with your baby the most enjoyable before you go back to work. If breastfeeding makes you both miserable, then there comes a point when you should feel more than ok about moving on. I hope things get better soon.

  2. Look whatever you decide will be the right decision. All I can do is tell you tht quitting the breast won’t hurt your baby. The first two weeks are critical for the immune system. After that its questionable whether there’s a discernible difference. Quitting was the best decision I made with my daughter because she got the critical two weeks and I wanted to enjoy her. And after I quit, I finally did. I will throw this in the ring: is it worth it? Are you enjoying your son, or are you spending your energy fighting to feed him? You will never have this time again with him. It is your choice how you use it. Just make sure you remember to enjoy him, breathe him in. That’s what matters. The moment I realized I was missing out on my daughter I quit. If you feel like you’re not missing out, keep going. Those are my two cents for what they’re worth. Probably a bit less than two cents šŸ™‚

  3. I’m sorry I haven’t been commenting. I’ve always had positive experiences breastfeeding and can’t imagine wanting to quit. The hospital I gave birth at (both kids) had great LC’s who were very supportive. There is also a La Leche League that meets near me. But your thrush experience sounds so frustrating! I can’t imagine there’s nothing else that can be done for that. I do think, though, that the beginning is always the hardest and it gets easier with time. Good luck with whatever you decide.

  4. I get concerned whenever someone says there’s no hope. It really seems like this is getting you down, and you have to take care of yourself at the end of the day. If something is causing you to feel hopeless, you should seriously look at making a hard stop decision. Maybe consult with a therapist: it seems there may be a lot of fear about quitting. Only you can make this decision, but be kind to yourself.

  5. If I were you, I would stop. This is your last baby and in my opinion, you will be doing yourself and him a favor if you have the ability to focus on him, on the good. I know this is a hard decision, I know that everywhere you looked you are slapped in the face with the whole ‘breast is best’ attitude, but that is simply not true. You tried so hard, so very very hard. Take solace that you did the best you can and then take a step back and enjoy your baby!!

  6. If you hate breastfeeding , then quit. You should never spend so much energy doing something you hate. If I hated it, I would quit. I am totally for breastfeeding (I’m doing it as I type this), but I’m not for mamas being miserable! When we have healthy options like formula, the decision shouldn’t be so hard. Guilt is plaguing you, and it shouldn’t. It’s JUST breastfeeding! Tell yourself that.. It’s just breastfeeding. Do what you need to do to be happy!

  7. I’m just catching up on your last few posts and I am so, so sorry. What is it that is holding you back from quitting? I’m asking because I went through very similar emotions with Grayson (who never really breastfed, I pumped for 4 weeks) and I had to ask myself. If it’s health reasons, do not even give that one more ounce of worry. You do so much to keep your kids healthy, and he will not suffer with formula. For me, it was the stigma, and letting myself down- like I was failing at something as big and important as the “best” way to feed my child. Mix that with postpartum emotions- not good. I keep thinking about you and how much you struggled to get this baby- I don’t want you to look back on his newborn days as painful and miserable. I want you to enjoy these days, not just survive them. If you don’t want to quit completely, can you supplement with formula to give yourself a break?

  8. I so wish I had the energy to write down my thoughts on this. I feel that I can really identify with you. With B I had this same struggle, although with pumping, and it was very emotionally charged because of her circumstances. With Bro-I’m still doing it and feel that it is hindering my health but again, it is very emotionally charged because of the fact that B is still only fed by tube.

    I think I’m going to do a few things and then I’m going to come back and tell you when I knew it was time with B.

    • Okay so I’m back. When I finally decided to stop pumping for B it was an excruciating decision. She was barely eating at that time. She was already behind and she was a micropreemie. We couldn’t leave the house much because it was rsv season and she needed the immunities from nursing. Pumping felt like I could finally help her grow, when my body so desperately failed her in the womb. When I was so tired that I could barely function and I felt that I was losing myself–was when I stopped. After I quit I did feel guilt and sometimes regret, but I knew it was the right time.

      This time with Bro who is 15 months and nurses like a dream, I want to stop because my body will not shed the weight that it desperately needs to. And I’m tired. But he barely eats solids and once again I am compensating for the fact that B doesn’t eat-at all. So he’s benefitting from my guilt.

      Because I wasn’t awake during his birth I feel that I have missed out and so continuing to nurse makes me feel better about this. But clearly, this thinking is unhealthy. If I was looking at it as another person, I would smack me.

      If I were you, is go a little longer and really search yourself, which is what I plan to do, and then stop. You don’t seem happy. And you need to enjoy him.

      B lives on formula. It is filled with corn syrup and other things I can’t pronounce. But she’s so dang healthy. Her nails and hair grow so quickly and I can see that it nourishes her body perfectly. And she’s 3! 27 ounces a day of the stuff and 5 ounces of water, and that’s all she gets. Ever. I really think formula can be a very good thing.

      I hope that you will find done peace in your decision soon. It’s hard.

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