Why don’t I just quit?

Why don’t I just quit?

I’ve been asking myself that question all day. And I really wish I could answer it.

I don’t think it has anything to do with pressure from the outside. I don’t worry I’d be judged by anyone for feeding my child formula. I don’t worry what other people will think of me as a mother. I don’t have very judgmental friends and family, and even if I did, I wouldn’t really care what they thought of me not breastfeeding.

I suppose some of the “breast is best” campaign has seeped into my psyche and maybe that is part of the reason I want to keep going. The truth is I haven’t done much of my own research into formula vs breast milk, though I’ve read the thoughts and opinions of lots of people on both sides of the argument. I have personally never like the “breast is best” campaign or any message that declare’s breastmilk’s superiority over formula and I have argued for formula feeders time and time again. Still, I feel almost certain that subconsciously I do believe that breast milk is better. Perhaps if I take the time to research this myself and find some medical studies that can give me more information about this I’d feel differently about continuing to breastfeed. If anyone has any information to send my way, I’d appreciate it.

I also think, upon closer inspection, that I don’t actually hate breastfeeding. One of the comments on my last post stated that we should never do something we hate. That comment really struck me because I absolutely believe that to be true, and I was distressed that I might be pushing myself to do something that I don’t derive any joy from. Why would I do that to myself?! But as I considered it more, I realized that I don’t actually hate breastfeeding, what I hate is thrush. I hate what thrush makes breastfeeding feel like. I hate the whole experience when it is dictated by pain and discomfort, when my days are overwhelmed by the maintenance. I hate it when I have to wash and treat my nipples after every feeding, when I have to sanitize all my towels and burp rags and bras after every use, when I have to wash my hands a million times a day, until they crack and bleed from being stripped of their natural moisture. I hate taking a million supplement and restricting my diet.

THOSE are the things I hate, not breastfeeding. And maybe, if I keep going, I can breastfeed WITHOUT all of those things. That is what is so hard about this situation, I just don’t know if it’s going to get better. I keep going because I hope that it will, because I want to have a breastfeeding experience WITHOUT all this negativity.

And there are things I like about breastfeeding. It’s hard to notice them right now when it hurts so much, but there are definite positives. Maybe I’m not ready to give them up yet.

And I must admit, I don’t want to quit because I’m not a quitter. I do not quit things. Hardly ever. The idea of quitting this, something that is important to me, something that I believe is beneficial to my child, is REALLY HARD for me to do. The sense of failure would be significant. I have to figure out exactly why that is and work through it. Seeing a therapist, as a good friend suggested, is definitely a good idea.

Right now I have a new plan moving forward. I’m taking two more weeks of Diflucan and using Gentian Violet for another seven days. I’ll also be using the APNO throughout this time and I’m really restricting my diet (except for some stuffing and pie on Turkey Day) until my Diflucan is out. I’m continuing with the probiotics and grapefruit seed extract and will keep sanitizing my bras and towels. I started using cloth diapers again but will sanitize those after ever use as well. (Thank god for the sanitize option on my washing machine). I’m also making an appointment with a dermatologist to look at my nipples. If, after two more weeks of Diflucan, my symptoms have not abated, I will most definitely stop breastfeeding. If my symptoms have improved but are still present, I’ll have a hard decision to make. If they are better I’ll keep restricting my diet and taking probiotics for a while, and hope for the best.

Thank you all for you comments and support on this. I’m surprised by how hard it is for me to just walk away from this and I’m learning a lot about myself as I try to figure out why I’m refusing to quit. I think I really do want to have some positive breastfeeding experiences. I think Monito and I could have a good breastfeeding relationship, if we could just get to a healthy place. I want to give us a fighting chance and I want to believe we can beat this goddamned yeast. At the same time I don’t want to get caught up in a war I can’t win.

Thank you all for reminding me of the most important thing right now: that I’m enjoying my baby and my limited time with him. I can assure you that I am doing that. Truly, I am. I’ll definitely keep that in mind moving forward, always assessing whether or not all this is getting between us. That is something I absolutely will not stand for and if it starts to happen, I will walk away without giving it another thought. So thank you for reminding me of what’s most important. It is a light at the end of a dark tunnel of uncertainty and I appreciate it showing me the way.

{This is another reason I don’t want to quit (minus the purples of course–although I do love Monito’s tribal cheek tattoo). These sweet moments are hard to give up.}

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8 responses

  1. I LOVE when tiny babies hold onto the breast while they eat! So precious!

    For all of my “quit if you want to quit” comments, I would have a very hard time quitting myself. I understand your resolve to make this work. I would try everything too.

    Sent from my Windows Phone ________________________________

  2. Everyone says the same thing to me. They try to tempt me with it by saying how easy and stress free it would be. But I too have the “can’t quit” mentality/problem. And I too enjoy parts of it. I like the time with him. And I love/hate being the only person that can do it for him. But the creams, needed apparatuses, and pain? Those I could do without. And so we soldier on??

    Let me know about the dermatologist. I wonder if they would have suggestions for me and my nipples that refuse to heal.

  3. I hope the thrush clears up for you soon. It sounds like you have a good plan in place.

    Im stubborn, and there were so, so many times I could have quit. But I was determined to make it work. And I felt like I got a snarky remark when I told my MiL nursing was my plan and felt I had to prove to her I COULD do it. I felt I had people to prove wrong.

    I hate the “breast is best” campain simply because I think it gives me a complex and I know it gives other mothers one too. It IS best, but it isn’t always going to work out for everyone for various reasons. I hate that some mothers feel guilty for having/wanting to stop. Trying is what is most important in my book.

    I was losing my shit when G was in the NICU and the nurses were giving him formula — and worse, weren’t even adding what little I did pump and save to it. A lactation consultant finally had to tell me I didn’t have a choice in the NICU before I calmed down over it, but I was still pissed off. After all I read, and the class I took, I worried he’d have nipple confusion and would never take to the boob and he’d losing out on antibodies because he wasn’t 100% breastfed in the beginning.

  4. You asked about some resources. Check out The Fearless Formula Feeder (www.fearlessformulafeeder.com) – she does a great job debunking faulty research around breast / bottle feeding. She also very supportive of all infant feeding choices. Bottle Babies on Facebook is another good resource. I’m sorry this is such a struggle. My son was exclusively formula fed from day 10 (long story) my daughter is exclusively breastfed, so I have walked in both worlds. You mentioned missing “sweet moments” when feeding – just want to reassure you that this happens with bottle feeding too. Yes, it is different, but you can bottle feed with just as much love and attachment. Good luck as you work through this, regardless of how things work out, and remember this is a “small moment” in all the experiences you will have with your little one!

  5. I agree with what everyone else said in their comments. It’s easier to tell someone else to quit than to do it when it’s your struggle.

    I had a hellish first 6 weeks breast feeding my daughter. I spent more time with the pump than successfully breast feeding her, BUT I’m glad things got better and I continued breastfeeding. If you’re still committed, give it all you got!

  6. Finally catching up after a long hiatus … and wishing I could offer you some comfort. I guess the most important thing is to be kind to yourself. And remember that whatever kindness you offer yourself is also kindness that allows you to be a better parent. I think forgiving our bodies is especially hard for those of us who have suffered through infertility and loss; we already hold ourselves hostage.

    *hugs* to you.

  7. just want to send over some hugs, breastfeeding and deciding when to stop is such an emotionally charged decision. I really hope that things get better in the next two weeks and the decision is easy. have a wonderful thanksgiving!

  8. Here’s what I would say to you: You are not going to find any studies showing that formula feeding is as good as breastfeeding. It’s just not. BUT… you know what else is better for kids? If we always feed them healthy food, and never lose our patience with them, and always have educational activities planned for them, and always make sure they get enough sleep, and send them to the best schools. In short, none of us are perfect parents all the time. We’re human. It’s always a tradeoff. So rather than focusing on whether formula feeding will be just as good as breastmilk, I’d remember that there are so many components to being a good parent, and all we can do is our best. We’re never going to be perfect.

    P.S. I was formula-fed, and I turned out fine.

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