Monday, January 15, 2007

Barely Hanging On

It's been 2 and a half weeks since the arrival of Nachos and to tell you honestly, it's been a really rough ride. I now know exactly how Brooke Shields felt when she went through her post-partum depression.

I can't say I'm definitely suffering from some sort of depression, because I feel fine generally. It's the breastfeeding and sleeping of Nachos that's getting to me. Although I'm happy to say I have successfully established my milk supply after a killer week of trying, I'm now starting to doubt whether I should continue or not.

When we took Nachos home from the hospital on the 31st, she was on the verge of dehydration with no wet nor dirty nappies for a whole day. The doctor was worried so he advised me to give Nachos formula while I'm getting my milk supply up. But since we were all so excited about getting home that day, we didn't think about getting formula when we got home that afternoon. What followed was one of the toughest nights I have ever been through.

Because I didn't have enough milk, I had to keep switching sides to see if Nachos could get more milk after each passing minute. We kept doing this for hours and hours until I had to give her some water because we had nothing else to give. Since it was New Year's Eve, we were sure no stores selling formula would be open either, so we persevered until the morning. I think by day break we were both so exhausted we finally fell asleep.

That morning the first thing I asked Hubby to do was go out and get some formula. I also called the La Leche League to ask for advice and one of them actually dropped by that morning to check up on us. She showed me the right way to latch Nachos on and showed me different feeding positions. At first I was worried she was going to make me persevere some more with no formula until I told her Nachos had no wet nor dirty nappies the day before. When she heard that, she said I certainly need to give her some formula because we don't want her to get dehydrated. So phew, these women are human afterall. So that afternoon Nachos got her bottle of formula and I wasn't so worried anymore.

The following 2 days, I noticed my milk started coming. I thought this was going to be the end of my hardship but boy was I mistaken. Nachos turned out to be a really light sleeper!!! It turns out Nachos is the kind of baby where you can't put her down once she's asleep. What a shock that was to my system and it still is. And in addition to that, she doesn't stop eating! I would breastfeed her the whole morning, no exaggeration. And each time she falls asleep in between I try to put her in her crib thinking and hoping she would give me a break. But no, once she realizes she's not in someone's arms she starts crying and looking to suckle! Aaaah! I do this sort of tango with her until mid afternoon or until I'm too tired or frustrated and just give her a bottle. If I'm lucky Nachos would fall into a deep sleep straight away and be in some sort of formula induced coma for at least 4 hours. Really makes me wonder why I still bother with breastfeeding.

But if I'm unlucky, Nachos would do a really big poo right after the bottle and our tango would start all over again. And when you're really tired and you have a crying baby in your hands that wouldn't stop, its when the frustration and anger that steps in.

Many times during the day, when Nachos is being fussy and just wouldn't sleep, I reach a point when I get angry. I want to scream at her and at moments I am at the verge of inflicting pain upon her. Brooke Shields said there were times when she pictured her baby thrown against the wall. And in those moments, I totally understand what she went through. Although I am sane enough not to actually do such horrible things, my fatigue, frustration and anger would make these thoughts come into mind. I never thought looking after a baby would be this difficult, and I'm not so thrilled that I'm finding out now. I always joked around that since Boy Wonder was such an easy baby to look after, Nachos would be payback. I didn't think it would actually come true!

So at this moment, I am at a crossroad. I am proud to have successfully established breastfeeding. Although I cheat and use the occasional bottle, at least Nachos' primary food supply comes from breastmilk. But my problem at the moment is that since she's such a fussy sleeper, I am tempted to just give her formula all the time so I don't have to work so hard. At the moment both of my hands are literally tied up whenever Nachos is on one of her marathon feeding sessions. And even though my parents are here to help, I can tell its giving Hubby abit too much added strain. Not only does he have to take up the slack of looking after Boy Wonder, give him his bath, wake up in the middle of the night when he has a bad dream or does a poo and entertain him, he also needs to find time to work out since he's signed up for the HK Marathon again this year. I've worked so hard to get this whole breastfeeding thing off the ground, but I'm wondering if the price I'm paying is getting too high. Boy Wonder is doing great having grown up on formula, so it makes me wonder if breastmilk is really all that its hyped up to be? And since I've given up on cloth nappies after Nachos developed a really bad diaper rash, giving up on breastfeeding would mean I've achieved none of what I set out to achieve.

I think I'll give it another week or until I get too tired then make a decision. I know pro-breastfeeding people would gasp at my thoughts of quiting but at this point I think I need to consider my sanity and the sanity of this whole family if things don't get better.


Pamela said...

Oh Bandit! Hang in there! You know what, it doesn't matter whether you give Nachos breastmilk or formula or whether you use cloth or disposable nappies. Its the love that she feels from you that is important. Never think of yourself as a failure if you do give in to just giving her formula. You are a good mom and I dare anybody say otherwise!

Good luck in whatever you decide. Remember, HAPPY MOM = HAPPY CHILD

ragamuffin girl said...

I totally agree with pam. Joaquin was such a fussy kid who had a huge appetite so I know how you feel. I had those feelings of violence as well for a time. I think it's normal, especially since you're adjusting to an experience you've never felt before and no one can fully explain beforehand. For me breastfeeding was my key to sanity, because preparing a bottle and sterilizing them was so much of a hassle. Just go for mixed feeding if that's what will make you happy. Each of us is affected by our babies and their quirky habits in different ways. :) You are first and foremost a good mom, and that's evident in Sam, so no worries!