Monday, March 16, 2015

Liquid Fucking Gold

I am so tired of hearing the phrase "liquid gold". If anyone mentions "liquid gold" to me again, they had better be talking about an ice cold beer.

In case you haven't heard, breast milk is referred to as liquid gold. I get it. It's the most healthy, most natural, most magical food you can give your baby. Fine. I don't disagree that breast milk is awesome. If I did, I wouldn't be putting myself through hell to make sure E gets it. But I believe the phrase "liquid gold" was designed to make women feel guilty. If breast milk is liquid gold, how could you possibly consider feeding your baby anything else? Even if you didn't have a choice in the matter, you hear that phrase and the implication is that what you're feeding your baby is just not as good.

We're still having a really shitty time with the breastfeeding. I won't go into all of the details, but it's been pretty awful. I spend most days in tears or in a state of panic. I'm still so angry that this is so difficult for us. I'm so sad that I'm not enjoying this with E. I'm terrified of feeding times. I spend so much time trying to decide when to pump, when to nurse, when to grab a bottle. I hate it. I know that I'm reaching the end of my rope, but I just keep trying to hold on no matter how miserable I am. All because of the lure of the liquid fucking gold.

If I'm honest with myself, I think that I will be much happier if I move on from the breastfeeding and start giving E formula. I won't be in pain. I won't have to worry about how much he is eating. I won't have to worry about when, where, how or what he is going to eat next. I believe that he will grow into a very happy and healthy boy if I feed him formula. I've seen so many other formula fed babies leading happy healthy lives. In fact, Seth recently found out that he was only breastfed for 2.5 months. He's a very happy, healthy guy. He's not obese, he doesn't have allergies and he's almost never sick. And he has a fucking PhD. Formula didn't ruin him. I guess we'll never know how glorious he would have been if he had been given liquid gold for the full first year, but I think he turned out just fine regardless.

Despite that, I just can't get myself to move on yet. I'm on a roller coaster. I'm determined to make it work. I convince myself that I'll figure it out, it will get easier. Then we hit a rough patch and I start spiraling back down. Then I tell myself that formula will be fine. I spend my free time researching formula and reading stories on Fearless Formula Feeder. I feel great. I'm going to make the switch and we'll be so happy. Then I feel my boobs fill up and I think - I have all of this liquid gold, I just need to get it to him. Just one more feed. Maybe it will be different. And then I start the cycle over again.

I'm supposed to go to the lactation center on Thursday, but I'm going to call in the morning to find out if they can see me sooner. I'm desperate. Either they will help me or I'll finally feel like I did everything I could to make it work. Hopefully I get one of the good consultants. If I get the anti-formula lady again, I will take a bottle of liquid gold and shove it up her ass.

13 comments:

  1. Oh sweetie, I am sorry you are having such a hard time. One of my sister's struggled with bfing in the same way and I remember the emotional and physical toll it took on her. Eventually she switched to pumping exclusively and eventually to formula and her daughter is 22 and a physics major at Berkeley! It certainly didn't hurt her and it won't hurt E either.

    I admire you for not giving up, I know I would have by now! You need to do whatever works best for you and E and he's doing to turn out great either way! If things don't improve after Thursday, don't beat yourself up. You've done everything you can and if you have to switch to or supplement with formula, that's ok! Sending you hugs, love and support!

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    1. Thanks for the kind words, Fur Momma <3

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  2. I'm sorry you're having such a rough time. Breastfeeding isn't easy. I understand the pressure we feel, and can put on ourselves, to continue. Just know that whatever you decide, it will be the best decision for you and baby. As long as he is being fed, and you both are happy, that's all that matters. I hope the visit with the LC can help. You are a a great mom and doing a fantastic job.

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  3. I just happened to stumble across your blog and wanted to say a few things from one internet stranger to another.

    I just recently had my third and final child in December. I know EXACTLY what you're thinking and feeling right now. I struggled and struggled with the first two (on top of my dad having a massive stroke and being in a coma for two weeks when my second child was 6 weeks old). That going back and forth is a feeling a know all too well. This time around I decided I was going to just see what happens. My daughter is almost 4 months old and, for now, I exclusively pump.

    I just wanted you to know that there's something else out there who can relate to how you're feeling. Breastfeeding sucks, plain and simple. It is not always beautiful and natural for some moms and babies. Mourn the relationship you thought you'd have, that's okay. I'm so sorry you're in this position. I hope you're able to figure out what works best for you guys. I'll tell you what people have told me (even as of this Monday when I lost it that I cannot get my daughter to latch)...you have breastfed for this long. Any amount of time you can do is better than nothing. Even nothing is okay. My son only got 6 weeks of breast milk and I think he's pretty awesome. Chin up sweetie. I promise it does get easier.

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    1. Thanks so much for sharing your story, Valerie. It is so great to hear from others in the same situation, though I am sorry that you struggle with this too. I hope that you are doing well now!

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  4. BF is HARD!!! Jordan took to it really well but everyday I am drained, exhausted, and quite frankly really wishing I had my body back for myself. There is no shame in using formula. You do what is best for you, your baby, and your family - and that might be formula! I know more babies who were bottle fed than breast fed, and they are FINE. I know you are going to the lactation center today - I hope everything goes well, and you get the help you need. It sounds so rough - I'll be thinking of you!

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    1. Thanks so much for the kind words and encouragement, Krystal <3

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  5. I'll start off by saying, I am in NO WAY telling you to stop breastfeeding or pumping etc. But I know it is extremely hard. When I had my son a year ago, breastfeeding was it. It was how I was going to feed my baby and there was NO way formula would touch his mouth. Why? Because exactly what you have said. Liquid gold. It's pretty much beat into us by society that if you are not giving our baby breastmilk he will not be all that he can be in life... or whatever.

    But I am here to tell you. I HAD to stop pumping (my son would never ever latch) after a month. I was MISERABLE. When I knew I had to break out the pump I became anxious. I hated that feeling of being tied down because I had to pump constantly. And I know that is what is 'best'. But it caused me to get depressed. Not only was I depressed because breastfeeding didn't work out and I was recovering from a traumatic labor and birth experience, pumping just wasn't helping. My heart was just not in it anymore. So I had to stop. I gave my son formula and I felt completely defeated. I felt less of a mother. It was hard. So so hard.

    But now a year later, I have to stand up for myself and the decision I made. It was best for me and my son at the time. I was not enjoying my baby and being a new mother like I should have been because of the struggles of breastfeeding and pumping.
    So I'll end this novel by saying. Do NOT for a second feel like you HAVE to keep pumping or breastfeeding because that is what is 'best.

    What is best is that YOU are happy and your newborn is happy. He will thrive and be extremely healthy even on formula. We have gone this entire year and my son has never been sick and is healthy as hell. Even while on formula.
    Do what you need to do mama. Follow your gut and follow your instinct.

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    1. Thanks so much for sharing your story, Mrs. Foster. I can completely relate to so much of what you said and it's nice to know that I'm not alone. I am very sorry that you struggled, but it's wonderful that you were strong enough to make the best choice for you and your baby.

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  6. Oh hunny... I am so sorry this has been so difficult and emotional. I hate the pressure you are under. I wish I had some advice but all I have are hugs (and I wish I could hug you for real). I would just like to say though that all the "liquid gold" bullshit is just that - bullshit. We are in a phase in this country where BREAST IS BEST is chanted fucking EVERYWHERE but it wasn't always like this. I have 3 older siblings. My bro and sis were born in the late 70s and my closest sis and I were the early 80s. In the late 70s breastfeeding was looked down upon and seen as gross and only for the poor people who couldn't afford formula. Therefore, my oldest siblings were entirely FF. By the time my closest sis and I came around, the "trend" of breastfeeding had started so my mom BF the two of us. And I would just like to say that my bro (oldest & FF) and I (youngest and BF) are the healthiest. My two middle sisters both have health issues, allergies, etc and one of them was FF and one BF. So I call BULLSHIT on this whole thing.
    Sorry, that was really long.
    All this to say, please try not to beat yourself up. You are doing what you can but your child will NOT be worse off if you need to switch to FF. You need to take care of YOU too.
    I hope things will get easier. And I hope today's LC appt went well. <3 <3

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    1. Thanks so much for sharing this, Chikin. It really helps to hear all of the different points of view and I really appreciate your support <3

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  7. My general stance in life is that people need to STFU when it comes to telling people what to do. It's terrific to have an idea of what you "would do" in every situation but it doesn't mean anything unless you are actually in that spot. Breast feeding is not easy. Many people find a very rewarding breastfeeding relationship and love it. Many people don't and either continue to struggle with it or decide that the best thing for them and their baby is to formula feed or do a combination of breastfeeding and formula feeding. And you know what? As long as the baby is fed and growing, it's fine!

    L has been formula fed from the day we brought her home. She is happy, healthy, and (I think, though I might be biased) developmentally advanced (okay, okay, she's at least right on track). And while I don't breastfeed, I do make sure that while I'm feeding her I don't have other distractions. And I think my H really enjoys the time he gets to spend feeding and providing for L which he is able to do because she's FF. So it's BS to say that you can't have a rewarding feeding relationship with your child if you don't breastfeed.

    There is no one right choice for everyone. The breast milk that he's gotten so far is awesome and you're doing a great job. Try to be gentle with yourself and do whatever it is that works out for your family.

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