I tried nursing Bailey, but to be completely honest, I didn't try that hard. I went into it thinking that it would come naturally and would take little effort on my part. I didn't push for extra help at the hospital when she wouldn't latch on. I didn't seek out help when she was eating little to nothing that first night at home. We had to give her formula that night and we never turned back. One of the things I was most determined about this time around was being able to nurse. I read everything I could, watched videos and asked questions (thank you Danielle for letting me bug you!). I also made sure to let my doctor and the nurses know that I planned on nursing and would need help.
The first time they brought Peyton to me she was starving. We were alone in the room and both ready to try this nursing thing. She took right to it! I couldn't believe it! The whole time we were in the hospital she did great. The lactation consultant said everything looked perfect and I went home feeling like a champ. That first week was pretty much a piece of cake. She would latch on and was satisfied after each feeding and having more than the required wet/soiled diapers. Then I noticed that it was starting to hurt more and more when she would nurse, and I was starting to crack and bleed. Exactly one week after she was born, I went to nurse in the middle of the night and cried during the entire feeding. It hurt so bad I couldn't take it. Luckily I had been pumping, so we had milk stored up and I was able to give her that for the next feeding. She took right to the bottle, was still getting breast milk and my body was able to rest.
After much reading I decided I would keep pumping and bottle feeding and allow myself to heal completely before trying to nurse again. It took nearly 2 weeks before I was healed. During this time my whole world revolved around milk. Pumping milk, feeding milk, cleaning parts to pump milk. When taking the bottle, most feedings were taking nearly an hour, for 3 ounces! So after an hour feeding her, I would spend about 30 minutes pumping (including getting ready and clean up), and by the time that was finished I had about 1.5 hours before it was time to start the whole process over again. I was worn out. I was tired of the pump, tired of cleaning parts, tired of thinking about milk!Bbut she was still getting breast milk, and that was important to me.
Once I was healed we tried nursing again. I found that she was latching perfectly to the right side, but it still hurt on the left side. I tried different suggestions, but it still hurt. Not wanting to end up like I did before, we went back to pumping and bottle feeding. Then I tried again a few days later and it didn't hurt! She was latching well on both sides, finally! However, after nursing for nearly an hour, she wasn't satisfied. After trying 3 different times we were having to give her bottles with at least an ounce, sometimes 2, after each feeding. Somehow she wasn't getting enough from me. We quickly went through our milk stash that I had built up.
Then one night there was none, and she had her first bottle of formula. I felt like a failure, again. I wanted to cry, wanted to break down, for several different reasons. Mainly because I felt like I was letting her down and partly because there was a small piece of me that felt relieved, which made me feel even worse. I was so tired of the whole trying and pumping experience that it was an almost welcome thing.
I've not quit pumping. I still pump 3 or 4 times a day. She is getting breast milk almost exclusively during the day and then the bottles at night are formula. Is it ideal? No. Is it what I had planned? No. But I know that any amount of breast milk is better than none. I'm not sure how long this will last, but for now, it is working for us. I've come to terms with it. The most important thing is that my baby is being fed and is healthy, and she is.