July 20, 2009

He Doesn't Want my Milk.

"i'm ON to you, woman."

So... my baby hates my boobs.

He does!

We have given him a couple of bottles over the last few weeks- when I had to run out and do things or wanted to go out by myself for awhile- and, apparently, I no longer cut it. Whenever I try to nurse him, he thrashes and arches and whines and cries and claws at me.

He's perfectly happy and content all day long... until I try to offer him the boobs. What used to comfort him now just pisses him right off.

Pleasant, no?

When you offer him a bottle, however, he turns into a pile of happy goo and chugs the thing like there is no tomorrow.

*insert me crying over the fact that my milk is like sour pond scum here*

I've tried nursing more often to see if I just needed to build up my milk supply again, but the little butt-butt doesn't seem to be frustrated with the lack of milk, he's just angry that it takes so much more effort to get it from me than from the bottle. So, I nurse and I nurse and I nurse, and he clearly lets me know how inadequate I am as a food source every single time. It's like he's drinking with a scowl on his face... making sure I know that he hates every second of it.

As of now, he gets a small bottle before bedtime, and he eats some baby food with us at dinner, and the rest of the times, I am still nursing.

But, even this small shift in milk demand/production has thrown my hormones for a loop. I am moody. Sweaty. Tired. Pimply. And prone to sudden bursts of anger.

Weeee!

So... now the question is... do I cut off the nursing cold turkey in order to get the hormone rollercoaster ride over with? Or do I continue slowly cutting back and deal with the outrageous side effects?

(To be honest, the pimples alone are enough to make me want to throw in the towel. They are AWFUL.)

I feel icky and miserable and greasy and icky yucky icky ick.

The hard part is, I really wasn't even close to ready to give up nursing. Ezra was able to juggle bottles and nursing for months with no issues. Myer, however, has figured out that he has a preference in the area of milk dispensing, and he no longer wants anything to do with what I have to offer.

This is SO heartbreaking. I have been wandering around in a disconsolate haze for the past couple of weeks, debating with myself on what to do about it all. Have any of you experienced this with your wee babes?

I know that this is a decision that ultimately I just need to weigh and make personally, but I would love some feedback from those of you who have found yourself in the same nursing bras shoes... if nothing else, just to know I'm not alone or crazy for feeling so upset about it all.

milky woe & trepidation!

23 comments:

Kim said...

my two month old is the total opposite, she absolutley hates bottles. she'd rather starve. i say do what makes baby happy. you'll both be so much happier when you're not frustrated. and you can still feed him breastmilk right? just the way he prefers to take it.

Jennifer said...

i found your blog through a friend of a friend....love it!! anyway, have you tried pumping to see how much you are producing? perhaps you aren't producing much and so your lil' dude is just frustrated cause nothing is coming out.
personally i wouldn't quit cold turkey...pimples schnimples....we all get em!!

Outnumbered by 3 Stooges!! said...

Pooo Pooo Emery! You know, I would take a step back, pros and cons. Is it going to make a big difference in life that he stops nursing 6 months before you were hopeing? Why is it so important to you? Is it becuase you want to feel close to him, or that you want him to feel close to you? Im not trying to make up your mind but these are things to think about. I think if your moody then maybe its time to think about whats best for your family. Joys baby stoped at 8 months wich is only 2 months older. I think some kids just get over it sooner. I dont know really what im talking about, but I am just thinking out loud. Bless you, IM sorry that your sad about this and I would be to. The zits arent fun either! I havent experienced that. Personally I think your milk is probubly yummy!

TLee said...

ultimately, i think you hit the nail on the head when you said this is a deeply personal choice. no matter what you decide, you're a wonderful mother - period. if nursing is important to you, perhaps consider going cold turkey on the bottles for a while until nursing is re-established as the norm, and he knows that he either nurses or goes hungry. won't take him long to realize mom's boobs are AWESOME.

on the other hand, if you've had enough, know that you have plenty of options. and formula isn't the devil. if you're happy, and baby is happy, all is right with the world.

good luck - whatever you decide!

Lisa said...

I thought about not commenting, but I just couldn't knowing that I've been going through basically the same thing for the past five months...

As to your immediate problem... personally, I would stop offering bottles at least for a couple of weeks, that's what most of the nursing-friendly sites have to say on this issue. I know it isn't as convenient, but if nursing is important to you and you want to keep the relationship it might be helpful.

Also, I will point out that what you describe sounds exactly like I've been going through ever since Bean was the same age as Meyer and when it started and for a few months after that she was hardly EVER getting bottles, sometimes for weeks and weeks at a time. It may not be that he is frustrated with your supply or the work it takes, but that he is so much more aware of his world now and more distracted by it. I am still dealing with scratching, biting, hitting, kicking and a whole host of other uncomfortable things that I am just learning I need to set boundaries on. And it really has nothing to do with bottles or sippy cups, she's just very into the rest of the world right now.

I know for me at least some of the things that constantly run through my head are: "Why am I still doing this? Am I continuing this just for me? Am I being selfish? Am I making this more about me than what is best for the baby? Lots of other people quit early it isn't that bad." Honestly, I believe a lot of it is the devil pure and simple speaking lies and hurts into our already fragile mother hearts.

Go back to the reasons you made this decision in the first place.... like that pretty much every recommendation out there is that if you are able you should breastfeed for at least a year because it is the best. I don't say this to make you feel guilty, but I'm going through very similar things.

Actually, just days ago I considered quitting again because things were getting difficult. I contemplated writing a similar blog, but knew what I would hear. I'd get a ton of affirmation from the friends that had quit early saying that I had done a "good enough" job and I shouldn't feel guilty.

But I knew what I really needed was to reach out to some of my very pro-nursing friends to give me a good kick in the butt to remind me that I can still do this and and need to for the very reasons that I originally intended.

I think this last paragraph from the e-mails I sent out to them speaks volumes of where I was at: "I feel like I know what is the better decision to make. I feel like I know the decision I should make. But in the moment of actually feeding her and immediately afterwards it seems an insurmountable task to continue. I am so conflicted and emotional and hormonal. Gah!"

Anyway, hopefully this doesn't come across as harsh. I don't mean it to be and I know so much can be interpreted in writing.

And if you do want some supportive, but good kick-in-the-butt advice on the situation I'd be happy to forward on what they had to say (I believe I have your e-mail from comments you've left me in the past). It really encouraged me so much to keep up what I knew was the right and best thing to do for me.

However, I will say that I know where you are at and if you decide to make a completely different decision than the one I've just made, I won't condemn you by any means. Motherhood is just plain hard stuff and we have to make different decisions for our families based on our various circumstances. Like you said it is ultimately a very personal decision, which is why I am so glad I didn't wind up writing a blog about it. I'm sure I would have just wound up more confused and hormonal.

Gosh that was long, but I couldn't help it after the week I've had!

Kerri Foster said...

Awww....sweet Emery. This post made me get teary for you. I can sense your angst and stress. I didn't have this issue with my kids, but ooooohhhh, were there others for SURE. Like, the opposite with Josh where he would never ever ever take a bottle EVER! I found myself on the other side of where you are at, begging my baby to Pahleeeeze take a bottle so mommie could have some assemblance of normalcy and be ALONE without my child for even 2 hours!? Oh boy. I tell you that little tale just to help you see that the other side of things can feel stressful too. Ugh! I think that when we have kiddos we just want what is best for them. And I know how you feel about what is best for Myer. Ask Jesus to show you what is best for Myer (and for you!). GOD WILL SHOW YOU. I promise. He didn't give you sweet Myer to let you fail. I promise you that too. I love you like crazy and will pray for you during this hard time sweetie! Let us know what you decide! xoxo

Debra K said...

it sounds like a nursing strike to me. what you end up doing is up to you, but this just might be something you and Myer need to work through rather then an end of something. If if were me i would find the next la leche league meeting and see if those ladies had any advice or even call a lactation consultant. Here is some reading for you from the LLL website http://www.llli.org/NB/NBstrikes.html

evie s. said...

Hi Emery! Your post struck a cord with me, I went through something similar when my baby started teething. He went on strike at 4 months old when his teeth started coming in, so I had to pump to keep up my supply. Unfortunately by the time he wanted to go back to breastfeeding my supply was too low to keep up with him. I kept trying to breastfeed/pump up until he was 6 months old. I was really disappointed as I had every expectation to go at least a year. BUT, he's happy and healthy and so am I and I have to be thankful for that and not let it get me down. I hope you can get through this phase, but if not don't by any means beat yourself up for it.

Multi-tasking Mama said...

I wouldn't feel bad, he is probably just going to be more of a butt man than a boob man.

My son also weaned himself, he would start turning away from my boobs everytime I tried to nurse. I think he was about 7 months old at the time so I quit nursing.

Lift Up Your Hearts said...

I'm totally with Lisa. If you want to continue nursing, you're going to need to stop giving him bottles. We all want what's easiest, right? So it makes sense that he'll want the milk that just flows on out rather than work for every drop. If you really feel that you need bottles, switch to a newborn flow so at least it flows slowly from the bottle. Good luck!

Chelsea Robbins said...

Do you have a pump?

My son latched onto only one nipple and hated the other, so it made breast feeding difficult. One boob would be engorged from lack of nursing while the other was being nursed.

Finally, I decided to pump all of my milk out and give it to him through a bottle. I've been doing that for 4 months now, pumping 6-8 times a day. I'm a slave to my pump, but i know he's getting breast milk and that's really important to me. I've even carried it with me and pumped in public restrooms - whatever I have to do to get him to drink the breast milk.

i was sad though when we stopped the breast feeding. i'd try to get him to latch every once in a while, but he' just claw my chest and cry because he actually had to work for it...

Laura said...

I could have written this. Andrew HATED nursing, pretty much from day one, although we did nurse for about 4 months before he decided to actually start making his opinion known. Two months later, he had LOST weight, and that was the end of my nursing exclusively. I spent the next two MONTHS doing a combination of bottle/nursing/pumping, trying to entice him back to the breast, doing everything every LC on the planet suggested, and in the end? I pumped exclusively for the next 4 months, clinging to the ONE nursing session that he was still willing to do (early morning). I was glued to my pump for the rest of the day, my supply never recovered, and finally it ended around 11 months. I was NOT ready to stop nursing and I NEVER imagined it would be my baby who chose to stop, instead of me. I have no advice but I just wanted to offer sympathy. *hugs*

Meghan Elaine said...

I have five month old twins and I am fortunate that they will take a bottle of formula if we're out and I don't want to take both boobs out (it's a bit of a circus act, feeding both at the same time). My only insight is that all babies are different- it's not something you did or didn't do. My son won't fall asleep unless my nipple is in his mouth- a bit exhausting sometimes. My daughter on the other hand wants to eat and get out my space. She is much more idependent and can fall asleep on her own. I do the same routine with both babes, but they are just different. I'm sorry this is a hard time for you! Do what feels best for you and your baby. Don't feel guilted into anything. Hope it gets better soon~

hilary clark said...

I've been dealing with breastfeeding issues with prosper for a couple of weeks now. I thought he was just being fussy and super particular...but it turned out my supply is actually diminishing. I've done everything to increase it with no luck and lots of frustration on my part and his. just this weekend we started to introduce formula in his bottle mixed with breastmilk. I still force him into bfing before his naps and bedtime. my supply is getting so low that I don't have to pump if he'll cooperate for these feedings. this is making both of us so much happier.

I played the slave to the pump game when he was first born and in the NICU for months (sometimes pumping as much as 10-12 times a day), and never dreamed that it would be so easy for me to put him on formula and bottles almost full time...especially since I fought so hard to keep him from those things in the hospital. but honestly, I feel like a weight has been lifted. he's happier, I'm happier. and that is worth a lot. so at 6 months old, he gets a combo. and as soon as I run dry and the supply in the freezer is gone, he will full formula baby. not what I always imagined...but not much in life is...and not for the worse.

~love said...

oh, i feel your heart on this. i've nursed all 4 of our girls and all 4 have been a little different.
i'd say if you want to continue nursing, take away bottles and he'll realize that you are the only way. keep offering it on demand, even if he resists at first.
if you truly want to switch to bottle, i say....let's just all support each other! you're obviously an awesome mom & i have a feeling that your boys are going to be some seriously cool men someday.
our oldest, chloe, went on a nursing strike at 4 months old when we happily became pregnant w/ our 2nd daughter. the doctor recommended that we just quit anyway & that is probably one of the only things i regret in motherhood.
wishing you peace about whatever decision you make!

stina said...

i know breastfeeding longer is healthy. but i don't know about advice for what to do since he has his own lil preference...


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Christina said...

Isn't it amazing how a 6 month old can be so smart, I mean they already know what they do and do not like!
Its crazy to me. My 7 month old will fuss and fuss to get the food she sees the rest of us big people eat. I am like you are an infant!

They grow up way too fast...

Tyler and Rachael said...

Hi Emery,
I'm a "lurker"...came upon your blog through a blog of a blog.... I really enjoy your blog and your insight. God really speaks to me through some of your posts. So, thanks!! Anyway, I remember with my son (now two), that he would occasionally go through "nursing strikes." There never seemed to be any pattern or sense to it, but he would go back to his normal nursing ways after a while. I ended up nursing him for 21 months, because he didn't want to stop!! With a new baby coming in August, I just know that they are each so different. But in the end, they just want our love and understanding.
Thanks for being so real and honest on your blog. And for allowing Him to shine through you.
Rachael

Anonymous said...

I have no idea how I found your blog!
Here's an idea: Think of Myer, 20+ years down the road. Imagine he has a goal for he and his family (anything)and then imagine that he has encountered a roadblock to that goal. What would you want him to do in that situation?

Hunnybee said...

Hey Emery,

Not a lot of input here, but this really sounds like a nursing strike and probably doesn't have to be the end of nursing if you don't want it to be. Have you tried calling your hospital to speak to a lactation consultant? I know my hospital lets you call and ask questions if you dellivered there and also has a breast-feeding support group that is free if you delivered at that hospital. I attend a post-partum depression support group and the lactation consultant there has been a huge help to me. Ultimately it's up to you but if you don't think you want to give up yet, then stick to it and see if you can get some real help from an expert. No it's not life or death, but it is a special time and why give it up if you don't really want or need to. Best of luck, doll!

Dawn said...

I had the best luck in times like this having alex in bed with me and when he just started to wake up getting him nurse. He was sleepy/half asleep and nursed well.

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Lynn said...

this post really strikes a chord with me too -- I pump while at work so there's really no way for me to limit bottles. The best session is the early morning one, when I am full and she is hungry, it's wonderful! But afternoons are the worst, clawing and arching her back and crying (she is fussy anyway in the afternoon after daycare). It really is the most awful feeling, when she is hungry but doesn't want the food you have (and I have trouble with supply too, so it's a double whammy)

Just remember he's not rejecting YOU, just the food delivery system. If it is causing you stress & unhappiness then he'll pick up on it and it might be better to stop, or to pump and give him milk in the bottle. Or maybe if there's one session where he doesn't fight like early morning or at bedtime then you can stick with that for the closeness? Whatever you decide remember that it's more important that you are happy and loving than exactly how he gets his food.

Good Luck!