In which I make butter, bread, and breastmilk.

First, the butter.

In my best Paula Deen voice, this is some good stuff ya’ll. Well, I mean, I guess it’s good. It tastes just like butter, which is the point, since it is butter. When Josh first tasted it, he said, “It tastes just like real butter.” It took me a second, but I replied, it is real butter. Just seems weird to make it in a food processor and not in a cow. One nice difference is that it is very light tasting, since it’s whipped and not compressed into a square stick shape.

So I made bread to go with – can’t have one without the other, right?

I have a serious addiction to fun shaped pans. The downside of that is I spend way too much money on things like this and this and this and, you get the idea. The upside is that I have a pumpkin pan when I want to make pumpkin bread. DUH!

The bread turned out nicely, perhaps a bit too gingery, but I’m not a huge ginger fan. I also had enough batter left for half a dozen muffins.

Of course, this was all cold by the time the little miss gave me a chance to sit and eat it, but it was still all good.

And before we get to the making of the breast milk, today’s cuteness.

Yes, I know she’s on her tummy. It’s the only way she’ll nap. It’s why we have this monitor.

Hey look – I am a girl!

I love the fact she’s getting a double chin.

And now, if you know me and my boobs, and don’t want to read about them, now would be a good time to close this page. If you don’t want to read about my boobs (regardless of personal knowledge or not), breastmilk or breastfeeding, then go on and click away too.

We’ve had a lot of breastfeeding issues, all centering around her inability to gain weight while breastfeeding exclusively. So we added in formula – which broke my heart to do, but Josh and I knew it was the right thing to do for our baby. I kept trying to pump, but gave up actually breastfeeding. Over the weekend, I saw my supply start to really drop and I decided to see a lactation consultant

Breastfeeding is one of those areas where I wish I didn’t know as much as I know. I wish I hadn’t read any of the books, hadn’t gone to an LLL meeting, hadn’t hung out on breastfeeding forums, etc. None of that book knowledge prepared me for the actual physical act of breastfeeding (there’s just no way a diagram can explain the real thing) and they all made it sound so simple. Yes, they acknowledged that there are issues and problems, but they made it seem like with just a little work, anything could be overcome. And honestly, if I didn’t know all I know about the benefits of breastfeeding, then I’d have no issues with having her on formula alone. Throw in some good old guilt combined with that book knowledge, and how can I, in good consciousness, give her something inferior? After all it’s even printed on the can of formula – “breast is best!”

However, our inability to breastfeed successfully was taking a toll on me mentally. Well, on Josh and I both, since there was nothing he could to do to help us out, short of spontaneous lactation and that certainly wasn’t going to happen. Postpartum depression is something we’ve been hyper aware about – and having your baby fail to thrive on the perfect nutrition you’re supposed to be providing, not to mention the screaming as you try to feed her and the outright rejection at time, how can that not take a toll on your psyche? Enter using formula – after all, we’re not going to let our baby starve. But each time I feed her, there it is, that stupid reminder that I’m giving her an inferior product. That I’m not good enough.

So in a great debate with myself, I decided to see the lactation consultant. The mental deal I had was, if she can help us, great, we’ll get back to nursing. If she says we’re hopeless, then I simply won’t allow myself to feel guilty about using formula.

The result? Like most things in life, is a great big grey colored compromise. We’re doing both formula and breastmilk! Clearly, we have issues and a lot of them. Individually, no issue is insurmountable. Put them all together though, and it’s a much steeper hill to climb. But the LC gave me (and Marion) the tools to start taking our first steps. It’s doubtful we’ll ever be able to exclusively breast feed, but now I know that I really am doing all I can.

So after a few days of following our new plan (triple feeding, pumping after each feed, fenugreek and weighing her after each nursing session to see how much supplementing she needs) we’re seeing improvements already. I feel good because we’re nursing again, even if she’s only getting half an ounce of breastmilk in a forty minute feed. Marion is thriving because she’s getting the nutrition she needs in the quantity she needs it in – be it in the form of breast or bottle.

This whole situation has taught me a lot of valuable lessons. First and foremost, don’t ever judge someone when you see them bottle or breastfeeding their child. You just don’t know their situation. (If you do know their situation, then judge away :))I had to buy formula at Target today and of course it was crawling with moms and babies (as my friend Viula says, it’s a new mom requirement that you make thrice weekly outings to Target.) and I just was hoping that no one was judging me for buying formula (as I’m carrying my baby in a sling – how’s that for a juxtaposition?). Second lesson, be flexible. You just don’t know where life will take you or how you’ll cope when you get there. Third, don’t be bullheaded. I’m passionate about breastfeeding, no matter how the situation with Marion turns out, I’m still going to breastfeed any future children we have. I’ll still go to LLL meetings and I’ll still do everything I can to educate my friends and help them out as they have their babies. But don’t be stupid and stubborn. I could have kept on refusing to use formula – but Marion would have suffered. It was an issue of pride, I’ll admit that, I wanted to be all superior and “my baby hasn’t had a drop of anything other than breastmilk for twenty four months” but it would have been at her expense. So I had to put the pride away and bring out the bottle. And lastly, I’m trying to learn to take it easy on myself. I’ve had so many friends encourage me, to tell me that I am doing great, that I’m doing what’s best for her, not to feel guilt, etc etc but none of those positive reinforcements matter if I don’t believe it myself. Now, I know both Marion and I are trying as best as we can to the best of our abilities, and after all, isn’t that all you can ask from anyone?

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8 Responses to In which I make butter, bread, and breastmilk.

  1. Alicia P says:

    I too struggled with breastfeeding my first. We saw a LC and struggled. I pumped and finger fed every 3 hours for 3 of the longest weeks of my life. Then he finally latched! Then it was oversupply (shocking after all that!) issues from the pump and then it was a cows milk protein allergy and then 15 months later he was still nursing! The guilt was overwhelming and all encompassing and now, five years later I can look back and see how hard I was on myself!

    You are trying and going above and beyond! You are an outstanding mother. Know that. Trust that.

    And with my second it was totally smooth sailing with never a problem…nursed till he was two. Now #3 is 8 months and its also a-okay.

    Oh and forget about those naive judgmental people. Of course it helps to have a snarky comment up your sleeve. LOL

  2. Lydia says:

    “This whole situation has taught me a lot of valuable lessons. First and foremost, don’t ever judge someone when you see them bottle or breastfeeding their child. You just don’t know their situation. (If you do know their situation, then judge away :))”

    I like to think that I learn something from my clients, I was just thinking today that this is the lesson I learned from you. I have a completely different perspective now when I see a mom bottle feeding her baby. Look forward to seeing you soon.

  3. Hey Kati!
    Lots of good vibes and encouragment from me! I totally related to your situation. My baby was also diagnosed failure to thrive when she was down to 5 1/2 lbs. I had a terrible time breastfeeding, and I was overwhelmed by guilt because I wanted to do the right thing so badly! I had so many breast infections — it was a nightmare. I was able to breastfeed for her first 4 months with a little formula supplementation. Then at 4 months she just refused to do it. It totally broke my heart! I kept pumping, but eventually my supply ran out. It was such a difficult time. So many people give you disapproving looks when they see you pull out a bottle. In my case I had my mother and sister in-law visit and they both put so much pressure on me — it was aweful. Honestly, my own mom wasn’t much better, but I was more comfortable telling her to back-off! 😉 Anyway, it all worked out fine. My baby is beautiful and healthy today! I know the breastmilk that she did get made her healther with stronger immunities. She is perfect and wonderful today! Just started walking at 9&1/2 months and is tottering all over the place. Your Marion will be fine too! She will be healthy and strong thanks to a having a Mommy who did everything she could! Don’t feel guilty about anything! You made the right decision to bf and the right decision to put Marion first and add formula! Best wishes to you and your little beauty!

  4. Brenda says:

    (((hugs)))

    You’re a fantastic, wonderful woman and mother.

  5. Barbara says:

    You would be a great Frontier Mom — making bread, churning milk– but seriously you have been fantastic for all you do after having the C-section. I am putting together a family tree from both my side and the Hughes family that hopefully will be presentable by Christmas. Marion will have a background way back from some of her ancestors from pre- Revolution to some that hatched from under a cabbage leaf.

    Take care, have a great weekend, and give my beautiful great-ganddauther a big kiss.

    Love,
    Grannie Hughes

  6. starparticle says:

    I had so many struggles nursing my DS: oversupply, mastitis, he didn’t latch for 4 days, FTT. That time is a very dark cloud in my life!

    But really, it does get so much better. Even if you aren’t EBF, by 12 weeks you’ll have some sort of good rhythm going with Marion that will be good for you both.

    You’ve done a tremendous amount of work – be proud!

  7. Krista says:

    1. Excellent post title.
    2. Super cute tummy time!
    3. I’m so glad things are working out better and getting more encouraging with breasfeeding!

  8. Libbie says:

    Don’t beat yourself up,you are doing a great job.One only has to look at Baby M and see. I am so proud of you & Josh. And about the feeding;You’ve seen Josh,Chris & Taylor.
    Marion has grown since I saw her last. Sure miss her!
    Love Ms Libbie

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