Sunday, April 10, 2016

Beauty School Dropout: Otherwise Known as Quitting Breastfeeding

I had a moment this week where I felt a little like Frenchie from Grease. You know the Beauty School Dropout number? Yeah, that was exactly what I was feeling. After struggling with breastfeeding following Abby's delivery, I decided to drop out. I simply wasn't producing enough for her. The multi step process of breastfeeding, supplementing and pumping was too much for me emotionally. Yes, it boosted my production a little bit but not enough to feed her fully and it left me miserable, which isn't particularly good for any momma.

And so I met with my lactation consultant to slowly begin the process of weaning. Thankfully, we immediately cut pumping. That lifted a huge weight off of me. I got an hour to two hours of my life back each day. And after marathon nursing sessions (suck - sleep - suck - suck - sleep for 10 minutes - suck) we are now at the point where we can cut back the length a bit. Just those two steps alone might keep me nursing. Time will tell.

There is so much pressure to nurse, both from the medical community and from regular people. And honestly, the medical community is probably better and more understanding than the regular Joe. Yes, I believe in the benefits I'm passing on to my child by breastfeeding. But I also believe I need to be healthy, including emotionally, to ensure my child is thriving. Breastfeeding, for me, isn't helping me thrive emotionally. The sleep deprivation coupled with the need to eat constantly (and sneak said food so Chase doesn't insist on eating everything too) plus the postpartum hormones is truly doing a number on me. I reached out to my doctor this week for help. After Chase, they put me on a low dose Zoloft and that made a huge difference. I may need to do something similar again. I know that the decisions I make - whether to breastfeed and whether I seek out an antidepressant - will be determined based on making me the healthiest mother I can be so I can best benefit my kids. Yes, people will judge. My attitude must be "let them" as my top priorities are my kids and my health. I just hope when I don my imaginary pink ladies jacket, I can truly keep that attitude in the forefront of my brain.