Why I Quit Breastfeeding - Lea Carmen

Why I Quit Breastfeeding

Photos by: Lexi Meadows Photography

Breastfeeding has become a major topic of conversation during a woman's pregnancy. From healthcare providers to mommy Facebook groups, there's a huge advocacy to breastfeed your child. I say advocacy tongue in cheek because nowadays there's shaming against mothers that choose not to breastfeed. I swear almost every professional I came in contact with pre and post delivery asked if I was breastfeeding. It honestly drove me nuts even though I answered "yes". If I answered "no" what would have been their response? An unwanted opinion? An argument? A snide comment? 

All in all, my husband and I were in agreement that I was going to breastfeed Thomas until I returned back to work. I work in outside sales so logistically pumping in my car wasn't a path we wanted to take. As a follower of mom blogs I knew that there were a lot of challenges with breastfeeding. So we decided to become educated on breastfeeding.

I really reccommend signing up for a breastfeeding class or seeing a lactation consultant before you give birth! Isaak and I signed up for a breastfeeding class offered at our hospital. Additionally, I read tons of resources online. After accomplishing these two tasks I felt comfortable and knowledgable about what needed to happen with my son and I to be successful!

Immediately after my son was born (you can read his birth story here), we started breastfeeding. I felt Thomas latch with hardly any issues and felt on cloud nine! We had success. Throughout the next days, lactation specialists at the hospital would come check in on us. At this point Thomas and I were rocking and rolling, he was getting his colostrum and I was feeling pretty dang good about myself. What did other women struggle with? I was doing just fine!

Fast forward to one week later, and my son begins to cluster feed. I'm talking about almost on the hour for an entire night and not to mention he was feeding every 2 hours during the day. Each feed was about 20 minutes each time. You get the picture. My nipples were raw as ever! I used this nipple cream and these gel soothies to ease the pain. Additionally, we were having latch issues. My son would clamp down on my nipple and it would be so painful to break the latch/seal in order to correct his mouth placement. However, I kept trudging on.

My breaking point came to a head when my left nipple started to bleed. I fed my son on the right side and he continuously clamped down so hard on my nipple that I would burst into sobs from the pain. I now felt the infamous breastfeeding struggle. My boobs hurt so bad ( they were not getting emptied and were inflamed) that I did not want to hold my son at all. The pressure from his body on my chest hurt so intensely. This darkened my mood so terribly that I started to resent motherhood. Why did feeding my child have to cause so much pain?

I knew that for my mental health I needed to make a change. Isaak was my rock during all of this and urged me to begin pumping. It was a life saver! Pumping did not hurt me at all and provided so much relief from emptying out the milk. We agreed that pumping exclusively and bottle feeding my son still achieved our goal of him getting the best nutrients possible. From that point on he was bottle fed with my breast milk.

Even with all of our research and resources like taking a breastfeeding class, reading online articles and blogs, and speaking to at least 3 different lactation specialists we still struggled. Later we would find out that my son got thrush and passed it to me through the cut in my left nipple, which causes extreme pain. *face palm* All in all we felt really good about the decision to exclusively pump. Also, it gave Isaak and our family the opportunity to bond with him while giving him a bottle.

Thank you for reading!

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