PAIL Post – Breastfeeding

Well.  That was quite a kerfuffle.  I’d not anticipated the level of hurt feelings that were expressed about the start of PAIL.  I hate that Mel was hurt by it, because she’s obviously been a champion of building an active, supportive community for ALI (adoption, loss, infertility).  I’d never want to have to remove myself from the blogroll to beat all blogrolls, but frankly, I have not requested to be moved from the Loss Room to the Pregnancy and Parenting room.  I can imagine that perhaps (and I don’t pretend to know) that for a woman whose primary challenge was getting pregnant (or finalizing an adoption or whatever path one takes), that might be a huge celebration, to move from one of the “before” rooms to the “after” room – but again, that probably varies from person to person.  For me…it would feel presumptuous to do it now, as if I’m taking a live, healthy birth for granted.  I’m starting to believe it might really happen, but I’m still having moments of disbelief as well.

It has occurred to me that people clicking through the blogs in the Loss room might come upon mine and feel that sting I’ve felt so many times when exploring new blogs, realizing that I’m now writing more about an ongoing pregnancy than any of my losses.  I don’t want to purposefully inflict that on anyone, but again…a quick look at Sitemeter or StatCounter shows that it’s less likely – more people are already finding me via PAIL than via Sorted and Filed.  I hope that PAIL will be what Elphie wants for it to be – an active community.  I’ve found some of that in the RPL subset of ALI since my last miscarriage, and it’s been absolutely priceless.  I must thank Misfit Mrs. for adding me to her list of fellow misfits – and even more for the private email she sent me with advice on what to expect when I posted about my impending D&C in December 2010.  Those individual acts of outreach mean a helluva lot – and I haven’t gotten that sense of community via the main ALI, so I didn’t hesitate to join PAIL when I found it.  I don’t think it’s meant to be exclusionary, it’s just that it’s the nature of the nasty beast we all battle.  When you’re infertile you’re excluded from the fertile.  When you’re an RPLer who can conceive naturally, you’re sort of even excluded from the mainstream infertile (no IVF, no IUI…a Clomid cycle like mine, for instance, is considered child’s play, basically). And I’m assuming that the adoption route has its own set of exclusionary feelings – all that waiting, the feeling of being made to prove you’re fit to parent rather than just proving that your biology is competent…it’s a whole ‘nother thing, I’m sure.  Each room has subsets, and each is deserving of a support network that’s actually supportive.  If a separate blogroll is what it takes to make that truly functional, I say so be it.  But I really do not mean to say it in a snotty tone that disparages Mel’s work, not at all.  I can absolutely understand her frustration, but for me and my situation, it’s not right to decline an opportunity to further connect with people who might actually reach back.  I feel fairly confident in speaking for everyone who’s reached or is reaching “the other side” – we want all of you to join us.  This isn’t meant to rub anyone’s face in anything or to be Sneetch-y.

With all that said, the group activity so far is to have a monthly theme post-gathering.  First topic being breastfeeding. What do I think about it?  Besides the fact I’m totally not there yet and I still can’t really picture myself actually doing it, I’m for it.  And then I have to laugh because I have so many what-ifs and tangents to explore on the topic.  I want to do it.  I haven’t done much to prepare other than reading online and putting some supplies on my registries and confirming that the hospitals (yeah, that’s plural.  Still TBD which one I’ll end up going to) will rent me a pump.  I plan to take a class, once I figure out which hospital I’ll be dealing with, and I plan to not hesitate to ask for help.  But I also plan to keep a can of formula (or at least the samples that already came in the mail, gah) in the house and if I need to use it, to try not to beat myself up about it.  Not saying I won’t be upset if it comes to that, but I don’t want it to have to mean that I FAIL AT ALL THE THINGS.  Bottom line, feeding the baby is important, clearly.  Method, less so.  Frankly, it would be a huge bonus for us to not have the expense of formula, but I have to be realistic – my past PCOS indicators could mean that it won’t be easy or perhaps even possible to establish a good supply.  If that ends up being the case, I have to remain convinced that it won’t be my fault.  I will give it my best – Mother’s Milk tea and fenugreek and whatever else I can come up with, I will try.  But if it doesn’t work out, it won’t be the end of the world.

The other piece I wanted to touch on is the judgment factor – it grosses me out that it grosses you out.  Really.  Two of my best friends clearly have opinions or at least feelings about it, and negative ones.  Which, fine, whatever, but also…the fuck?  In one instance I don’t really feel judged about my intended choice, it was just posed as a “do you plan to” question and nothing else was really said about it.  It wasn’t right for her and her kids, and that’s totally fine. Not to say I get it, but that doesn’t matter – her kids, her choices.  The other…does make me feel sort of weirdly judged, though I’m not sure why.  (Hi, sorry, yes, this is about you.)  I guess it’s just not exactly affirming to be shuddered at when you mention the concept.  Seriously.  She shudders at the thought.  If I ever get a surplus going I’m going to try to squirt her, just for spite.

Again, in the end, it doesn’t matter what people think.  I think I will have the support (my mom, Mike, most moms I know in “real life”) I’ll need to give it my best effort.  Like everything else in this rodeo – fingers crossed!

24 thoughts on “PAIL Post – Breastfeeding

  1. Phoenix says:

    It would be good for you to know you are fully supported in this entire process. Ones personal views are not to take away from your experience, there is nothing wrong with what you want to do. It may not be for that other person, given that other persons views in general can be selective on topics.

  2. LOL…how very…anonymously diplomatic? Sort of? Yes, it would be good to know that – I know there's nothing wrong with it; it's not like I am trying to convert or recruit these other persons. But clearly the reactions of those closest to me are part of the deal. I don't really think there's any negative intention to it, necessarily…but actively showing disgust doesn't ADD to the experience, either!

  3. Andrea says:

    Most women with pcos are able to nurse just fine, in fact, if I remember correctly, the hormone imbalance leans further toward better supply than way from it. My pcos is pretty bad (tested for CAH because of how wacky my levels are) and, although we had some serious challenges with breast feeding, supply was not one of them. (Z couldn't nurse for the first 2 months, I pumped every hour, went to a lactation consultant every week, used a shield and did the little tube supplementer, etc. It was rough, esp at 19 and stupid.) The statistic is something like less than 5% of women truly have supply issues… the rest of it is getting frustrated so not nursing or pumping so supply drops, etc. I am a very avid fan of breastfeeding for many reasons and it bugs me when women give up too soon (3 days, a week) because its "too hard" or "gross" BUT when bf'ing is so frustrating that it takes away your pleasure in your baby…. it is time to seek alternatives. Z's first feeding was gavage formula due to post birth issues. Do I wish it was different? Of course. But the baby needed to be fed and however you feed them that feels authentic to you and nurtures your relationship with your child, well, that is the right way.

  4. Andrea says:

    Also I feel sad for women who are disgusted by bf'ing. What went so wrong in their lives that they can't separate sex from their tatas?

  5. You got me googling…sounds like it's a pretty even three-way split with PCOSers: a third normal, a third oversupply, and a third undersupply. And only a third of that last third is severe. That's better than I thought – thanks for bringing that up! I bet oversupply would be wickedly uncomfortable, but the thought of having extra to freeze certainly is appealing…now, anyway. From what I recall in my RE's testing, prolactin was normal, so hopefully that bodes well enough. (I did the CAH test too – if I'm thinking of the right one…17-OH progesterone? Never got a number on that, now that I think of it.)True – my cousin suggested a pretty reasonable strategy, I think: promise yourself you'll keep at it for a week. If at the end of the week, it's a little better and not any worse, then commit to two more weeks, and so on, and so on. Like you said, you never know what issues may arise – gotta go with whatever works at the time, for sure!Agreed – though I wouldn't assume it always has anything to do with sex, necessarily. Some women just don't ever want to even be pregnant, so I could see being equally uncomfortable with the idea of breastfeeding. I suppose the line between discomfort and disgust isn't always clear?

  6. Andrea says:

    For most women, at least the ones I know, the first week is terrible. It takes up to three days for your milk to come in and then you can get engorged and that hurts. By week 4 or 6 it tends to settle down pretty nicely but those first 10 days are hell for a lot of people. And we don't have women to help us the way it was way back when… other hands to hold you in the right positions etc. (I had so much milk, a gallon or so a day when I was pumping like a maniac, I tried to donate it. At that time… I had to pay to donate it, only place taking donor milk was like Chicago and it was… just idiotic. But it gave me a great freezer supply for going back to school… and my first night out drinking again lol.)I think for me one of the reasons I kept at it was that I felt so let down by these big tatas… always the girl with the big boobs, now was their time to shine? So I guess I sort of had to prove to myself that we could do it. And honestly it worked the best in the beginning when we were in an unstressful situation and she wasn't starving.The comment about the sex and the tatas was a little tongue in cheek but I do think it has a lot to do with the discomfort and disgust.

  7. Andrea says:

    17 poh for me was very high. Had to do the lay in a room with the lights out cortisol challenge test and saliva swabs for a week and it was very weird. But it was nice to finally have an answer for why my body was so fucked up. I miss being able to use birth control (pulmonary embolism/infarction in 2009) despite wanting to have more kids so badly… and also part of the issue since with my medical history a lot of the medications are contraindicated.

  8. Yikes…sounds awful, but sounds about right. Will try to keep my expectations very low for the first week or two! How absurd that it was so difficult to donate breastmilk – I hope that's improved! I think I know what you mean – not having big boobs, of course, but the whole prove-I-can-do-it – this whole pregnancy feels that way a lot of the time. Wow – so no HBC for CAH? I may be misunderstanding…but still, sucks. I hate when medical stuff is mysterious, but it's just as bad when figuring it out throws a huge wrench in other parts that may have seemed unrelated before.

  9. Andrea says:

    No was neg for CAH thank god. Sorry if I don't make too much sense I always seem to reply when I'm on the phone and in a rush. Because of the embolism anything with estrogen is contraindicated for certain and pretty much anything with progesterone. So… no hbc, no clomid, no injectibles…. shit creek and no paddle. I can, however, probably have mirena and I can have my tubes tied in a few years, as my gyn so cheerfully announced at our 2nd meeting back in 2010.

  10. Ah, I see. That sucks on both sides of the coin – not making it easy to prevent or try. Ugh. How about naturalish things like vitex/soy isoflavones? I didn't try them myself, but I read some about it and thought it might be worth trying (in my case – not assuming anything else about yours!). At least the soy is still surely estrogenic, but perhaps the risk regarding the embolism is less? Not sure. And sorry for doing the have-you-thought-of thing when I clearly don't have a clue on all the other specific knowns and unknowns that have to be considered. Gross to your gyn – I swear some doctors let all the medical training remove the remember-to-be-human part of the brain.

  11. Coco says:

    LOL. Squirt her in the face! Awesome. Strange to me that someone is actually giving you crap for WANTING to BF. Around here, all I get is crap for having a bottle in the baby's mouth. Since I don't have extra supply, perhaps I should put some formula in a spray bottle. 🙂 And fenugreek, I love it. Haha. Didn't really help my supply, but it made me, and my sweat, smell like maple syrup. Mmmmm. Right after you have a baby, there's no time to sleep or shower, and I didn't even stink… much. ;)It was awesome.

  12. I don't mean to be too harsh about her, really – she wasn't really giving ME crap, it's just clear that it's hard for her to picture herself doing it. Which is fine – I just can't forget the shudder ;). I DO like your idea of formula in a squirt bottle, haha! Yeah – I am fascinated by the fenugreek thing. Too bad it doesn't work more universally. Worth trying, if only to see if it makes you want pancakes, too! 🙂

  13. Congrats on your pregnancy – so exciting!I love your second paragraph – I wish everyone who's feeling threatened by PAIL would read it. you sum up the need for it so well. Good luck on breastfeeding. I think you have the right attitude – most important thing is that the baby gets fed. I think if you go into it relaxed like that, that you're more likely to be successful at breastfeeding.I'm going to follow your story – I love reading success stories!

  14. Thanks! Will be by to catch up on yours, too.

  15. Mrs. Misfits says:

    Oh hilarious that I saw a post on breastfeeding and glossed over it. Thanks for the shout out. This whole mess is rotten to be in, but I can say that I've had great company.

  16. J.o.s.e.y says:

    LOL, squirt her indeed. I truly don't understand why people shudder or could look upon BFing with disdain when until our current generation, the vast majority of people in the frickin world were ALL breastfed babies!Remember not to stress if your milk doesn't come in for the first few days – that is totally normal, and you are not starving your baby. A couple mL of colostrum is liquid gold, and their tummies are so tiny in the beginning that it's all they can handle anyway. Best of luck to you with your BFing journey, and I agree – I think PAIL is an awesome thing!

  17. JayBee* says:

    I just got all caught up on all this blogosphere drama… So sad that ppl who are dealing with these huge issues are involved in what seems like a misunderstanding or miscommunication of some kind. As for breast feeding, clearly I probably shouldn't even be commenting on it, as someone who doesn't even plan on having kids… I just get so annoyed at those who are so judgey towards those who decide its not for them. Or those who take the stand of, no way I shouldn't hafta cover up… Why not. What's the big deal to put a blanket over you if you're at the mall. When my sister in law breast feeds, you can hardly tell she's doing it shes so discreet.

  18. LOL…agreed for the most part on the judgement stuff. Except maybe the covering up thing. Granted it IS the appropriate thing to do given the state of our culture in this country, but frankly I think it's bass-ackwards. Most European cultures are absolutely fine with nudity – whether it's sexual or not at all in nature – but are HORRIFIED at the level of violence that we find perfectly acceptable in the media, even for kids. Which makes sense to me…sex and/or nakedness is way more normal/acceptable than violence. So while I'd LIKE to eventually be skilled enough that I would whip out a boob for a feeding anywhere without worrying about a cover, I don't know that I'll ever really feel that comfortable doing it that way.

  19. SRB says:

    It is hard to say how PCOS will affect your supply, especially as PCOS is experienced so differently by different women. I am a "don't ovulate, hardened ovaries, blood sugar issues" type, for example. I had the usual issues getting started, but not too much trouble at all. I did have some supply issues, but this could also be a result of having a breast reduction 12 years ago. Regardless, I took/take More Milk Plus drops (all those herbs in one disgusting drop… 4 times a day!) and it really helps. Because when I run out… supply tanks. A bonus side effect is that your armpits smell like maple syrup! Best of luck with getting started! It's going to suck (pun!), but it's worth it when it clicks. 🙂

  20. lifebytheday says:

    Here from PAIL and I seriously love that I found you! I can't even tell you how many times I nodded my head or said a silent amen! after some of the things you said, especially about support, exclusionary feelings, and the not wanting to fall at ALL the things. And I laughed out loud about squirting your friend…I hope you get the chance to do that! ;-)I hope BFing goes easy for you…I'm also a PCOSer and had no problem BFing (well, besides the regular ones) and ended up feeling quite comfortable while doing it (even despite my small boobs and fat stomach). 😛 Wishing you luck…I'll definitely be following you!

  21. lifebytheday says:

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  22. lifebytheday says:

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  23. Thanks! (Your comment came through X3 – just deleted duplicates.) Always glad to hear that it was easy for one of us. I had a stress dream the other night about having no milk and somehow ended up in line at the grocery store with no money to buy formula. Fun!

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