It has been a rough couple of months for me. If you follow this blog you know that I’ve been struggling with nursing. Last time I wrote about it- on July 26!- I thought I was on the mend. But here I am in mid September and I am still not 100 percent. Last Thursday was the worse day of all, actually. So I called a third lactation consultant, and after a very short talk she seems to have figured out exactly what is going on. Thrush!
Thrush is an overgrowth of yeast, in my case it is quite possibly in the milk ducts. I have no outside symptoms and my baby doesn’t have any symptoms either (which is good), so diagnosing it was not easy. Now that I know, everything seems so clear to me. I have been exhausted, craving – and eating- loads of sugar, and have pain that feels like glass inside of me. These seem to be very typical of thrush.
After being on medication- diflucan– for less than 48 hours, trying to strengthen my immune system and using some home remedies agains thrush, I am already better, although I am still more exhausted than usual, sore and genuinely scared that the really bad pain will come back any minute. However I can feel like a normal person again, almost.
My friend told me very sweetly last night that it would be fine if decided to stop nursing. My sister and Mary have also reassured me that it would be O.K. if I did.
I have considered it many times in the last 2 months, sometimes on my own, other times when my friends and family have brought it up. At 7 months old, my baby has started to eat solids, and she’s gotten a lot of breast milk already. At the same time I know the benefits of breastfeeding for both of us, and when not in pain, I enjoy nursing.
This is not an easy decision for me, even though I realize there is no wrong answer. My baby will be fed regardless of what I decide. At a different time in my life I would have written down a pro/con list, but these days I don’t have time to do that, so I did what mothers do, a mental list of why I would or would not stop nursing.
After much consideration, I have decided to keep at it, at least for the time being. Mary has said that I am determined, but this list has some self-serving reasons, so don’t call me a hero. This list could change and something could tip it over to the other side. I am taking it day by day. Here is my pro list:
1- Regardless of what I do about nursing, I would still need to get this yeast thing under control. Since a cure is near, or at least I hope it is, once I am without pain, nursing will be good again- it is already a lot better
2- Only one side hurts, the other is a constant reminder that healthy breastfeeding does not hurt, and this is temporary
3-I don’t think I have it together enough to remember to bring formula with me everywhere I go. I also have no desire to do anything else in the kitchen than what I already do, especially sterilizing bottles
4- I am not ready to eat fewer calories. Seriously. I like eating large amounts of food, healthy food, but in large quantities. Breastfeeding an infant allows me to do this and still get closer to my pre pregnancy weight, even if my tops still don’t fit well
5- After having issues bonding with her, I feel like I just started enjoying my baby, and I want to give her this time of being just us. There is a nutrition component in nursing, but also an emotional one for both of us. I know I could have this bonding time with a bottle, but the way life is with two small children and a husband who works a ton of hours, I know that if I don’t have to stop to feed her I won’t
I know there must be a lot of women reading who have kept on breastfeeding despite difficulty. What was your reason to keep it up? If you decided to stop, what made it clear that this was the right thing for you? I’d love to know.