Home > Ovum Donor Pregnancy > Refuse, Reject, Repeat

Refuse, Reject, Repeat

I’ve been mostly silent of late because I’ve had a real battle on my hands: breast refusal.

It started while we were in hospital.  Eskil has always been quite a sleepy bub, so had to be woken up for feeds.  And then wasn’t very alert.  Plus apparently breastfeeding is quite an exhausting thing for a newborn to do (talk about a design failure!), so in hospital I started supplementing by pumping.  I’m lucky that The Fertile One lent me an electric breast pump so when I went home I was ready for this.  When she gave it to me I didn’t think I’d need it, but it’s been a life saver.  And my son is certainly my husband’s child: he’s such a greedy eater he really loves the bottle, which he can gulp milk out of.  But unlike my husband, Eskil now seems to regard my breasts as his worst nightmare.  So unfortunately we’re now at a place where I pump pretty much exclusively.

Which brings me to rejection.  Yes, my logical mind knows he’s not rejecting me.  Yes, my logical mind knows this happens to many women.  However I’m exhausted, hormonal, emotional.  I was hoping giving birth to Eskil was the start of a wonderful life where I was ‘normal’ and beyond the problems of infertility, loss, etc.  And when my son howls in horror at the sight of my breast but leaps at the sight of a bottle held by my husband, I feel rejected.  Especially since he’s the result of ovum donation and not genetically my son, I feel like I’m not his real mum.  It’s hard not to let the thought that if I were his real mum this wouldn’t be happening (I know – not true).  It’s hard not to let other destructive thoughts creep into my mind, such as maybe as I’m not his real mum my milk irritates him.

Please don’t worry too much; I’m just letting you know what happens in the darkest moments in the darkest reaches of my mind.  I know these things aren’t true.  But it’s hard to get the continual rejection; feeds happen 7 – 10 times a day.  It’s exhausting, and it’s a lot of refusal.  The up side is so far I’ve been able to keep up with his ever-increasing hunger – sometimes just barely, but sometimes I can get at least a feed ahead.

And I haven’t given up on breastfeeding, even though I’m giving us a small break from trying.  It really starts to impact your relationship, so I’m giving us a holiday from that and just pumping and trying to enjoy my son.  But I’m not giving up; I think my approach to infertility shows that’s not likely!!

Categories: Ovum Donor Pregnancy
  1. Sienna
    02/09/2011 at 3:06 am

    Hey there’d – don’t feel too discouraged. I pumped exclusively forbw month and then started to breastfeed after that. I thought I would be too let,but not th case and I’ve heard of girls who started later than me. I didn’t relize before having w baby that breastfeeding was soo very hard and perhaps you are actually in the norm that its hard. The mythical creature who didn’t have breastfeeding troubles is just that – mythical :o)

  2. Natalie
    02/09/2011 at 5:35 am

    I’m sorry you are having so many BF issues. I also had a very hard time with bf’ing. I remember complaining to my husband, “why after all these years of infertility, I finally got the baby, shouldn’t it be easy now? Don’t I deserve that?” I pumped almost exclusively for 10 months. She breastfed a bit here and there, toward the end only at night when she was half asleep. The best thing I did for my own sanity though was feed her the bottles myself. That way I got the happy slurping baby time even if it wasn’t coming directly from my breasts. It was a huge time commitment to pump and bottle feed, so I was glad to give it up and switch to Formula at 10 months. This is never what I planned when I had her, but then again I didn’t plan for IF either. Sometimes you have to just give in and go with what you’ve got. Good luck!

  3. 02/09/2011 at 10:44 am

    Oh friend, again we share so much in common. As you know I’ve had to exclusively pump as Ian wouldn’t take the breast either, likely due to his long NICU stay. there are some positives though with pumping at least you don’t have to worry about him latching wrong and hurting you, also it’s become a relaxing time for me to read.
    Thanks for posting honestly about your feelings as well. I have felt the very same way regarding Ian and wondered if he wouldn’t cry so much when he’s fussy if it were his biological mom and not me:( As you said I realize this isn’t the case, but can’t help from thinking that at times.

    • 02/09/2011 at 11:40 am

      Oh no – I really wish we didn’t have this in common!! I’m going a bit crazy at the moment; my breastpump is dying!! I’m frantically trying to figure out what I should get, but I have to be able to get it today. And Hobart doesn’t have that many options. Sigh.

  4. 02/09/2011 at 12:01 pm

    Breastfeeding is HARD … I don’t care what anyone else says! And it’s differently hard at different points in time … N is now old enough where she gets distracted during a feeding, so even though she latches and nurses just fine, every minute or two there’s something else she needs to look at. Ouch.

    Does your hospital have lactation consultants? I think it’s worth it to talk with one … they often have some tricks you can use to get a baby to return to the breast after the bottle.

    And I know what the dying breastpump feeling is like, unfortunately … mine died at work one day, and I almost died with it. What a nightmare. I hope that you find a new one soon!

  5. a
    02/09/2011 at 12:05 pm

    God, how I hated the pump! And the dissatisfaction of the little tyrant that I couldn’t help but take personally. It’s so difficult and half of it is because we think it should just be easy.

    I hope that little E will develop some eating skills and etiquette, and make this not such a trial for both of you. Also, maybe you can get new nipples for the bottles and make him work for all his food – we had some that didn’t dispense terribly fast. Much luck.

    (Counterpoint: If you were irritating him, then he wouldn’t be happy with dad feeding him breastmilk either. And he wouldn’t have stayed contentedly inside you for the full 9 months. I know attacking emotion with logic never works, but it can’t hurt, right?)

  6. 02/09/2011 at 2:22 pm

    I hate that on top of all the ‘normal’ new mum issues you’ve got to struggle with feelings of rejection. Of course when you’re being rational you know that’s not the case, you are your little boy’s world right now. But when something that is supposed to be ‘natural’ isn’t working, it makes sense that you would have these feelings. It just sucks. After all this battling with infertility, you should be immune to any other problems – you’ve fought your battles already and now it should be all love and snuggles and magic. I’m glad to hear you haven’t given up, as it’s clear you’d still rather be breastfeeding, and I’m so pleased to hear that you’ve got the milk for him – that’s the most important thing. I hope you guys work it out soon and that you’re being gentle with yourself.

  7. jen
    02/09/2011 at 5:17 pm

    It’s brave of you to share this with us. For me when the BFing issues interfered with my relationship with baby E, I decided to let it go and just make sure my kiddo was fed. So EPing became my way of life. I know you are doing great, keep your chin up.

  8. 08/09/2011 at 6:12 pm

    I was also struggling to get Emma to latch on, and found that bouncing on a ball while doing it helped. you know, the big exercise balls. Now I don’t really have much milk, but she latches well. Too bad. I think you are at least lucky to be feeding him your milk, I hate having to give her formula, but have no choice.

    You are his mom no matter what. You will find a million ways in which you are bonded. Even if you feel rejected now, it will only hurt for a while, but he is your son in much more ways than just the breastfeeding kind.

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