Thursday, December 2, 2010

When Plans Fail

I look down at this little baby boy who I prayed for and tried to have for over two years. I take in his sweet round cheeks, his sleepy eyes, and his contented smile. I am so happy that I am able to provide comfort and nourishment to him. I love breastfeeding and I knew I was going to breastfeed him before he was even conceived. I loved the breastfeeding relationship I had with his older brother. I cherish the memories I have of breastfeeding my first. When I weaned him at two years old I cried and mourned the loss of the nursing relationship. I'm not breastfeeding my little baby boy though, I'm bottle feeding him.

After experiencing two pregnancies that weren't easily attained I was shocked to learn that I had conceived our third child when our second was merely two months old. I was initially dumb founded, but happy and thrilled anyway! A storm of questions raced through my head. It took me several months to even address any of them, because with a baby so small and a four year old whose best friend is in fact, well me, I just didn't take the time to think through all the details of how things are going to work when our third little one arrives.

I had every little particular mapped out for our second-born. Where he was going to sleep, what type of diapers I was going to use, whether I was going to feed him store bought or homemade baby food. I was convinced of all my decisions and my husband was too.

I finally decided to tandem nurse the second and third. "If I'd never gotten pregnant I would have nursed him until he is two." I reasoned. Why should I give up a nursing relationship early just because I'm going to have two sweet children who need milk rather than just one?

"He's really skinny!" a couple people said in passing. I had noticed he was small too, but his brother had never been the typical chubby baby either and he was perfectly healthy.

I started to get concerned. My once happy smiling baby was now constantly clinging, crying, barely sleeping, and looking much too skinny. I went out and borrowed a breast pump, bought some formula and came home.

I pumped and realized my milk supply was almost non-existent.

3 weeks later and little Warrick has gained over 3 lbs and is back to his smiling, happy-go-lucky self.

I remarked to my husband "It's like having a different baby. Wait, no, it's like having our baby back."

My plans, however much I thought them out and agonized over them didn't quite pan out. I'll freely admit that it's been hard, sad, painful, and disappointing. This thing that may seem silly to some people - nursing, has been something I hold dear to my heart. This isn't even to say that Warrick has been easy to nurse! He hasn't! Despite that fact, I still loved nursing him. Accepting the fact that I am unable to provide this to him has been a huge heartache.

It has also been a wonderful lesson to me.

Dealing with disappointment and the realization that our plans aren't always going to work out accordingly is a good thing. It helps us to learn and grow. It doesn't really matter what it is that we have so painstakingly mapped out - big or small, if it doesn't happen to come to fruition that's not a bad thing in my book. It may initially be hard to cope with, but I truly believe that through every disappointment, whether minute or humongous God can use it to refine us and teach us.

"And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them."
Romans 8:28

I cannot say enough how thankful I am for formula. I am so incredibly grateful that there is another option for my son. I can't even imagine if there wasn't this alternative. While it was something I never thought I would use or have to use just by way of the fact that I'm a stay at home mom and therefore always available to my babies it has been an immeasurable blessing.

I have also been extraordinarily blessed with loving friends who have spoken words of comfort and healing to me.

I have come away from this with a happy healthy sweet baby boy outside of the womb. I still have a growing ever-so-quickly little baby girl inside the womb. I am aware that God has my family in the palm of His hand and is scrupulously watching over us and making sure that our needs are met according to His good and perfect will. It's a good lesson for me to learn that as much as I try to plan my life sometimes it's not going to happen the way I want it to, and that it's better that way.


  1. I'm happy he is feeling/doing better! He's such a doll.
    Also, are you still pumping? Can't that put you into preterm labor? Be careful girl!

  2. 3 pounds? HOLY MOLY!! I had no idea he gained that much that fast once you switched!

    Formula is made for emergencies such as this - it is what it is for. God gave you both babies, and God knew what it would do to your milk supply - he is watching over you and Warrick always! Good thing for Warrick, he's got a mama who is wise and loving and willing to do whatever it takes.

  3. Mel,

    I am so sorry to hear about the loss of something that meant a great deal to you. But I am so happy that it came with the pleasant surprise of a new baby on the way.

    Babies receive nourishment and love from their parents (mother and father) in so many ways. I can speak from experience (having 3 formula fed babies) that they grow to be strong, healthy, smart and loving children.

    "Mom" is a name that comes with a lot of guilt (and we All fall short of the title - our own expectations and the expectations of others - in some way). Your sons have a loving and dedicated mother - and they are lucky to have you <3

  4. Hugs, momma. God made formula too. HE is so good to us. You are brave and such a good mom to see what needed to be done and then do it. I have 3 children and rarely have things gone the way I planned. I agree totally that God uses everything to our "good". And our good is to be conformed to the image of Christ.
    ”We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” — Joseph Campbell

  5. Danielle, I love the quote! Thanks for the encouragement, I really appreciate it. :)

  6. I know exactly how you feel! I couldn't nurse my first three babies past six months. I just dried up! I felt like such a failure. With my fourth baby, I worked HARD to keep up my milk supply! It worked, because at 20 months, she was still nursing strong. It was my favorite thing ever, that special bond we had! But a week and a half ago she caught pneumonia and stopped nursing, and we just never picked back up. (Mostly deference to my husband...) I still have milk, and my boobs HURT! I've cried and cried, and I think it's hardest knowing that I HAVE milk, but can't give it to my baby. Blessings on your new unborn child! My husband and I are planning on another baby next year. I'm excited!

  7. I know this post was from years ago but I came across it and can relate SO well. I am pregnant with our 9th child and I've had milk supply issues with the last 5 children. I am hoping I'll at least be able to nurse a couple of months, but am not optimistic past that. This has been a hard thing for me, but I have just accepted that formula is a gift too, and I can't "fix" the fact that my body runs out of milk. But I am thankful for the alternative of formula, though it isn't ideal.

    1. Laraba, thanks for your comment. Congratulations on your ninth pregnancy! That's awesome! It is so funny how our bodies change from one pregnancy to another. I never knew that losing my milk was a likelihood. I have many friends who breastfeed toddlers while they are pregnant - all the way to the end. I'm SO incredibly thankful that there is an alternative. God truly does hold us in the palm of His hand. I think it's wonderful that you still breastfeed as long as you are able. Thank you again for stopping by!

  8. Hello.

    I wanted to exclusively breastfeed my first baby but it didn't work out that way. She was very tired from the pain relief I had in labour and wouldn't latch on and the midwives suggested formula to stop her losing too much weight.

    I agree that when plans fail it can help us gain perspective on what really matters. We partially breastfeed for almost ten months and she is now hale and hearty. It doesn't really matter how we got to this point, just that we got here.


  9. Thank you for sharing this. I still remember the devastation on being told my daughter was unable to have my breastmilk (for medical reasons) when she was 4 months old. Like you, I had been passionate about breastfeeding and having to give her formula was something I struggled with. As you say though, the most important thing is that our babies are able to grow and thrive and thank goodness there are other options available when we need them.

  10. Thanks so much for your honesty. We can have the perfect vision of how we want things to look, but things do not always work out that way for many reasons. It's so important to be at peace with a change in path even when it wasn't in our plan. Thanks for sharing this with the #BFingDiaries

  11. Thank you for sharing. I can only imagine how devastating that was for you, (my daughter went on a nursing strike at 2 months old.) As parents we have ideas of how things should go, but we have to be able to adapt to changes that may come up. I agree, formula is great! It serves a very important purpose.


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