I had a whole post written about this, but it was super-long and kinda boring and contained a bunch of details that probably aren’t all that important, unless you are me. So here’s a summary (you are welcome. heh)
(I even thought about just not writing this, because it’s kind of a touchy subject and can bring out The Judgey. But so many of you have been on my breastfeeding journey with me, or are going through it yourselves- and if there is one thing I’ve learned, hearing other people’s stories and giving each other support? NUMBER ONE way to have success and keep moving forward. You have all helped me SO MUCH with all of this over the past four months, and I thank you for that!)
Audrey started daycare two days a week and has fallen in love with the bottle. This means that my slow-let-down that she was mostly tolerating during our first few months of breastfeeding has become very annoying to her. Which means that probably half of our feedings turn into wrestling matches. And I usually lose.
(Also: no need for advice, seriously. I have read that article. I have tried that trick. I have eaten oatmeal, drank hundreds of ounces of water, taken that supplement. I have Googled ‘slow let-down’ and ‘baby refusing to nurse’ so many times, my browser practically goes to that page when I start up my computer. Just trust me.)
I will fight with her for ten or fifteen minutes: switching sides, breast compressions, calming her with a pacifier, even giving her a bit of a bottle so she’s not frantically hungry and trying to nurse again. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. So sometimes she gets a bottle.
Sometimes that bottle is filled with breastmilk. A lot of times it’s filled with formula. Even pumping two or three times a day, I don’t usually get more than one bottle of milk per day. She drinks three 5-oz bottles of breastmilk at daycare, two days per week. Which means I am BARELY keeping up (and if I hadn’t started out with the freezer stash I had at the end of maternity leave, there’s no way I’d be keeping up right now) I suppose I could pump more often, but I’ve tried that a few times and it doesn’t really yield that much more milk. Plus, I just don’t have the time in my schedule now that I’m back working to spend every other hour of my day strapped to a breastpump. So, she gets some formula in there to fill in the gaps.
I’m okay with this, mostly because I don’t really have a choice right now.
My feelings are all over the place.
I’m frustrated. I’m sad. Things were going so well finally, after the really insanely hard first six weeks when I wanted to give up on breastfeeding approximately 7,289 times a day, but didn’t. We powered through those tough days and got to easier ground. But now we’re back and I’m disappointed about that. We only really had a month or so where I had the kind of breastfeeding relationship I had dreamed about in my head: calm, bonding moments with my baby, feeling like I was comforting and nourishing her while she fed. Now it’s more like I’m torturing her and pissing her off with each feeding. (And it’s not her reflux- that is all totally fine now with the Zantac, thank GOODNESS! As soon as she’s given a bottle, she eats and is happy and we’re on our way.) And forget nursing in public. I tried it last week while we were out and HOLY SCREAMING BABY and ANNOYED PEOPLE STARING and OH HAI I’VE GOT MY BOOB OUT OVER HERE, EVERYONE! LOOK!
I’m exhausted. I feel like all I’ve been doing is working and worrying about MILK MILK OMG MILK. I feel like by now, it should be just another part of our day, but it’s not like that anymore. I’m sick of pumping for 20 minutes and only getting half of a bottle at one time.
I’m hopeful. With babies, one thing is certain: EVERYTHING is a phase. And there’s a chance this is a phase as well. We have less than two months before we get the go-ahead from the pediatrician to start solid foods. And it’s possible that once we get there, she’ll need/want to nurse less often and won’t be as frantic about it, which will help with the impatience. Or… maybe it won’t. Who knows.
I’m not giving up yet. Some days are really good, so that gives me hope. As long as my supply hangs in there (and so far, so good), I will nurse her when she’ll let me. I’ll give her a bottle of whatever breastmilk I can, and formula when there is no breastmilk to give. My pump is my new boyfriend (AGAIN.)
I will try not to stress out. I will NOT feel guilty. I have done everything I can do.
I will just enjoy the quiet moments she DOES let me nurse her. And be thankful that my baby is happy and healthy and has the best chubby cheeks ever.