For anyone who has been following my breastfeeding journey, I owe you an update. For anyone who hasn’t — you can check out my breastfeeding page, where all of my posts about my breastfeeding story are listed so you don’t have to go through my entire blog to find them. With that said, this post is about where we are now.
It’s been about 4 weeks since my visit to the LC. I was optimistic and hopeful after the visit, that we could do it. We could wean from formula, and 7+ months, we could go back to only breastfeeding. I tried hard. I set up a corner of my couch with my Boppy pillow, a comfy blanket, a table next to me with the tv remote, water, tea, my pump, a book, and anything else i thought i might need. I followed the LC’s advice. Pre-feed a couple of ounces (usually of breastmilk) and then try to nurse. I did this EVERY 2 hours. I’d pre-feed with about 2 ounces, and 2 weeks later was even down to just 1 ounce, and then we’d nurse. I really thought it was working. He was happy, and seemed satisfied. We nursed often, and he was getting all his pre-feeds of breastmilk — i was barely using formula! I was ecstatic.
Then, it slowly went downhill. With nursing SO often, i barely could find time to pump. I tried pumping before, after, even during nursing. I was TIRED. Then his behavior changed. He started getting really fussy. Cranky. Always upset. NEVER happy. My happy boy was GONE. Of course there were other factors — he was teething and cut his first tooth the day he turned 8 months. But i knew it in my gut — that didn’t really have much to do with it.
I had no breastmilk in the fridge. I didn’t have any for pre-feeds, so we went back to using formula. Then, the pre-feeds weren’t enough, so i had to top off after nursing, too. Then he just decided he didn’t WANT to nurse. And we were back to square one. He knew, if he cried enough, he’d get the bottle. And that’s what he did. So, back to formula we went. I couldn’t get back into the swing of my pumping schedule. Going back to pumping every 2 hours seemed like torture.
That brought us to where we are right now. He’ll be 9 months next week. I’m barely pumping once a day, if that. But our schedule looks something like this:
He wakes up around 6am. He gets a bottle of formula. Then, i offer to nurse before breakfast, sometime between 8 and 9. After breakfast, we either play, or if he seems tired, we’ll nurse/take a nap. He’ll have another bottle around 10:30, and then lunch around noon. After lunch, we’ll lay down in bed (we co-sleep, still), and he’ll nurse down for his nap. Late afternoon, he’ll take a bottle — 3, or 4pm, usually. And then sometimes nurse in between there, too, depending on how things are going. Between 5 and 6 we have dinner, then bath, pj’s, and sometimes playtime, before cuddling up to nurse and he’ll usually fall asleep. Then we’ll either head to bed, and he’ll wake up enough to nurse back down for the night.
So, even though most of his nutrition comes from formula bottles — he nurses a LOT still. And ALL night long, anytime he wakes up, he wants to latch and “snack” himself back to sleep.
Basically, i let him nurse anytime he wants. I’m ok with that. And right now, he’s ok with it, too. I may not make enough milk to satisfy him, or ever be enough for him to “grow” from. He doesn’t nurse to eat, he nurses because he loves it. Now that i’m not so stressed about making him EAT, or pumping enough for however many bottles, our focus has shifted. It has shifted from FORCED sessions, to beautiful and loving sessions. Where we curl up on the couch, and he nurses — he looks up at me and looks me in the eyes. Sometimes he smiles at me, but mostly he just stares into my eyes. He reaches up his hand, and touches my face. Sometimes he grips my arm, or puts his hand around my breast. He strokes it, and i can just FEEL how much he loves it. This morning, we were playing on the floor, and he crawled into my lap, and pulled at my shirt. I immediately grabbed him and sat down to nurse, and he was so HAPPY. His way of saying, he wanted it. I LOVE that.
I haven’t come to terms with the fact that i feel my body let me down. But i am coming to terms with the fact that although our nursing relationship may be different than many — it’s beautiful in it’s own way. My baby boy wants, loves, and needs it. It’s his comfort, it’s his love. He can’t go to sleep without nursing first. It can calm him through ANYTHING. He nurses sweetly, and enjoys it, and that puts me at peace. With the entire thing. And from what i can see now, my supply is steady at where it’s at — and he has NO intention of giving it up anytime soon. And i’m DEFINITELY ok with that.
This is a Blog Hop.
Go here to check out the post i got this from, and join in on the fun!