Breastfeeding

The single hardest thing about being a mother so far has been dealing with not making enough milk for my babies. I’ve come to terms with it now, but it was so difficult for me.

In the early days, I was so obsessed with making sure I was making enough milk. I was counting diapers and reassuring myself things were fine. My babies were fed and were gaining well. At their 2 month check-up, the doctor suggested supplementing with a couple additional ounces a day to help with their weight gain. It was then that I decided to begin supplementing with a bit of formula. I was preparing to go back to work so I figured it made sense to give them a tiny bit of formula so I could use what I pumped to build up a freezer stash for when I returned to work.

The decision to supplement with formula wasn’t made lightly. I did everything in my power to increase my supply from day 1. I pumped after every feeding. I power pumped. I nursed on demand. I took fenugreek (another story for another blog post). I ate oatmeal. I rested and drank lots of water. I took tinctures. I tried lactation cookies.

At first I gave them an ounce or two of formula in the morning and evening. As they grew, my supply just couldn’t keep up. I started offering formula after additional feedings here or there. During all of this, I was coming to terms that what I had hoped just wouldn’t be possible. I was not making enough milk and my babies were hungry. I tried everything under the sun (as described above) and nothing helped. I was nursing for an hour sometimes every hour or so. It was so challenging for me emotionally. I wanted to EBF through 6 months so badly. (I know some would say supplementing with formula was the start of my problems, but I really truly tried everything even before I started supplementing to increase my supply. The supplementing was inevitable.)

And here we are today. I am still nursing! I would be nursing for every feeding except I went back to work. So they get 3 bottles while I’m away — one of breast milk and two of formula. I pump 3 times a day while at work (4 if I can swing it). If they wake up at night (sleeping is an entirely different blog post), I just nurse — no bottles. I still have a freezer stash.

And you know what? I’m fine with it today. I’m disappointed we have to supplement, but I’ve truly come to terms with it. I am now just thrilled that they can still get the benefits of breast milk. I’m actually quite proud of myself. I hope to continue this until 6 months. That’s my goal. It may change, but for now that’s my focus. Nursing + bottles isn’t easy, but I’m willing to do what I have to do for my babies.

I am, however, so so so so so so so glad I continued to breastfeed and didn’t give up and switch to formula full time. I think that would have been a million times more difficult for me. The fact that I’ve continued to BF while supplementing will only make it that much easier when it’s time to pull the nursing plug for good.

I also realized that I’m addicted to breast feeding. I love it so much. No one could have explained to me what this would be like. I love the experience of bonding with my babies. It didn’t feel like this in the beginning because I was so busy figuring things out and worrying about being a new mom and making sure they were eating enough. But now that I have my confidence, I can truly relax and enjoy this time. I hope 6 months takes it’s time getting here. Oh geesh, that’s only 7 weeks away.

6 responses to “Breastfeeding

  1. Debbie

    If it makes you feel any better, breast milk is lacking vitamin D. By giving your boys a little formula, you are bridging that deficit! I wanted to nurse my last baby for at least six months, and we made it to nine. I told myself I would do it until it wasn’t working for me anymore. SO glad that you are having a positive experience. Don’t sweat the formula!

  2. My baby and I had SO MANY problems with breast feeding, starting with silent GERD that then affected my supply. It was stressful and heartbreaking on a daily basis. When the time came that she wasn’t exclusivly dependant on me for all her nutrients it became what I always wanted it to be. A wonderful time bonding with my baby while providing her with all the advantages of breast milk. We nursed for 16 months, at which time we stopped through what felt like a very mutal agreement. Good for you for trying your hardest! And I’m so glad you decided on doing it the way it works best for you and your family!

  3. you are doing a GREAT job. i’m glad you’ve come to terms with supplementing a bit, people can be SO hard on themselves when it comes to breastfeeding,

  4. I am so glad that breastfeeding is working out for you! Yes, it is addicting and so so special. I miss it much. I haven’t made my peace with my BF journey yet, but I am ignoring my feelings of inadequacy and drowning them in sweet chubby smiles… šŸ™‚ But please tell me that at some point they start sleeping through the night? LOL.

  5. Nicole

    You are doing GREAT! BF can be so difficult. I can not even imagine BFing two. There is no way I could do it. This time I am making much less. I have no idea why, except perhaps my older age. (39). I’ve also tried everything, but just can’t seem to up my supply. I could exclusively bf my baby if I want a cranky, skinny, hungry baby. But I can’t stand to see her so hungry and mad. I hope to make it to a year. I’m pretty sure I can get there..

  6. you are doing awesome! way better than i was! I think it’s very rare to be able to produce a gallon a day, which is nutso. Your boys are so cute and chubby – I love it!

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Welcome!

After nearly 3 years of TTC and the help of ART, we got pregnant on our 5th IVF/FET transfer after IVF #2. Our beautiful fraternal twin boys were born on 7/15/11 at 37w0d.

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