The thing about breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is a hot topic among mommy bloggers, especially natural birth/attachment parenting advocates, who are the majority of the mommy bloggers that I follow. I completely agree with the whole “breast is best” philosophy, and had originally planned on breastfeeding for at least a year.

Since Little Sir did experience a natural birth, he was able to breastfeed immediately and really didn’t have any issues with latch or gaining weight or anything – we were very blessed in that way. However, as I have gone back to work and had to pump for the majority of his day, he became less and less interested in breastfeeding. It’s not that he prefers the bottle per se, but just that he is a very active baby and isn’t able to pay attention to the boob for more than 5 minutes unless he is feeding in his sleep.

In addition, we had to add formula at about 4 months of age because my production just cannot keep up with his hunger. He never seems to distinguish between formula and breastmilk, so that was easy to do.

As of right now, I am still pumping, but we have to add 2 oz of formula to every bottle in order to get the 5-6 oz he needs at each feeding. Before bed he needs at least 8 oz in order to sleep through the night. We have to do straight formula for that one – there’s no way I’ve ever produced that much.

Why am I telling you this? You might say: this is a “green blog”, what do we care about your breastfeeding?”.

Well, this is where the “confusion” part of being conscientious comes in.

Conscientious: I know on paper that breastfeeding is best. I realize that the API and natural parenting community wants me to breastfeed until Little Sir is at least a year old. Honestly, they’d prefer he be walking up to me at 2 years old and pulling up my shirt. (This idea creeps me out personally, but I understand the heart behind it and I respect that some people do this.)

Confusion: Here is the thing: I have to hook this machine up to my boobs and let it mangle me for a minimum of 3 or 4 times a day. And for what? So I can get a very minimal amount of milk, sometimes only 3 oz total. (and yes, I know about massage to increase production when pumping. I do that. That is what I get even after massage) When I try to get the little guy to breastfeed on weekends and on my days off, its like wrestling a cat. He pops on and off for a minimum of 25 minutes each time, and doesn’t get much, so we’re back doing it again in 2 hours. Every 2 hours, 25 minutes of wrestling and hair pulling and squirming. Aaaggh.

There have got to be better ways to spend my days and his.

I know the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastmilk to the age of 6 months and that is only 2 weeks away. I think we can make it that far. 

Then I am seriously considering ending this effort. Going almost exclusively to formula and breastfeeding only in the early morning when he gets up and comes into our bed with us (co-sleeping! see! see! I can be AP!!). For as long as my supply lasts at that rate.

Go ahead, yell at me and tell me that he’s going to grow up some kind of serial killer or goth teenager because I didn’t breastfeed long enough. I really would not mind someone else’s perspective on this. I’m not going to lie and tell you it will change my mind, though. I’m pretty much done with it, to tell you the truth.
Because at this point, just looking at that breast pump is making me nauseated.

8 thoughts on “The thing about breastfeeding

  1. Heather says:

    Nursing is one of the most frustrating things ever. For one, it’s not as easy as it looks and two, there is so much pressure from other people to do it. I have to tell you that I am proud of you for doing everything you could for this long to provide for the little guy. Not everyone is willing to do what you have done!

    I for one don’t judge you one bit for stopping. You are working and juggling a lot right now. If I was working too, I probably would be in the same position. (Sometimes I secretly wish my supply would dry up so that I could quit. Ok, so maybe not just sometimes…more like everyday!)

    I have a deep hatred for my breast pump. Not a fan. I don’t know how you’ve done it for so long. Because I refuse to pump, my child doesn’t know how to take a bottle. Not smart on my part.

    Just want you to know that I support you- follow your mommy instinct!!

  2. Debbie and John says:

    Ok, I SOOO agree with Heather. You have done more than most because you have continued to nurse even after very difficult circumstances!!

    I can totally sympathize with you because Little Sir’s nursing behavior sure sounds a lot like Dex’s was. How I longed to be the mother with the serene child under the Hooter Hider where you couldn’t even tell a baby was under there!

    It was so hard for me to go to formula for the same reasons you listed. I really thought I was being a bad mom, but that is such a lie. You are a VERY good mommy, thinking of your baby first, wanting him to get enough food in his growing tummy! You want eating to be a positive experience, for you and him! Yes, it would be nice if nursing worked out, but it’s okay if it doesn’t. It really is. (Repeat over and over).

    I love and support you!

  3. Brooke Wagliardo says:

    I went through something very similar. At Andrew’s 2 week apt the doctor was shocked to see that not only had he not gotten back up to his birth weight, he had only gained half an ounce in those 2 weeks. I CRIED! Why hadn’t he complained? I felt like I had starved my kid! So then began the craziness of breastfeeding and then bottle feeding to give him everything he needs. Then pumping. And let me tell you. I took all the vitamins and massaged the heck out of my breasts. Nothing helped. He was barely up to a 3 hour schedule at that point so I was getting NO rest. I did this for 4 months. But by then he was crying at the breast and sucking down the supplementing bottles. I knew the best thing for me and the baby was to just stop. I would be getting more rest and he would be getting all the calories he needed. I cried the last time I nursed and tried to etch the memory in my brain. Andrew has been perfectly healthy ever since. And out of an entire year of life he has only been sick ONCE. All that to say, yes breastfeeding is best, but when you can’t – you can’t. And you shouldn’t feel bad about that.

  4. donnale says:

    yup, I so agree with the above ladies!! I wasn’t a good cow either and that’s the thing about all the advice books–it works for some and not for others. Scripture just says younger women are to love their children and husband–doesn’t say have to breast feed!! And if breastfeeding makes one crazy and pooped for kiddo and hubby, it’s not loving them!! So forward without guilt.

  5. Anonymous says:

    It is okay if he ends up being a goth. It is not okay if he is a serial killer. I know this isn’t the point of the blog, but goths are people too. Remember Richmond.

    Also, I respect your desision the real issue.

  6. Elaine A. says:

    I just hate that it has to be so stressful(I mean we do it to ourselves but still!) I have only had one exclusive nurser and my other two would just never latch. I was lucky to have supply to pump for them but that gets old quick, as you know! You are a wonderful Mother and he’s going to be JUST fine. Promise.

  7. The Eco Chic says:

    Hi Jenny! It’s me, Calley! First let me say CONGRATS on making it this far! Secondly, let me offer one more place for support. Every Thur night on Twitter there is a #BFCAFE chat at 10p ET. Thirdly, if you WANT to keep up nursing you have to make it a priority..if you don’t WANT to do it then it will continue to frustrate you. It’s all what you make it in your mind. My first son was 11mo/3wks/3days when we stopped. My daughter is currently 15mo and still going strong. I never thought I’d be ‘that girl’ who nursed past a year…but I’m hooked (and so is she). I congratulate you for making it this long! PS…I pump AND travel…it can be done but like I said…you have to want to do it. Don’t pressure yourself it you don’t WANT to do it. But if you do…there is help! XOXO! Looking forward to meeting you in August!

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