My little one (LO) is almost 7 months old and has started solids. About a month ago, I made the decision to supplement with formula because I wanted some time away from pumping. Little did I know that the minute I started supplementing, how extremely hard weaning can emotionally be.
I had no expectations on my milk supply ever changing because I was one of the lucky ones who was was able to exclusively breastfeed (EBF) my LO for the first 5-6 months. Once Zayne started to sleep through the night, at least 10-12 hours without needing to be nursed, I started panicking and found myself waking up every 3 hours just to pump. My output was doing okay with getting 4-6 ounces overnight and I was happy with that. But, one day while pumping during the day while my husband gave a bottle of formula to feed our LO, after 30 minutes, I had only pumped out 1-2 ounces total. I continued to pump throughout the day even after breastfeeding and found myself getting 1/2 ounces here and there. I immediately researched ways to “increase” my milk supply – I started taking supplements, drinking teas, and eating so much oatmeal and Lactation cookies. I even cut out caffeine. And it did squat. This left me confused questioning if I need to continue pumping throughout the night losing sleep, why my boobs aren’t engorged anymore, and why my morning supply doesn’t pump out anything even with the absence of nursing.
I still wonder if I am even trying hard enough and if I made the mistake of deviating from being the best mom EBF her baby.
I’m still going through the process of feeling guilt weaning before my baby was even ready. But what the hell is weaning?
These past couple days, I find myself just sleeping without pumping because I had a friend advise that our bodies will regulate based on demand. And so, I’m trying that the past couple of days. It doesn’t mean I’m sleeping well. I still wake up and lay there, crying, and wondering if I’m doing any thing right with breastfeeding and my supply.
Another thing I started doing is going back to exclusively breastfeeding my LO during the day and then offering a 4 ounce bottle of formula after his bedtime breastfeeding session. I pump before I sleep and call it quits the rest of the night. This doesn’t allow my husband at all to be involved in feeds, however.
One thing I worry the most and cry the most about is well…is my LO getting enough milk? Is he appropriately wetting 4-6 diapers a day? Is he gaining his 3-5 ounces of weight each week?
His poops have been so little past couple days and I don’t know if it’s because of the rice cereal or if he’s dehydrated. He’s content and happy after every feed. He doesn’t fuss for me. I do notice another thing is that he nurses for 30 minutes to an hour with both sides total. That’s new. It’s like he’s a newborn again, where my whole day is just breastfeeding him.
Why do I feel so guilty about not having enough pumped milk? It’s also because of the high expectations I have of myself and the judgments I get. I’m a stay-at-home mom and so, why don’t I have the most amazing milk supply or any more freezer stash? I don’t have to pump at work.
This week, every morning, I constantly mourn and worry. I try not to so that it doesn’t affect my supply. I don’t know what affects it anymore to be honest. All I know is, I just have to keep trying.
The end goal for me is to reach 12 months of providing breastmilk to my LO. I’m at the halfway mark and I can’t believe how difficult this has been. My only hope is that my LO is getting enough milk everyday. I am only guessing right now because you can’t really measure it except with doing before and after weights. So today, baby weighs 18lbs 2oz. I’m hoping by next week, that number will increase to indicate he’s healthily gaining the weight.
What about supplementing with formula?
The formula game is a struggle and I absolutely hate it. That will be another topic I’ll have to post about – from American formula, switching to European, then finding hypoallergenic stuff. Ugh. I’m just glad my baby takes anything!