When I decided to try and breastfeed Aleesia, I had very little expectations of the process.
Breastfeeding is a lot harder than I imagined it would be. And then you can add in all of Miss A’s other health issues on top of that making it harder-er than I imagined. I didn’t ever understand all of the “low supply” woes that some of my friends experienced, until now. Or how peaceful it can be to just sit with that tiny human and know you are giving her all that she needs to grow and thrive.
I did find some joy, or at least peaceful quiet moments, during out breastfeeding relationship over the past five months.
But probably for the majority of the time it was hard, hard work and a sincere HATE of pumping. (I give so many props to women who exclusively pump. SO MANY)
Aleesia has been supplemented with formula since I went back to work full time because I just could not produce enough during the day. Which is just fine – she has to eat, after all. I would just feed her when I was with her and that seemed to be okay. Except, it really wasn’t okay. Neither of us were quite satisfied with the relationship – she was never full and I was always feeing bad because I couldn’t give her what she needed.
And there is the spitting up issue – there is something she was reacting to in my milk – I don’t know what, but something. And, it was clearly and visibly higher in mucous content and much lower in caloric content than you would expect. She started doing better on days she had only formula and that was all I needed to know.
As hard as we worked together to establish and maintain this intimate part of our relationship, it just wasn’t working anymore. I tried everything I could think of, read about, hear about, etc. to get things to work better for us to no avail. Mike was a great supporter and dealt with my crazy emotional snippiness and frustration wonderfully. But it still just wasn’t working. Of course I feel some guilt around it – maybe if I wasn’t a working mom we could have worked harder or maybe I should have continued to pump for her or change my diet again or, or, or.
Ultimately, I decided two weeks ago to start weaning her because we both needed to be happy and feeling good.
Of note: weaning is NO JOKE!
I tried to quit it cold turkey. Which, was stupid. So I decreased my pumping sessions first and still fed her as she pleased when I was home. On Monday of this week, she lost interest in nursing so I stopped pumping and finally no longer feel as if my boobs will explode at any minute.
Engorgement and weaning is/was worse than childbirth no exaggeration. I did take sudafed and motrin around the clock for 48 hours, which may have helped. I even went to the store at lunch the other day to buy a more supportive bra because I could not concentrate on anything!
Now that I am feeling better physically and for the most part, not guilty about this choice, things are better! We know how much she is eating, and that there is no potential allergen cross contamination going on, and while she spits up just as much and her reflux is pretty much the same she is less frustrated. She pounds those bottles like a champ for the most part and we get good 15-20 minute chunks of HAPPY BABY!
It was a MUCH MUCH harder decision than I thought it would be to wean Aleesia – but in the end, it’s the best decision for US.