Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Breastfeeding is HARD, Ya'll!

Time for me to confess. I was one of those moms who had it very, very easy at first. I had heard it was hard so many times that I figured I had a 50-50 shot of making it to 3 months. But lo and behold, the Wonder Boy popped out an instant boob-man that seemed to latch within 3 seconds of me holding him sideways near my naked chest. And for the next 3 1/2 months we coasted along on his exclusive diet of mama's milk.

In secret, I was very, very proud of our accomplishment, like it was something I was doing that allowed my body to make milk. Really, all I did was be available any time he wanted to give it a go, and stayed calm and relaxed enough that the milk had no problem flowing. I demurely bowed out of conversations where people talked about how hard breastfeeding was, because honestly, it felt pretty easy for me. I felt sorry for the women I know that tried to breastfeed and were not able to. Overall, I felt pretty proud of myself and my little guy for our "accomplishment".

And then I went back to work. No worries: I had a healthy 60 ounces or so in my chest freezer and I was pumping pretty much what he was eating during my 3 breaks a day. For the first 2 1/2 weeks. Then, all of a sudden he was eating 18 oz, I was pumping 12 oz, and the freezer outlet tripped. Murphy's freaking law, people. Since then, I've been up and down. I've come to terms with supplementing with formula. At first it was only 6 oz, maybe once a week, but as time has passed and work has become more stressful, I am now supplementing at least 3 times a week. Sometimes as much as 2 bottles. I think we're at the point where it's going to be one formula bottle and two breastmilk bottles. Which is ok, but it's still disappointing.

I remember a conversation with my little (childless, opinionated, but well-meaning) sister just before Jacob was born. I said that my first goal for breastfeeding was 3 months, but that I really hoped to go 6. "Why would you only do it for 6 months," she sneered, "when you know a year is better?" Well, the closer I've gotten to six months (SIX months! Just around the corner...) the more I've wanted to continue for a year, or at least until the baby decides he's done.

But it's HARD, ya'll! Sometimes when I pump I only get an ounce. An OUNCE, for nearly 20 minutes of my precious workday. I probably spend nearly two hours of my day pumping and/or cleaning the pump accoutrements. And those times, all I can think of is how much I can't wait to eat chocolate-covered espresso beans and spicy hot food again. Now that he's been exposed to formula and I know it's not radioactive or rotting his brain, I really sometimes think about how nice it would be to stop pumping and only breastfeed when I'm around him. But I'm scared to try that in case it just causes the rest of my supply to quit. And I'm not ready to give up at all when I look down at Jacob and he smiles, like he would never want to drink anything except mommy's milk!

I just need a vote of confidence, I guess. I really want to make it to a year, but it's getting harder and harder to appreciate the benefits in spite of the troubles it gives me!


  1. I have been going through this too. Everything was incredibly easy until I went back to work. I think my problems started with only pumping. I hated it and it took all the love out of breast feeding. Then my supply started having problems. Since 2 weeks ago my daughter has been eating all formula except one bottle of breastmilk a day. It's sad but she's just as happy.

  2. this is exactly where i am right now, too. i did the 3 month goal, then the 6 month one, and now i'm trying to decide what to do. i love nursing him at night and really don't want to give that up, but pumping is a pita. and i'm scared if i stop pumping, i won't have enough supply to nurse in the mornings/evenings. i want it all, damn it! :)

  3. I am going through this as well...what I have found is that I get only and ounce or two after 10-15 mins...then all the sudden the flood gates open and I get an extra couple of ounces from each boob. You should try it...just keeping pumping. I usually surf the internet while I am and lose track of time anyway. Goodluck!! You can do it.

  4. don't quit. i did and i was only getting a pathetic oz. sometimes. but it cut down on the amt. of formula we use, and i enjoy feeding my baby. work (standing all day with no office) changed things up. so go for it if you can.

  5. You are doing such a great job and if you want to keep going you should. That being said, I decided to quit because I had to add SO many extra pumpings sessions a day to get enough for the babysitter the next day and I was still supplementing. I was constantly stressed about milk and it was bad. Squish is completely FF now and is thriving. She can even hold her bottle by herself most of the time so I can do things while she eats! She is happy, I am happy and I've got my boobs back! Just know that whatever decision you make will be the right one!