breastfeeding: 3 months in

i think the question of which is easier, breastfeeding or formula is pretty much a wash. i’m sure if you handed a breast to someone who’d been formula feeding they’d marvel at how there’s no cans to buy and no bottles to wash and it’s always right there when you want it. by the same token, all you have to do with formula is mix it up and go, plus you always know how much she’s eating and anyone can do it anywhere you go. plus, while breastfeeding seems normal, feeding her from a bottle seems all special.

i’m struggling with staying motivated to breastfeed. every time someone is surprised or unexpectedly impressed with the fact that i’m still doing it, what i hear is “nobody expects you to still be doing it.” even my aunt, who breastfed for over a year with her children, had assumed i had stopped by now.

i broke a few “rules” of breastfeeding. we use a pacifier to …well, pacify her. we probably wouldn’t have ever started, but thanks to colic, it was pretty much a necessity to keep us sane and her free from unnecessary distress. we use it less often now, but still a few times a day. charlotte also gets fed from a bottle on average once a day or more. usually this comes in 2-3 bottles/day shifts while i’m at work, so she has days where almost half of her meals come from a bottle. add that to the pacifier usage, and even though she’s well past the age where nipple confusion is a risk, she’s getting a bit lazy when faced with the challenge of a breast instead of a bottle. it’s something we can work around/through, but it means breastfeeding is becoming more work instead of less.

and then there’s the cardinal rule of breastfeeding survival that we broke: we’re supplementing with formula. i cannot tell you how many times i’ve read/heard the warnings against the evil powder and how i should put any formula samples under lock and key so that i’m not tempted during a weak moment.

basically, i was faced with a choice. either i’m attached to a breastpump or a baby for a very large portion of some of my days, or we trade out a meal or two a day with formula. even if she was only drinking breastmilk, pumping messes with supply. it’s manageable, but it’s rough. if it was just an inconvenience for me, it would be one thing, but with all the drama about her size, the stress of making sure i was producing enough would be my undoing.

well, thanks to enfamil dropping a few sample cans of formula on our doorstep, the choice became even easier to make. by my calculations, we’ll run out of formula sometime in april…when she’s almost 6 months old and likely ready to start transitioning to solids anyway. to get her acclimated, we’ve started giving her about 2 meals a week (4oz each) with formula, and i’ve encouraged her babysitters to give her a formula “snack” if she eats through the breastmilk before we get home and she’s very hungry. it’s all been in prep for my full days at work, which start this week.

i still want to breastfeed as much as possible until she’s 6 months at least, but i know that the more we supplement, the more difficult it will be to keep supply going long term, and “going back to work” is another key period where it gets extra challenging. i’m also self-aware enough that i’m probably doing a bit of pre-sabotage to try and control when i stop breastfeeding instead of having it fade on me when i’m not prepared.

i suppose i just need to keep focused on why this was the best choice for our family, and remember that buying formula, bottle maintenance, and most importantly, losing that bond are things i don’t really want to do yet.

  • http://www.breastphotos.org/breast-feeding-photos/how-to-utilizing-a-breastfeeding-hide-can-preempt-trouble/ breast feeding photos

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  • http://www.breastphotos.org/breast-feeding-photos/how-to-utilizing-a-breastfeeding-hide-can-preempt-trouble/ breast feeding photos

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