April 1, 2011
I’ve been blogging about this in an effort not to internalize my frustrations and sadness. I’m one of two things– an open book, or a closed diary with a lock and key. I don’t do well with an in-between stage. The latter of the two options would be really bad for me at this juncture, so I’m afraid open book it is!
I am trying everything to get my milk supply up, but I think that if anything, it’s just returned to normal. Normal, as in, the same place we were in for the past two month or so, as Gregory hasn’t been gaining weight. So I’m watching him carefully for any signs of hunger. If he acts hungry after a feeding, I feed him the 2-3 ounces I’ve stored from pumping in the middle of the night (yes, I’m waking up to pump, I’m that desperate to have enough to feed this child!).
Yesterday, I’d already used my stored milk. It was 3pm when he woke up from his second nap. He fed, both sides, and was definitely acting hungry. I put him down and went to pump, just in case there was still something left that he had missed. Nothing.
So I did it. I grabbed some formula that was sent to us in the mail for free. Similac something or other. I decided that I should just try it out as an experiment.
He GUZZLED DOWN all 4 ounces (and this was AFTER a feeding!) in less than 5 minutes. Afterwards, he kept sucking all the air out of the bottle, as though he could’ve kept going.
And OH MY. What a difference. Afternoons/early evenings are not a great time for G, fussies and all. But yesterday? He was happier than I’ve ever seen him, even in a morning! So contented, so happy, so interactive. I brought him to piano lessons with me, and instead of having the usual clinginess, he was content to play by himself, the entire time. He even did 30 minutes STRAIGHT of tummy time, no break, no fussies. Um, hello? Different much?
I’m not giving up, by any means. I’m still taking tons of Brewer’s Yeast, eating a lot of calories, drinking a beer in the evening. I’m pumping after each nursing session and in between to convince my body to make more. We shall see if it picks up and starts making more than before, because that’s what G needs. Until then, I will continue to supplement for him if the need arises. I’m not afraid of him liking the formula more than breastmilk and rejecting the latter, because so far, he’s eaten anything and everything that’s put in front of him, including, even breastmilk from Courtney the other day.
After getting all the facts out of the way, here’s the emotional aspect. Last night, I was just so so so sad. I couldn’t stop crying. We fed him another 4 oz. formula bottle after I fed him for the evening– same thing, guzzled it down within minutes, turned into “Magic Happy Baby” afterwards. Seriously, I wonder if they put a baby’s version of catnip in that stuff.
None of it is pride, yet hardly any of it is selfless love for G. I mean, it’s hard to think I’m doing the WRONG thing when he’s so insanely full and happy after a bottle of formula.
No, most of it is just selfish sadness. My baby is growing up. He’s half a year old. Part of this hasn’t hit me in a while because he’s so small. He hasn’t grown out of much. I can still pretend he’s only a few months old. Right, a 3 month old who can sit and crawl? Even though he obviously acts like a 6 month old, it hasn’t hit me.
But now, he’s eating other food and doesn’t rely on me as completely. Not only that, but he’s doing better with other food! That hits me worse than anything. It attacks the good memories I do have of breastfeeding him these last 6 months. I can’t say, “well, at least I got a good 6 months of antibodies in there!” without immediately thinking, “well, I actually starved him for 6 months”. These emotions don’t let me cherish the time we did have!
There is something so so bonding about breastfeeding, and that’s what I’m realizing I will lose soon–sooner than I had expected. It’s one thing to decide you want your life back and wean your baby, it’s another thing for your body to do it for you! I’m having a hard time forgiving my body for not making more milk. Sounds crazy, I know. It’s just hard to not be able to breastfeed when you want to, so badly.
Along the same lines, the moment I fed him formula, he smelled different. I never realized that the “baby G” smell I’ve grown so accustomed to is actually due, in large, to the breastfeeding. My milk has a certain scent that he has come to know, and vice versa. I’ve read studies that show a baby can pick his mother’s milk out of a variety of others, just by scent alone. Having him smell like some generic powder from the store just feels like one more slap in the face.
And then there’s this morning, where I tried to feed him what I’d pumped during the night. Instead, he pushed the bottle aside and tried to nurse. It broke my heart. He’s used to that usual comfort accompanying his meals. We ended up falling asleep in my bed, curled up together, trying to give him what he needed.
In an effort not to feel sad, I’ve been focusing over and over again on all of the blessings. We have a HEALTHY baby who wins hearts everywhere, he is just THAT cute. He takes 2-3 long naps a day and sleeps 6-8 hour stretches at night. He never spits up, never had colic or reflux. He’s not allergic to anything so far, not even things that I eat before I breastfeed. He is incredibly strong, hitting all of his physical milestones with ease (currently, he is ripping the toys off and out of his exersaucer– it took me quite a bit of strength just to do that!). We have dodged so many bullets with our firstborn, and I am so so grateful.
In reality, I would die for this kid. I suppose that dying to myself and my selfish sadness isn’t that big of a deal, in comparison.