my nursing {breast-feeding} experience

This post might be a little too much information for some of you.  If that’s the case, then stop reading.  Simple as that!

Once I reached 37 weeks pregnant (full-term), I was ready to get baby-B out of me.  I tried just about everything, including using my breast pump for 15 minutes on each side.  I read in various sources that nipple stimulation helps to naturally induce labor.  So I did this for 3 consecutive days. And Sadie was born the next day.  But that’s not what I’m writing about AND I’m not promoting using a breast-pump to induce labor.  But what it did help with was bringing my milk supply in early. Before I even went into labor, I had a tiny bit of milk pumped.  It was so exciting the first sight of milk… weird, but exciting.  I was such a breast feeding newbie, sounds funny now to be excited about a little bit of milk! Little did I know then how much I would grow to dread pumping.  But let’s not jump ahead of ourselves.  Back to the hospital…my milk supply had fully come in, and Sadie was latching on like a pro.  {Thanks to the help from the amazing lactation specialists at Wake Med} I felt so grateful and proud that nursing was working for us because I know how hard it is for some moms to get the initial latch, which is key to it all. Once Sadie was home, feeding became our special time.  I only nursed in her rocking chair in her nursery.  I enjoyed this bonding time, this time away from everyone else.  The first month seems like a blur, but I know that every 2-3 hours, day or night, we had our time together.  I know how much Sadie benefited health-wise by being breastfed that first month, but I benefited emotionally just as much. And then the 6 week mark hit, and Sadie went through some ridiculous growth spurt and was eating almost every hour and I just wanted a break.  A tiny little break.  So I had the not-so-bright idea of introducing formula for one feeding. Just for one feeding.  But little did this new nursing mom know – my supply would decrease if I replaced a feeding with formula.  And decrease it did. At first I had serious anxiety about not being able to exclusively feed my baby breast milk, so much anxiety that I went to the doctor about it.  She recommended that I take a medicine called Reglan, which increased my supply temporarily, but had to be stopped because of harmful side effects of long term usage of the medicine. So flash forward to now, at 17 weeks, and my supply has dwindled down to about 3 ounces a day.  Sadie eats about 8oz a feeding.  Every breastfeeding has to be supplemented with formula, there’s just no way around it at this point. Sadie has to be fed and I’m not making enough milk to supply all of her demand.  And then I have to pump after each feeding to even keep my supply up as little as it is. And it’s so depressing to pump for 15 minutes and only fill an ounce or two, something that I used to fill 5 ounces in no time. This routine is exhausting and stressful. But for some reason I can’t find it in me to fully stop.  Sadie would be fine, she has practically weaned herself off my breast.  I don’t think she would miss it. But her mommy, well that’s a different story.  I already miss our cherished special time together, and we still have it somewhat. But on the other hand, I’m done physically – I’m just exhausted from the cycle of breastfeeding and pumping. And I’m exhausted of feeling like a milking cow.  I’ve given Sadie what is known as liquid gold for 4 months, that’s 4 months longer than I was ever given it as a baby!  And I turned out okay, right?! I thought I would breastfeed for at least a year, but I’ve got to be okay with how long I DID nurse for. After all, nothing has quite gone as planned or expected in my world of motherhood. I should be proud of the 4 months, and not ashamed of ending sooner than planned. I need to tell myself, Congratulations Stacy, job well done! {but do I really feel that way?!}

Would love to hear back from anyone with your breastfeeding stories and your decision to stop breastfeeding