Y’all: breastfeeding is hard.
A lot harder than I anticipated. I have one little boy – who is now almost 3. We set out to breastfeed exclusively for 12 months, per doctors recommendations and our own beliefs.
We ended up supplementing with formula when he was about 10 months old, and I should’ve started supplementing earlier.
You see, formula saved our breastfeeding relationship, and I ended up weaning my son completely when he was about 16 months old. It was a sad day for me: but we also made it farther than I ever thought we would. Because of the formula, I was able to breastfeed with significantly less stress for 6 months, rather than quitting completely when my supply started to taper off before he was a year old.
We got off to a rocky start, and I kept saying: I want to make it 6 days. Then 6 weeks. Then 6 months. We dealt with curveballs the whole time: first, he would scream at my nipples instead of nursing, even though I knew he was hungry. Overactive and forceful letdown. Awesome: I didn’t know that was a thing, and also, it’s a terrible name!
Nipple biting. That’s about as fun as it sounds. But we pushed through.
Fussy eaters: too distracted. Made it work – I nursed in darkened rooms and away from distractions.
Supply issues: I pumped more, power-pumped, took supplements and drank my weight in Mother’s Milk Tea, and then finally stopped beating myself up and bought some formula.
And it was like a light turned on at the end of a very dark tunnel. My baby could nurse for some calories and for comfort: but if I didn’t pump enough to get him through the next day without me, he had a high-quality formula to fall back on and I could offer whatever I did pump to supplement. I kept some pumped milk on reserve in the freezer – he got a cold and I felt like super-mama to be able to break out some extra breastmilk to help him through it. But: I didn’t have to stress myself out being his primary source of calories anymore.
Breastfeeding can be hard. Feeding babies is work.
All this to say: if you want to breastfeed, and need help, or just someone to vent to: we’re here for you. We sell some great nursing bras and tanks, and have a load of resources to chat with you about if you need them. If formula is the right choice for your family, we’re here to cheer for you too, because only you know what is best for you and your baby, and your needs are so important during this time too.
We’re here for you, and we’re all in this together.
Happy World Breastfeeding Week – and a huge HUGE thank you to Lou Lamb of Breastfeeding Blues and Bliss, Bend Yoga’s Breastfeeding Support Group, the L&D nurses at Martha Jefferson Hospital, and KellyMom.com – resources that literally saved my breastfeeding relationship, and helped me feel successful and supported.