Saturday, September 12, 2009

Got milk?

Let's talk about breastfeeding.

Seems like an ongoing theme from new mothers is how surprised they were that breastfeeding was so difficult. Now, I didn't have a hugely difficult time with breastfeeding. Yeah, I had some cracked nipples and minor latching issues, but really Nate was pretty good about it. But then the pediatrician said he wasn't gaining enough. (I think she overreacted, but whatever). So I freaked out. I felt like I wasn't good enough and I cried and cried because he wasn't eating enough and wasn't getting enough food (when probably he just pooped right before she weighed him). So we supplemented a little with formula. And then he was fine. And then we stopped supplementing with formula. And he was fine. And occasionally he'd get some formula and I was fine with it. The whole ordeal made me realize that there is so much pressure put on mothers these days to breastfeed. But there is nothing wrong with formula. Some women choose not to breastfeed, and that's fine! La Leche League is a little militant sometimes.

I think I gave poor Jen a hard time a bit as I came to terms. Now Nate gets most of his "milk" each day from formula. I think (I hope) I'll be much more easy going with the next one. There's definitely a period when the milk supply is ramping up and figuring out what is needed, but once breastfeeding is established, a bottle of formula here or there isn't going to ruin it. (At least not for me, there are women who do have supply issues, but I was not one, so I'm just speaking from personal experience).

My mom nursed me until 13 months and my brother until 10 or 11, so 13 has kind of been my goal. I decided that I should make myself smaller goals after I started back at work and realized that pumping was a pain in the butt. So my first goal was to pump and nurse until 6 months. Did it, okay. Then my next goal was to continue pumping the same number of times he had a bottle during the day while I was at work (twice) until after our summer vacation and then go down to 1. He was 9 months old at that point. Coincidentally, at the same time I decided to go down to 1 pumping a day, Nate went down to one feeding during the day. Cool. Next goal, 11 months until I stopped pumping at all during the day at work, so that I was just nursing morning and night. Coincidentally, Nate sometimes skips his daytime bottle and has more at the other feedings. So, now I'm just playing it by ear.

I do love the breastfeeding as a snuggly part of my day. Since I work during the week, I don't get a lot of alone time with him, so the nursing is some nice mom and Nate time. But. I think I'm ready to stop. I'm letting it happen at its own pace.


  1. Everything is going much smoother for me this time around, and I am WAY less stressed and worried about it. I'll admit, I did have Eva weighed every week for two months, but it gave me piece of mind.

    Oh, and I totally cried and felt like a failure when breastfeeding didn't work out wuth Max.

  2. Yeah, I definitely think sometimes doctors and nurses overreact about the weight of the baby. We had a visiting nurse come to our house a few days after Luke was born and when she weighed him she totally freaked and had us rush to the store to buy some formula and make an emergency appointment with the pediatrician. When he was weighed at the pediatrician's office the weight was significantly different from the weight registered by the visiting nurse. The pediatrician had her assistant re-calibrate the scale and we got yet another weight which was actually the correct weight! It turned out that Luke was perfectly fine and there was nothing to panic about. I wish I had known at the time how silly this all was but I too felt like a total failure. Next time I'll know better!