Monday, October 10, 2011

tough decisions

Well it may not seem tough to some people, but it was tough for me! If you don't want to read about why I stopped breastfeeding, you might want to skip this post...

When Levi was born I knew that I wanted to breastfeed, but I didn't realize how hard it would be. We had a tough first couple of weeks. Levi had a tongue-tie when he was born, so he didn't have the greatest latch right off the bat, and my nips got really sore and cracked even though I was using lanolin. That, along with worrying too much about things that I realize now were not such a big deal, made for quite a few tears on my part. It didn't help that we went through two rounds of meds for thrush. NOT fun. I thought about quitting a lot, but there was always something telling me to keep going. Like I knew I would regret it if I did. So we went week by week, and eventually it did get easier. Levi got his tongue clipped, so he was able to latch on better, and I got more comfortable with everything. I actually really enjoyed it. I loved having that bond and feeling so close to him.

Levi never really had a problem taking the bottle, so when he went to daycare at six weeks when I went back to work part time, it didn't bother him. I pumped and froze the breastmilk, which wasn't a lot of fun, but it's what I had to do. So from about 2 months until recently, it was pretty smooth sailing.

When Levi was about five months is when things started to get upset. My supply dropped a bit when I was pumping, so we decided to mix a little bit of formula with the breastmilk to make it go further. It didn't seem to bother him. Right about that time, we switched him up to a medium-flow nipple on the bottle. He seemed fine with that, too. All was mostly normal for about a week, then he decided that he didn't want to take the bottle anymore. He would go all day at daycare and only drink 3-4 oz, then when we got home, he was so hungry he'd just pull at me until we sat down to nurse. Up until then, I had been giving him a bottle at night on days I worked, since when I pumped I didn't feel like I had enough for him when I got home. That was working well until he didn't want to take it anymore. And when he wasn't eating during the day very well, he would wake up every few hours and want to eat at night to make up for it.

We tried different bottles, with different nipples, straight breastmilk without the formula...nothing seemed to make a difference. Then one day Michele (daycare mom) tried straight formula, just to see if he would take it because she knew he had to be getting hungry. He drank 4 oz right away. So she called me at work to make sure that was ok to give him straight formula, and I told her to go for it as long as he was eating something. So we figure he associated the breastmilk to me, and he didn't want to take it in a bottle. I was actually sort of happy, because I thought I could stop pumping, and still nurse in the mornings and at night. Not so much. Levi didn't want to take a bottle from me whatsoever. Which means I would have had to pump at work to keep  my supply up in order to nurse him at home, but if he wouldn't take it in a bottle at daycare it would be going to waste. There was really no simple solution.

So after lots of talking with Paul, my mom, and Paul's mom, I just decided to stop. My goal was 6 months, and I almost made that, even though I probably would have gone awhile longer if it worked out. I never thought it would be so hard to stop. I know he will grow and be healthy on formula as well, but it's the closeness and cuddle time that I will miss the most. It was the hardest thing ever to have to try and get him the bottle when all he wanted to do was nurse, and that's really all I wanted to do to. I still wonder if I did the right thing, or if I should have tried harder to figure something else out. Everyone told me it would be the best for him in the long run to just have one option. No turning back now, I just have to trust that I made the right decision. He seems to be adjusting fine after the first couple days, so that helps too.

Sorry this got super long. I just felt like I wanted to write (or type) it down somewhere so I remember how I felt at the time. Hopefully I didn't forget too much.

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