Thursday, September 12, 2013

Breastfeeding Expiration Date

A couple months ago I wrote about our decision to breastfeed and how much I have absolutely loved it.

I also told you that I was not planning to pump at work but was hoping to continue breastfeeding as often as possible for as long as possible.

Silly Vanderman with his tongue out

I have been at work for three weeks now and today was a very clear beginning of the end.

I have been relatively bumping my supply back up over the weekends, but with each week, it gotten to be less and less. Due to my work demands Vander only has time for one feeding in the morning and two feedings in the evening (plus one in the middle of the night if he gets up). I was able to breastfeed him for all of these feedings the first week back at work and was down to the morning and one evening feeding since then (plus any middle of the night feedings). The amount I was able to feed him each time decreased as well. Not very helpful when you have a growing boy who is eating more all the time.

Well today, after an already long and hard day at work, I had maybe a whole 3 ounces combined to feed him when I did eventually get home. This is after not feeding him for over twelve hours. This is compared to having around 7-8 ounces available in a feeding. As in, I am clearly losing this battle.

Yes his tongue really was out in all our pictures for like three days...

Then when I was changing into my pjs tonight, I realized that my boobs decided to give up, since they appear to be back to their pre-pregnancy size, or closer to that anyways.

I am devastated. This whole working mom thing is a hard enough "choice" to deal with, and then my body has decided to go and quit on me.

I know I "chose" to go back to work and I know I "chose" not to pump at work, but from my perspective those weren't really choices. We need the income so I have to work. My work really doesn't give me any flexibility to take time to pump so we went the formula route.

Rocking some tummy time in his Yellowstone PJs

My breastfeeding abilities shutting down is not a surprise to me at all, but it does make me feel like a terrible mother. I feel like I let myself down and it makes me question my decisions and priorities. I realize these are totally irrational feelings, especially considering my initial low expectations with breastfeeding. I feel like I have some sense of what new moms who are unable to breastfeed go through, at least in the sense of being frustrated with my body. Then I feel even more awful for having let my breastfeeding wane when I consider that so many moms would love to be able to breastfeed at all.

It just sucks. While Vander has no problems with the bottle these days, he still definitely prefers breastfeeding. I do plan to try to continue to breastfeed for the connection and the little supply that might remain, but that will still probably only be a couple more weeks since really you can cuddle pretty well with a bottle.

In the end, breastfeeding has been one of the best decisions I made as a parent. I definitely have some great skills and advice to use with our next babies!

Track suit for our gloomy weather


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