Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The rollercoaster

Sigh. Still we go up & down on the rollercoaster of breastfeeding & supplementing. I thought we had it down pat with two bottles a day in the evenings. Sprout gained 11 ounces in two weeks. Then the next two week period he only gained five. This means he gained a pound in a month, which is on track, but I worry that he might not gain enough this week or next. Maybe the fact that I've gone back to school & am away from him for 5 hours twice a week is negatively impacting my milk supply?

Today we got down to Ravensong Community Health Centre's Infant Drop-in & weighed Sprout. He's gained a little over four ounces in the past week. At his age, he should be gaining about a pound a month, so that is just about perfect. Whew! The rollercoaster goes back up...

Pretty much every day I consider giving up & just feeding him formula. It would be a lot easier when I go to school. He'd probably eat a lot less frequently too, which would mean longer blocks of time to do things without having to worry about finding a good place to sit & feed him. I would be able to be away from him for long stretches, making it much easier to schedule 'me time'. I wouldn't have to always be the one to feed him--anybody could do it.

But I wouldn't be the only one who can feed him... he wouldn't need me in the way that he does now. I wouldn't have the magical power of the boob to soothe him, to lull him to sleep. I would give up the intensely physical symbiosis, no longer feeling the quick suckling trigger my letdown & hearing him start to gulp as I feel the electric sensation of my milk flowing faster.

When he's breastfeeding his behaviour is slightly different from bottle feeding. He pops off & gives me the hugest smiles, or starts to 'talk' to me briefly, then turns back & nurses a little more. He makes funny little nasal nom nom nom noises & he pats the top of my breast with his upper hand, grabs a handful of my scarf or shirt or puts his fingers to my mouth. When he's drinking from a bottle he'll crane his neck around a bit, but it's a tug of war to get that nipple out of his mouth. He's not going to stop & chat for a minute, he's just drinking it straight down.

A few months ago (but man, does it feel like years!) I was just trying to get through each feeding, then each day, then each week. I started thinking, "I'll just try to keep this up until he's three months old & reevaluate then." We got to three months & things were getting easier, so I set six months as my next milestone. Now that we're just a couple of weeks away from six months, I don't think I'm going to wean him just yet. My next milestone: I want to see if I can possibly stop the formula supplementation once we've gotten him eating well & actually taking in a good amount of calories from solids.

1 comment:

  1. I was taking it day by day, week by week, month by month pumping and feeding as I was ready to stop as I was so done with it. It was taking all of my time; I could not go far as I needed to do it every three hours; and many times during my period I would have half a meal surplus. When he was sleeping longer at night I would get up to pump three times to keep up my supply. I was chronically sleep deprived for almost fifteen months.

    The point is that I was looking forward to the solid food phase so I could stop and be done with pumping as I hated it. I wanted him to be nourished enough that I would not feel guilty by getting my life back. But as he started solids at eight and a half months he also got a lot more active. He started different foods slowly because of reflux and potential allergies so the calories from solids did not replace those from milk. At one time in his life he was drinking and eating a total of nine times a day. These feedings were scheduled and not random. He was still drinking a litre of milk a day.

    So I think as he gets more active and begins to need more the requirement for milk may not drop as dramatically as you hope. And that is where six months turned into a year. Then fourteen and a half months later after it all began I was free at last.

    But I do not regret it as I know that I did all that I could and was not willing to give up easily. And easy it was not. So I look back on it as something that I would never want to do again but happy that I did for the benefit of my big, and really healthy boy.


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