October 30, 2008 at 9:59 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 16 Comments

Despite the fact this term makes me giggle like a 5th grader… there’s nothing funny about boobies these days.

One of the things I really truly CARED about when I was pregnant, other than bringing home a live baby, was this. I really, really REALLY wanted to breastfeed Baby O.

And by some stroke of fortune, I had both the supply and ability to feed my son. And so I’ve done for more than 7 months. Exclusively. Baby O’s had formula, but not a significant amount.

Six weeks ago, when I started my job, I saw my first real dip in my supply. It was manageable, though, with enough water and oatmeal. And I added fenugreek tablets three times daily. And I added a dreamfeed each night, in the hopes that nursing Baby O would help my supply more than pumping.

And it was working.

Enter this week. Baby O was home on Monday morning with another ear infection. And when I got to work… it was crazy. Like “I don’t have time to pee” crazy. I did manage to pump that day. But I missed a session on Tuesday. And my Wednesday morning session was late. Et cetera. The auditors are here. I’m writing our quarterly SEC filing document. Updating it when we post an adjustment (which has been daily this week). Garnering and then inputting comments.

I haven’t had time to focus on drinking water. I haven’t pumped regularly. A couple of mornings, I’ve looked up and it’s 1pm, and I haven’t even managed to pee or eat.

And today? I pumped about 1/3 of what I need to pump in order to refill the daily use of my stash. In total.

In two pumping sessions.

And when I left that pumping room, I felt so strongly the bitter taste of failure. You know what I’m talking about – the one where you think, “Yep. My body is failing me yet again.”

And it’s funny. Because when I thought about breastfeeding Baby O, I really thought that just the first few weeks were going to be tough. And when I got him to latch fine and trusted I had enough supply to feed him whenever he asked, I thought we’d be golden. That I would reap the benefits of BFing. Enjoy the closeness. Never worry again.

And that has not been my experience. At all.

See, breastfeeding is WORK. It’s hard work. First there’s the latching. And the feeding every hour, every half hour, etc. And then, when you get that under control, there’s the gas. And then, later on, the distractibility – where your baby pulls off your nip.ple without unlatching first. (Trust me when I say OUCH.) And then there’s the pulling of the hair. And then there’s the maintenance of the supply.

And there are some days, like today, when I’m just tired. I know that, if I focus on it, I could probably bump up my supply again. Because right now, my body’s slowing down production, because it KNOWS Baby O isn’t eating all day every day. If I got domperidone, it might help. If I add pumping sessions, it might help. If I increase my intake of water, it might help. More oatmeal. More fenugreek.  

But honestly? Days like today make me really honestly consider quitting. Because I’m TIRED. And I personally was a formula fed baby, and my immune system is better than J’s, who was breastfed. And at the end of the day, Baby O was exclusively breastfed for seven months. Which is a significant amount of time.

So why don’t I just quit?

That moment.

The one where I tiptoe into his room at 10pm, when he’s sleeping deeply, the classical channel playing some violin sonata or piano concerto. Where I pick him up and feel the slack weight of him on my shoulder, where he raises his head, his eyes screwed shut. Where I lay him down on the pillow, and he waits as I unsnap my bra. Where he latches and drinks deeply, his hand touching his ear, his eyes closed. Where, listening to the music, breathing in the scent of my baby, I feel the stress of the day melt away. And it’s just him and me. And my love for him floods through me and carries my soul along, floating on the top like a slip of tissue paper.

I can’t lose that moment. Because with every day, my baby is turning into a little boy. A sweet, kind, loving, caring little boy. But a little boy. He’s growing AWAY from me. Turning into his own person.

And right now, I can give him something he needs. If I walk away from that, just because it’s HARD… I’ll never forgive myself.

So. More pumping it is. And drinking water. And adding more fenugreek. And if I need domperidone, so be it. 

I think this means I’m really a mom now.



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  1. Well, that’s exactly it – the specialness of what you can give that no one else can. Even though BFing was always a bit of a disaster area for us, I don’t regret the work I put in at all.

  2. There is nothing like that special time when the baby is nursing, and you can just stare at them and drink them in. I think breastfeeding is so therapeutic for both mother and baby.

    I never had to pump as I am a SAHM(although I pumped a couple times when we left baby with grandparents on when we went out on a date) so I really admire moms that keep pumping when they go back to work. I don’t blame you for wanting to keep pumping so that you can get those breastfeedings in!! But soon Baby O will be only nursing a couple times a day and you won’t need to pump to keep the supply up because your body will know it only needs a certain amount for morning and night feeds only. So if you’re able to keep it up that long it should get “easier” hopefully.

    You’re doing great!!

  3. You’re doing a great job! It was a lot of hard work, but I regret NONE of the sacrifices I made for 14 months. And even though I know exactly what I’ll be getting myself into for mythical child #2, I plan to give it as much time and focus as I did the first time around. Because I know how much it’s worth it.


  4. Don’t be too disheartened! And don’t think that just because you don’t pump during the day you can’t have nursing sessions at night! Maybe you can get in touch with some local nursing people (La Leche League would be great — I know you probably can’t go to any daytime meetings, but you can check for evening ones, or at least call the leader for moral support). I know many a woman who has cut back on nursing during the day — especially at this stage of their baby’s life, when the baby is getting table food and doesn’t need as much breastmilk. Yet all of these women that cut down or cut out day-time feedings still had plenty of milk for those delicious night-time nursings. Even if you have to go to formula during the day, you can still nurse your baby at night.

  5. I don’t pump anymore (thinking of returning my rental pump next week), but still breast feed her during the evening/night time. On the weekends I will feed her the first thing in the morning. This has been the norm for about 2 months, and my supply is still there. Your body will adjust, so don’t worry. 7 months is a good long time, btw!

    You eloquently put down my feelings about this time. It is a wistful time…the first time you can actually feel them becoming an individual.

    Have a good weekend!

  6. This ties in nicely to your “balancing” post. Hard to put pens down and put the pumping in. Hard to shuffle the priorities so they’re in the order than suits everyone. Good luck with the pumping – it sounds like you’re far from ready to give up at the moment!


  7. I was going to say the same thing as Kathy. You can stop pumping during the day and still breastfeed every night. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.

  8. I think you are doing a fantastic job at breastfeeding and I really commend you. You’ve done 7 months and that should account for something. I would think you could still do the night time feedings even if you aren’t pumping because I’ve know many women that formula while at work and nursing while at home.

    I really have no words of wisdom because my son’s sucking reflex wasn’t developed and I dried up after only 8 weeks-even with mother’s milk tea, fenugreek and eventually reglan. I still feel really sad sometimes that my body failed me and I couldn’t ever develop that bond through breastfeeding. Hopefully, I’ll get those moments if there is ever a #2.

    I know it is hard, but please don’t be hard on yourself over this because you did a super job this far!!

  9. I try to assuage my guilt in not getting enough pumped in the day with the “but at least I did it this long,” which was longer than XBoy, and yes, formula babies turn out just as well.

    But, yeah, those quiet moments? The little rolls in their wrists and thighs contributed mainly to YOU? It’s incentive, and a habit, and both are hard to walk away from.

  10. Serenity, I cried when I read your post. Not so much because I felt sad for you, but because I identify so much with exactly what you were able to eloquently put into words. Yes, my 9 month old feels like he is growing up so fast also. Some days I wonder if I have picked up the wrong baby when I get him from the babysitters because surely my boy can’t be that big. I too am breastfeeding him, and it is such a struggle most days to find time to pump. I am in sales, and with this economy I sometimes struggle with making time for customers, or making time to pump for my son. It is a bond that I feel blessed to have with him, as it’s just not feasible for some women. I think the important thing for me at least is to try to not beat myself up as much as possible, enjoy the time while we’ve got it, and nurse him as much as possible on the weekends to help my supply. I just want you to know that you are not alone with this struggle. It helps me to know I’m not alone and I appreciate your candor so much.

  11. Sigh.

    THAT is something I so wanted to be able to do.

    I hope your supply improves.


  12. I am so with you on this. I saw a bit of a dip this week as well with returning to work (since Lemy is constantly on the boob when I’m home) and I was so depressed. I’m still not sure what’s going on, but I keep telling myself if I can make it to 6 months then that will be ok. But I’m not really sure if that’s true. Because as much work as it is to breastfeed, there is so much more joy in the experience. And its hard to imagine giving that up.

    I hope your supply kicks up again. ((HUGS))

  13. What a beautiful description of a nighttime nursing. Just beautiful!

    Breastfeeding is hard in every way. I’m going through much of the same issues right now — so busy that I’m neglecting pumping and water intake — and my supply is dipping.

    You are doing a great job. Baby O is insanely lucky!

  14. S- you’ve got it right when you say that breast feeding is work. Man, is it EVER. Although I also exclusively breastfeed, pre-baby I never could have (nor was anyone honest enough to tell me, thus perpetuating the “easy” myth) imagined that it was so hard and so frought with worry and issues.

    Even though I am not out of the house for work, I have seen a drop in supply since introducing solids. It really comes and goes. It’s tough to see that a replacement may be in order sometime in the future (though who knows how soon…)

    You have done a wonderful job nursing Baby O. It is not failure if you need to alter the routine. It’s just, well…, change. We change, the babies change, life changes. And we need to constantly adapt.

    I know you will figure out a routine that works for you both, but it’s true what the other women have said- it doesn’t have to be all or nothing…

    Thank you for sharing with us. And thank you for your beautiful image of nightime feeding. Just, wow.

  15. Long-time reader, first-time commenter. I just wanted to reiterate what everyone else said … you could quit breastfeeding TOMORROW and have nothing to feel guilty about! You have done something really special for your son and given him the best start you possibly could have. I nursed my daughter (she’s just a couple weeks younger than Baby O) for 5 months. Personally, I despised the pump and quit doing it after about 2 months. I would nurse my daughter most of the time, but when she needed a bottle it was formula. I have never allowed myself to feel bad about that. My daughter got breastmilk, but I wasn’t going to make myself miserable in order to ensure that every drop she received was breastmilk. It just seemed unnecessary. Happy mama=happy baby, right? And for what it’s worth, I feel just as close with my daughter when feeding her a bottle as I ever did when nursing her.

  16. Очень было интересно читать, спасибо!

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