I have tried not to harp on too much about the breastfeeding saga at our house. Nevertheless our battles continue and take up such a large part of my energy, thoughts and emotional space it is hard not to mention it here. It would be untruthful to say that a minute goes by without me thinking about it. Mainly in a stressed out kind of way which, of course, is pretty counter-productive when you are struggling to keep up your milk supply.
Last post on this topic I think I had just begun a formula top up post breastfeed with the hope of this being temporary. Things improved for a while and overall the Pixie is much happier than she was when I was trying to feed her, express, then top her up with expressed milk.
She feeds overnight, usually three times (yep, I’m tired) with minimal fussing. Her day time feeds built *up* (yes, up) to three-four minutes in length with a lot of chiro sessions. To an outsider this sounds like nothing, but for us, three-four minutes of relatively fuss-free breastfeeding was like a miracle.
Six days ago, the Pixie decided she would not have a bar of either of my breasts during her waking hours, thank you very much. I offered her the breast at every feed for four days to have her scream, yell, arch her back and push me away with both hands. At one feed she made a half-hearted attempt at sucking for about 40 seconds. This is what Birdie did when she weaned herself – at 15 months of age… the Pixie is six months old now and my motherly instincts tell me that we are not ready for weaning just yet, thank you very much. You can see the battle of wills we have going here… I can only hope this does not continue into her teenage years, yikes.
I have been trying to separate my disappointment and sorrow at this breastfeeding relationship from what my baby needs now on a practical level. I have had to let go of my expectations and in particular I am trying ever so hard to stop reminiscing about breastfeeding Birdie – which was joyous and peaceful and lovely. Six months of breastfeeding dramas and I am still battling internally with this. I visited a friend and her newborn baby yesterday and felt tugs at my heart watching her feed him – wishing I could go back and try again, wondering if I did something wrong, questioning myself over and over again. I am ashamed to say I felt jealous and had to nip that in the bud.
A very sensible and lovely friend came over to check on me on Monday, when I was ready to throw in the towel with the whole thing, feeling like the stress of trying to breastfeed is causing nothing but heartache and distress to our entire family. She helped me formulate a plan, something that is so very hard to do when you are exhausted and fed up and can’t see beyond the next hour.
On Tuesday I headed out to the chemist and hired a hospital grade breast pump. I have let go of trying to feed her from the breast and yesterday began expressing at every feed and feeding her from a bottle. My supply has dropped so drastically I can’t get enough to cover all the feeds of the day so am still supplementing with formula.
I’m giving this one more go. I’ve set myself a time limit: four weeks. I’ll re-evaluate then.