Thursday, April 09, 2009

To nurse or not to nurse...that is the question.

Welcome to the latest edition of adventures in breastfeeding staring me and Hila! Yes, there are still adventures to be told. After a one month and then six weeks and then two months and then Pesach deadlines, I am still breastfeeding. Every day feels like it may be my last and then I wake up the next day (or in the middle of the night) feeling full of milk (relatively speaking), reenergized, and I can't imagine quitting.

We are still supplementing with formula, but with a lot less than the last time I wrote. Back then I was mainly giving her formula and supplementing with little sips of breastmilk here and there; now, while it's still mostly formula, it is much closer to 50/50. Before every bottle Hila nurses from both sides for about 10-30 minutes, depending on my milk supply and depending on Hila's mood. I make her, as Leah once suggested, "sing for her supper." After she nurses, she gets a bottle -- sometimes she takes a full bottle and sometimes she takes 1/2 or a 1/4 or even less. Now, in general I do not support the parenting tactic of rewarding food with more food (or rewarding anything with food), but I'll let that slide for now. I like to consider my breastfeeding as a hearty appetizer to her main course.

The good news? I did finally stop pumping (I just couldn't take it anymore) and I have not seen a drop in my milk supply. I used to dread the pump and sometimes it would truly ruin my day. I am much happier now. I also weened myself from the silicone nipple!

Sometimes it gets really frustrating. Hila is not the most patient of eaters. When she realizes she is hungry, I better be there for her, breast in mouth waiting. If I miss that small window of opportunity, then she will scream and scream, refuse to nurse, and not stop crying til she gets the bottle. I try and try and get really frustrated until I accept that it is just not meant to be during this feed.

I am trying to look at breastfeeding as something fun and enjoyable and extra. I am trying to chill out and not get upset when we have a bad session. Things have really turned around for the better and I am trying to focus on that. I have worked hard and am ready to sit back, relax, and enjoy feeding my baby -- whether by bottle or breast.

And who knows...maybe tomorrow will be my last day. I have a feeling it won't, but if it is, then I'll be okay with that too.


triLcat said...

thanks for the link - it's not that it's a reward, exactly.. The idea is that nursing is harder than bottle-eating. You want her to stay used to making the effort to get food.

Otherwise, she'll just reject the breast in favor of the easier bottle.

bat7mess said...

I think your technique and your attitude are both awesome. Sometimes once you stop stressing and are okay with stopping, that's when things seem to get easier and you can keep going. That was my experience too. And the second time around is SO MUCH EASIER (just something to keep in mind)!

Brie said...

amazing that you are sticking with it! remember that every bit of breastmilk she gets is great for her, so who cares that you have to supplement with formula? She is getting something and that's awesome! Have you tried expressing a tiny bit (with your fingers) before she nurses so she does not have to work so hard and she gets some instant gratification. I have had troubles nursing (like rehospitalization at 3 days old due to dehydration) with all 3 kids and stuck with it because I found it easier in the end, but I can totally relate with wanting to quit. It is so hard!

Sarah said...

Thank you all for your encouragement! And that's a good idea to finger express a bit -- or course the last thing I want to do is waste even a tiny precious drop, but maybe if i have hila waiting underneath to catch it...

triLcat said...

Another annoying tip - if she takes a feeding and is calm afterwards, don't give her a bottle - she'll nurse more frequently and it'll increase your supply more.

triLcat said...

one more thing - when you were pumping, how much were you getting in a session? I rarely get more than 50cc, yet many times, Ephraim seems satisfied after having both sides and no bottle.

Sarah said...

I know there are times when i can nurse and then not give a bottle, but I've become a little attached to the possibility of a schedule. I get all mixed up if I don't know that she'll be hungry 3-4 hours later. Like any time she cries I'll assume she's hungry so then I"m constantly trying to nurse her and she gets really annoyed about that. Maybe it's worth another shot though.

And about pumping, you're right. I'd pump out about 30 but I seem to be nursing closer to 60 or even more, since after I nurse she usually only takes a bottle of about 60 or so.


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