I’m pretty sure my boobs are just over it. They are going on strike. In the battle of me v. the diminishing milk supply I am losing. It all started when Houston was about six months old and decided that if the milk was not spraying him in the face IMMEDIATELY, he was not going to stand for it. This from a child who was getting so much milk in the first few weeks that he was practically choking on it and had milk boogers every day.
I guess he was going through a growth spurt and needed more milk faster, but he was unwilling to work with me. Madeline and I went through a similar struggle, but she was more patient. Despite obviously being frustrated at the flow, she was able to stick with it and keep sucking.
Houston was not so patient. Feeding would go like this: baby seems hungry, so I offer the boob. He starts to suck. Nothing happens or it doesn’t happen fast enough. He pulls away and SCREAMS. And that’s it. He might have tried one more time before just screaming. He has a blood curdling scream and anyone who has heard can back me up: it is no picnic to listen to him. You want to do anything to make it stop. So, I committed the cardinal sin of breasfeeding and gave him formula. Thanks to Similac and Gerber and Enfamil I had about four containers of formula samples and $100 in coupons, so this was a little too easy. He sucked that bottle down in about 2.5 seconds. So began our routine of about one bottle per 24 hour period. I tried to be good and pump whenever I replaced nursing with a bottle because I was determined to get back to exclusively breastfeeding. This was easier said than done.
I started pumping for long periods a couple times a day, but things were not getting better. I started drinking more water and eating a little more. I started drinking dark beer because supposedly that can increase production. I started taking the herb Fenugreek and that seemed to help. It makes your sweat smell like maple syrup, which is very pleasant and I could be caught sniffing my arm pits throughout the day.
It was just after I started the Fenugreek that Houston decided he didn’t really want the boob at all anymore. I thought that maybe he didn’t like the taste of maple syrup, but when he refused to nurse and I immediately pumped and fed him the bottle, he took it without any issues. He clearly preferred the bottle, probably because of the instant gratification and how it didn’t require him to do anything to get the milk to start flowing. I can’t decide if this kid is just lazy or ridiculously impatient. So I started pumping everyday and just giving him breast milk in bottles, plus some formula, plus some solids. It seemed like I was getting ahead of the game last Friday when I woke up and felt engorged. I had an extra bottle of milk from the night before because he only woke up once to eat and I was so excited because it looked like I might be able to stop the formula soon.
Unfortunately it looks like the milk makers were just having one last hurrah before giving up. The next day my production was way down and it’s starting to look like I might not be able to get it back. Sad. I’m still pumping what I can, so we’ll see.
I’m such an advocate for breastfeeding that it feels horrible to not be able to do it as long as I want. It’s not like I haven’t tried almost everything, but it still sucks. I bought a big container of formula a couple weeks ago and I felt like I was giving in. I’m embarrassed to admit that I was even a little embarrassed buying it. I know this is something I need to just get over. It’s not like I’m hurting him by giving him formula.
So now I am a dark beer drinking, maple syrup smelling, breast pumping, formula buying, bottle cleaning Mom. If there’s something I haven’t tried, feel free to suggest it. I’m open to almost anything.