This will probably be very wordy. And, of course, about a subject that can be very personal and intimate, and definitely not the same for every mother. I truly believe that as a mom, you know what is best for your family, so each person’s journey should be their own!
I had to be induced when I was two weeks overdue to have the kiddo, he was born a perfect 8 lbs and 12 oz baby. He had a great latch right from the start, although like most newborns, he was a very lazy eater. After being discharged from the hospital (a whopping 1 1/2 days) we went home, I did what all new moms do, nurse, burp, sleep on repeat. At about day three, I was starting to notice he was getting like dry scaly skin around his mouth, he did seem a bit lethargic, luckily we get a home visit by a nurse practitioner at this time to double check on how things are going – and she had confirmed my suspicions – the kiddo was getting very dehydrated as my milk had yet to come in. We got the run around a bit going to hospital A and waiting for the on call doc to come when all we needed was some pedialyte or formula! This scenario in itself could have been prevented; but as a new mom I was naive that I would need even just a can of formula as a just in case at this time. I also didn’t like this experience as being a farmer’s wife in seeding season meant I had to go to the hospital alone until my mother in law showed up. I cannot tell you how much judgement I got from that staff, one of the nurses even asked me if this child was planned! All because I was alone three days post partum. I told her, yes, right down to the conception day. I was a little irate – that nurse didn’t release her scrutiny until my mother in law showed up as she works there… not amusing. Anyways, that is when and where my milk did show up and the doctor in front of the nurse said “This lady appears to be of sound thinking (or something like that)” and I was secretly thinking thank you…
Alright little side trip there! Things you forget! Soon after we got home, I had a great supply, and I had found as well that I had a very forceful let down, I mean the streams would be pouring out of me and shooting across the room (maybe not that far – but still) so i ended up feeding him one side at a time. He fed well and grew great. He was a very colicky baby due to a lot of gas – I did take things out of my diet that really brought on his gas spells so the one sided feedings helped there as well.
I had to go back to work at 6 weeks. I own my own business so I don’t qualify for the typical mat leave here in Canada, if I don’t work, I don’t make money. Those first two weeks back were very hard, emotionally, physically, you name it. I pumped three times during the day – great supply there no problems, but towards the end of the first week, I noticed kiddo not really wanting to latch on to me, I didn’t think too much of it in my super tired state, we had the weekend and then went back to work on Monday. This is where things got even worse, pumping still went a-ok, but the kiddo liked the faster flow (even though we were on the slowest of slow nipples) of the bottles, I believe it was Tuesday and Wednesday coming home and doing the first feeding that night and he was wailing soooo much that I grabbed a bottle and it immediately calmed him. I cried big buckets of tears as I wanted to keep this connection – I was already losing so much by having to go back to work and missing him – that I still wanted nursing to be included. By Thursday, I had made a realization that if we had to go onto formula, that would be okay, it would make it easier for all, I wouldn’t have to rush home at lunch or after work to make sure I didn’t have to pump one more time. I was alright with whatever would happen. That weekend we had a 5 day weekend spent at our lake, so I was able to spend so much time with the kiddo, we did bring along some formula and bottles in case. Even on the ride up to the lake, I was talking with hubby how I may have to stop because of how the kiddo was responding **bad husband alert** he was very not very supportive at all, he wanted me to continue breast feeding as long as I could, yes breast is best if your household follows that, but under the circumstances it may not have been. So now not only was I apprehensive about the whole work situation now I was more anxious about what the hubby was wanting.
Luckily, the work schedule allowed me to work only three days a week which allowed me to have more real nursing time with the kiddo. This, I truly believe, allowed us to get over the kinks in week 6 & 7 and have a great nursing relationship. He no longer wanted the bottle instead of me. At this point, I had said that I would take my nursing relationship month by month.
Sept/Oct/Nov/Dec all uneventful
When I got back to work after Christmas holidays, when I pumped I had noticed my supply was like a half of what it was prior to the holidays. This was probably hormonally related as the body shifts from a hormone driven supply to a more supply and demand supply. I was initially pumping three times but decreased this to two times – I got the same result with less pumps, and did start to supplement with Formula as needed – they were mainly a mix of breast milk and formula. I just couldn’t keep up during the day because the output was so low, but that was just fine.
We were going to be headed to Mexico for a friend’s wedding and so I wanted to keep my supply up for that so we wouldn’t have to bring as much formula with us. *Which was awesome for airport security as you can bring bottled water through security if “used for your baby” little did they know we had brought the already mixed type…* When we came back, at work I dropped down to one pump a day – anyone who pumps knows how much you start to hate the thing. And especially when you get like 3 oz total out of both sides when you used to get like 6 each I didn’t see a big point.
April – unremarkable
I stopped pumping at work, I had a little over a month to go to make it to a year, so I figured why not, the output was peanuts and I amazingly was keeping a good supply on the weekends with the kiddo (we didn’t need to supplement) so it worked very well. I think our co-sleeping had something to do with this though and it was like the reverse to most kids… but oh well.
June, July, August, Sept, Oct – unremarkable
Guess it was October where I was visiting with a friend and she had already weaned her 1 year old, I was so jealous I wanted to be free, call my body my own once again – maybe see if these fat pads would disappear! So in November I really started trying hard to wean him, which I knew would happen as soon as we started night weaning.
So, down to two sessions a day, probably one by the end of the week, and I will have made it to 18 months. That is such a crazy thought.