An Absolutely Brutal Week and the Decision to Stop Breastfeeding

I recently made the decision to transition from breastfeeding to formula feeding and I have to admit, it was not an easy decision to make. We have been all over the map in terms of feeding since the moment Ainsley was born.

At the hospital, I nursed during the days and she took a bottle in the nursery at night. When we got home, our pediatrician was concerned she had lost too much weight since birth and recommended we supplement nursing with formula. While recovering from delivery, I was living in a fog from lack of sleep and pain meds, so letting others feed while I napped was a gift. However, it did cause my milk supply to slow down and by the time family left town and I was on my own again, I had to make a quick decision about how I was going to feed – breast or bottle. When faced with the decision alone, without any outside influences in favor of or against either option, I made the decision to nurse exclusively. For the first time ever, I felt like my mom instinct kicked in and when we went back to the pediatrician a few weeks later, Ainsley had gained weight. Huge relief.

I had to work hard to get my milk supply back up. I hired a Lactation Consultant to come to my house, fondle me quite a bit, and get me back on track. I ate dozens of lactation cookies, drank Mother’s Milk tea, took supplements, the works. Finally, we were up-and-running again. Ainsley continued to thrive the next two months. We were smooth sailing.

When she hit her three-month birthday, we experienced a week like no other. Note to self: Do not get on this girl’s bad side because she will make life miserable for all who cross her path. Jake and I could not figure out what was wrong with her that week. She whined and cried and fussed all week long. It was torture for all three of us. We were terrified our happy-go-lucky girl was gone and had been replaced by a miserable little being whose sole desire was to suck the life out of everyone she came in contact with.

And then it hit us. This was a total Mom and Dad fail. We realized… she was crying after every meal (although to our credit she was also crying the rest of the day too)… she might be hungry. Or tired. Or both. The girl would not nap. She would fight it and fight it and fight it and being the novice parents that we are, we would succumb to her tears and hold her. All day.

But on top being sleepy, the girl was hungry. Her cries screamed, “Feed me!” Sadly though, I did not have enough milk to offer the poor love. So here we were again, back to supplementing, only this time my mommy instinct told me it was all good. Baby girl got happy once her tummy was satisfied. Everything shifted again. Our sweet, joyful, smiley girl was back.

Sweet, Happy Baby

Sweet, Happy Baby

As the feeding saga continued, and little A continued to grow, I stopped being able to keep up with her needs and my milk supply began to dwindle again. After a couple weeks I was pumping like 3 oz. a day. Not nearly enough for one meal let alone a day’s worth.

And that leads us to where we are today. As of the four-month mark, she is exclusively a formula-fed baby. I struggled with this transition. I wasn’t sure how hard I should push to keep the nursing going. I was also a little embarrassed to admit that I had officially gone to the other side (no offense to you formula feeding moms out there. Just keeping in real. These were my struggles).

That said, we just had her four-month checkup and the doctor said she was thriving. She is smiling, giggling, oohing and aahing. She actually seems happier than ever. She is finally napping and eats way more than anyone would ever expect considering her size. I can only imagine the girl has the kind of metabolism the rest of us only dream about.

She can't believe she is 4 months old either!

She can’t believe she is 4 months old either!

Plus, I know plenty of formula fed babies that like never, ever get sick. It is kind of crazy. Like never. And as my friend and I discussed just this week, we were formula fed babies and obviously we are perfect in every way.

So I wonder why I struggle with these feelings? I think part of it is just me. If I am not wrestling with one issue it’s another. I am one of those people that can never be happy just being happy. Part of it also is my tendency to compare myself with others. Are other moms stronger than me? Do they have superhuman milk-producing powers that I don’t have? Does not nursing make me a bad mom? I know the answers to all of the above are no, no and no. But I still question. I still wonder.

All that to say, the decision is made and the milk is no longer. I am back to enjoying wine, cheese and broccoli again. Okay, maybe not enjoying broccoli, but I am back to eating it again.

Pasta Salad with... drum roll... broccoli!

Pasta Salad with… drum roll… broccoli!

As moms we can only do our very best. We do have a mommy instinct that kicks in for even the least maternal among us (i.e. me). We can research and seek the opinions of others but ultimately we all have to make our own decisions. No judgment. No comparing. And that includes ourselves.

Current and future moms – Are you (or did you) breastfeed or formula feed? What was your thought process when you made your decision? Leave a comment… I would love to know your thoughts.

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