This has the potential to be a long post. I’ll try to be brief.
I breastfed Riley for 11 months of his life. However, we had to start supplementing with formula when he was only a few days old because he was jaundiced. So for his whole babyhood, there was not a lot of pressure on me to provide for him. And honestly, looking back on it almost four years later, I don’t remember ever feeling the pressure of being the only one to feed him, having to constantly keep track of the time so I knew when I’d have to feed him or pump. Not to mention watching what I eat and drink to make sure it’s breast milk- friendly.
So I just assumed when Charlotte was born that my body wouldn’t produce enough to sustain her. Surprise, surprise, it does!
I’m very proud to say that for the first six months of her life, my little girl ate nothing but breast milk. Crazy, right? She has now started eating baby food and cereal which she seems to love and she still drinks her milk like a champ. She’s never had a drop of formula. Seriously, that blows my mind and I’m insanely proud of this fact. And no diss to any formula-feeding moms. I know formula isn’t poison, I just knew I wanted her to be breastfed and I’m so, so thankful that it has worked so well. I know not everyone is so lucky.
Not that it’s been easy. Man, was it painful in the beginning. To the point that I was really freaking people out even in the hosptial. Every time that little barracuda would latch on I would gasp like ….well like my nipple was getting ripped off. Even the nurse at the hospital would wince, “Ooh, that sounds so painful,” she said. And it would give Derek the heebie jeebies, too.
After at LEAST three weeks, it started to get a little better. I’m not even kidding. It was super painful for the first three weeks of her life. I used lanolin cream and ice packs, but really, I just had to suck it up. I would dread her next feeding. The clock would start creeping closer to the time that she needed to eat and I’d whine that I didn’t want to do it.
But I stuck with it and it got easier. I figured we were over the hump.
But then a few months later, my nips would really burn after she fed. Hello, thrush! I’m so thankful that Charlotte never showed any signs of thrush, but man, feeling like your nipples are on fire is not a fun way to go through the day. I tried to ignore it so I went on like that for two weeks before I called the doctor. Hello! Not my finest moment. She called in some miracle cream and I still use it sporadically if I feel a little burny.
But here’s what’s been happening recently – blood. From my nipples. (I’m sorry to any males who are reading this. Really, you should just stop).
I have no idea why it keeps happening, but it’s been happening on and off for months. I think the thrush may have something to do with it, or she feeds for a while without having latched on right. I don’t know. All I know is there’s nothing more terrifying than seeing your baby spit up blood. And then realizing it’s your blood. Not cool.
And then it all came to a head last week when I realized I was bleeding on one side, only to switch her over to the other side and see that that side was bleeding too! UGH.
I asked Derek what he would do if he were in my position. He replied: “If I was doing something that was making blood come out of my nipples, I would stop immediately.”
My husband is awesome. And in this case, he’s right.
Listen, I have a huge stockpile of milk in the freezer. See?
So starting this weekend, I dropped one feeding of Charlotte and now give her a bottle of breastmilk instead. In a week or two, I’ll drop another feeding. When my freezer stash is gone, we will start giving her formula. My goal is to still be able to breastfeed her before bed and in the morning until she’s one year old. I hope that happens. I really do.
Am I sad that I may not be breastfeeding my baby much longer? Honestly, a little bit. I have never really looked at breastfeeding as a beautiful bonding moment between me and my babies. I look at it as the healthiest food option for them and something that a mom should do. There are times that I’ve enjoyed it, but there are many other aspects of it that I have not enjoyed.
Like pumping at work. Annoying, kinda gross and honestly, it’s just a pain. To give you some idea of how much I have pumped since going back to work in September? I downloaded a pumping app to my phone on November 1st. Since then, I have pumped 312.50 ounces of breastmilk. While at work. I find that equal parts amazing and grody. Wow. The human body is nuts.
Anyway, the thought of wearing a non-nursing bra thrills me. The thought of losing the rest of this baby weight also thrills me. With Riley, I never lost all the baby weight until I stopped nursing and then I lost 8 pounds in a week. I’m really looking forward to that week this time, let me tell you!
So while, I’m still nursing my baby 4 times per day, I am happy to be on the road to Weansville. Hooray!