The bond my daughter and I have from breastfeeding cannot be explained. I read so many blog posts about breastfeeding leading up to delivery but it’s more than I expected. I was hoping and wishing and praying that the process would go smoothly for us and it did! She came out hungry and know exactly where to go.
This doesn’t mean things were all peachy from the get go. At 2 days old Camille had lost about 11% of her weight since birth. Babies are expected to lose about 5% – 8% of their weight buy my baby was losing more than expected. She would latch on and move her little jaws so we assumed all was well. The doctors were testing her for jaundice and monitoring her blood sugar every few hours. I was drinking so much water and trying so hard to digest hospital food. Yet she was still losing weight. Finally a Lactation Consultant came in and after much coaching (which was very helpful) she noticed Camille may be tongue tied. Still not sure why the doctors didn’t pick up on this but they were threatening to admit her to the NICU if she didn’t start gaining. Luckily my pediatrician was able to see her the morning after we were discharged and she confirmed a tongue tie.
Ok, now we know the cause what now? Supplement with formula, you gotta be kidding me! And let someone do a procedure on my 4 day old baby?! This doc was really pushing it! I was SO determined not to give my baby any formula at all whatsoever but I had to do it. I cried, felt horrible, felt guilty but I had to put on my big girl panties and then my new Mama panties and do what was best for my baby.
We supplemented with 1 oz of formula after each nursing. The next day (4 days old) we saw an ENT doc that corrected her tongue tie. I was scared shitless! B said I’ve never held his hand so tight. The doc was awesome though. We didn’t even have to take Camille out her carseat. The procedure was over in about a minute, there was very minimal bleeding and she knew the difference immediately. That little tongue started moving so fast! The next time she nursed was seamless. We saw the pediatrician again that afternoon and Camille had gained 5 ozs over night! She advised to supplement with formula one more day and then we were good to go.
Breastfeeding went pretty well from then. I was pumping some days to build my stash for my return to work. I was leaking all the time so I assumed my supply was all good. I returned to work when Camille was 7 weeks old. I know, so early. Everything was everything for a few months. Her appetite began to outpace my supply. I would leave work some days to nurse. I would have to nurse when I picked her up after work. I was pumping 2-3 times at work and doing all the things I read on Pinterest and in all the literature from the hospital. Nursing on demand wasn’t my problem, I just wasn’t pumping enough. I soon realized my in-laws were feeding Camille for the hell of it. I was lit! They had no clue how I was losing my mind because I wasn’t producing enough milk for my baby. I mean my freezer stash was quickly dwindling and they had the audacity to giving her milk just because. Only a Mama in that same predicament knows the anger I felt.
At 5.5 months I was finally coming to terms with Camille needing formula. The crunchy Mama in me was so upset. No shade – but all I thought was “how can I give my baby this poison?”. I had even called out from work for 2 days to just stay home to pump and nurse on demand. Still no luck. I stopped at Target on my way to work and grabbed some liquid formula. I got a call that afternoon from my MIL saying Camille would not drink the formula. Another early day for me, I had to go feed my baby. I can’t lie, I wasn’t really mad at her. I was tempted to taste it but didn’t want to dislike it and decide Camille couldn’t drink it.
Against my bank account’s better judgement that evening I sprung for organic formula. It was about $35. All I could think is what if she doesn’t like this either. Lucky for us she liked it! She stuck with the organic formula until the end. We tried another brand once because our regular was sold out. She drank it just fine but her appetite decreased and she lost 1.5 pound in 2-3 days. B cut that short REAL QUICK!
From 5.5 months until 12 months Camille continued to drink the organic formula. I was literally counting down the number of containers I had to buy until her first birthday. About a week after Camille’s birthday I began mixing almond milk with the formula. It went rather well. Then the formula was gone and it was all almond milk and she was not happy. Originally we bought unsweetened vanilla almond milk because I didn’t want her drinking sugar all day. It was too bland. B suggested the sweetened vanilla almond milk, it was too sweet. Luckily we found a happy medium with reduced sugar vanilla almond milk. I was happy she liked it but unhappy because this was not the brand I intended for her to drink. I’m still learning I cannot win all the battles.
Now at 13 months she’s still enjoying the reduced sugar milk and we have began weaning. This is hard for us both. I’m really gonna miss it but some days I just don’t want to be touched. She’s so aggressive when she wants boobie milk! It’s borderline Mama abuse. On top of that she wants to nurse ALL. THE. TIME!
I spoke to her pediatrician at her 9 month follow up about weaning and she said not to rush it and do it when I’m ready. She asked on a scale of 1-10 how ready was I. At the time I said 5. She suggested cutting one feeding at a time starting with the morning feed. Today (11/8/16) is the 8th day we have gone without a morning nursing session and it was the toughest yet. She was getting used to it but her top molars are cutting and she just wants to nurse. I almost caved in but I held strong. I feel kinda bad but I know I have to do this, just like sleep training. I plan to cut the evening session (after work) in about a week. I’m not sure when I’ll cut the night session. Part of me wants to soon but the crunchy Mama in me wants to keep some milk flowing for skin rash, diaper rash, possible pink eye or ear infection.
Oh yeah, I didn’t talk about pumping. I quit that job at 10 months! I posted this a breastfeeding group on Facebook:
26 reactions and 40 comments. I felt so relieved knowing I wasn’t the only one. Those Mamas really encouraged me (in a good way) and helped me feel at peace with my decision. I kept a manual pump in the car (as I had for months) just in case. I had to pump a few nights when we got home but for the most part, my pumping journey was over!
So that’s out breastfeeding journey so far. I’ll keep you updated on weaning. I know I’m taking it slow but I think that’s what’s best for Camille and I. Please feel free to ask any questions and let me know how breastfeeding went for you and your babies.