If you've kept up with Cole's monthly stat updates, you've noticed that he's long and lean. Although he's gained weight at each check-up, he's still pretty skinny. Dr. Pikna didn't seem concerned by his weight and continues to tell me he's happy and healthy, but a part of me gets worried that he's getting enough food.
Cole's never loved taking a bottle at daycare so I always feel like I'm pushing milk on him and hoping he's getting enough. I love nursing, but the control freak in me constantly wonders how much he's taking in. Sometimes he'd nurse for 12 minutes, sometimes for 6 minutes...I always questioned if enough time had passed for my body to produce what he needed to be satisfied.
Well...about two weeks ago I was nursing Cole before bed. Typically he'd get super drowsy nursing, we'd rock a little while and then he'd crash (please do not comment that I shouldn't nurse my child or rock my child to be...I'm not looking for any unsolicited advice in that department). Anyways, after nursing him he just didn't seem satisfied. I wasn't sure if he was fighting sleep or still hungry. Very rarely have I, myself, given Cole a bottle, but at that moment, for who knows what reason, I thought I would. I had 1oz of breastmilk left in the fridge and for shits and giggles I decided to mix it with 2 oz of formula. Mind you, my child had never had formula and I wasn't sure how that was going to go over. To make a long story short, he sucked down the 3 oz, fell asleep, and slept for 11 HOURS, yes 11 straight. I continued doing that for the next four nights (nursing him and then offering him a 3 oz bottle) and every night he slept like a champ. A part of me was VERY sad that I could no longer satisfy him at night, but another part of me felt good knowing he was getting what he needed.
This past weekend marked the beginning of spring break. I kept telling myself I was going to nurse as much as possible, build up my supply, and bond with Cole. Well, I've done two of the three...I'm pumping as often as possible and hopefully building up my supply and I've definitely had some WONDERFUL bonding moments with Cole, but I decided to to back off of nursing. I'm not sure what made me decide this, and I'm still coming to terms with it emotionally. I was ready...I think. Don't get me wrong, I cried and cried and cried and worried that he no longer needed me, but then I realized how nicely he took a bottle and how nice it was that Jim could give him a bottle and I decided I'm okay with it.
I still nurse Cole first thing in the morning (I like that quiet time together with him) and if he gets up in the middle of the night (which, knock on wood, he has only done once), but the remainder of the time he gets bottles. I've been mixing my breast milk with formula, for two reasons...one, I think he takes it better when he doesn't think it's my milk and two, in case my supply does go down I'm hoping to make my milk last as long as possible. I wouldn't say I've given up nursing entirely...I plan to keep it up in the mornings as long as possible, and pump until he's a year or my supply goes down. I'll be honest though, I've been cranking out some serious bottles now that I'm home. A lot more than I got at school...probably because I am a bit more relaxed in my own living room as opposed to my classroom, you think :)
A part of me didn't want to post this, somewhat bummed that I didn't make it to a year strictly nursing. Then I realized...who cares?!? I am providing Cole with what I feel he needs to grow and mature. No one is passing judgement on me as a mother because of it. I never promised myself I would nurse, and I never would have thought it would mean so much to me, but it has. Once I started I thought I'd be doing great if I could get to 6 months. We're quickly approaching 8 months next week and I do not anticipate giving up pumping/breastmilk. I have to give myself credit...many women give up nursing when they go back to work full time because pumping is such a beast. I figure, I've gone this far and I only have 5 weeks left of school after break. I can definitely make it to summer and beyond.
As I sign off for the night, I leave you with an awesome post from the blog Mommy Shorts...any woman that's nursed a child will find this hilarious! The details would leave you wanting to throw your pump out the window, but then you look at your beautiful child and realize, he's worth it!
The Breast Pump: A Major Motion Picture