BabyM flat-out refused to nurse in public around 5 months old. Life was just WAY TOO INTERESTING to worry about milk and definitely not under cover. Trying to wrangle a wiggly baby and not flash my fellow diners in a restaurant was good times.
So I stopped breastfeeding in public. I had a giant stash of milk stored up for my return to work (which didn't happen) so we had plenty when she *finally* deigned to accept a bottle around 6 months. I had nearly given up hope of anyone else feeding her at that point, so hooray for small victories.
But we kept nursing at home and she became super quick and efficient. She outgrew needing to be nursed to fall asleep and in a stunning turn of events, I can put her down in the crib in the mythical state of "drowsy but awake" and she actually, amazingly, puts herself to sleep. This was unheard of 2 months ago and the cause of much despair around here.
The only constant with a baby is change. At almost 10 months, BabyM is apparently ready to do everything at once - in the last 3 weeks she's learned to sit up from lying down, rolls around in both directions, *crawls* and is growing 3 new teeth at the same freakin' time.
The one thing I didn't expect to change - our easy, efficient "nursing relationship" - did. I'll spare you the details, but it started to hurt a lot. I was dreading her feedings. This was all new, since this amazing baby showed up on Day 1 knowing exactly what to do.
My best guess is that her new teeth are affecting her latch, *and* she's growing like crazy and really hungry. When we give her a bottle, she drains 5-6oz in just a few minutes. She wants to eat and get on with her day. She also eats unbelievable quantities of solid food - actual person-sized amounts.
For a couple of weeks I've been pumping and feeding her, but I hate it. One of the awesome benefits of not working anymore is not having to pump several times a day and feeling the stress of "do I have enough?".
The freezer stash is dwindling - we have 2 weeks' worth of occasional bottles left. I know I could spend time and $$$ getting a lactation consultant to diagnose what's going on. Lord knows I've used Dr. Google to self-diagnose as well. I could drink the tea and take the supplements, which I've done in the past for T.
Or, I could supplement with formula for the next 1.5 months until we can introduce regular soy milk and use this as an opportunity to slowly wean her so I don't quit cold turkey and become Hormone-Crazed Angry Mama.
It's taken me weeks to come to terms with this, thanks to the propaganda machine. I know logically that formula != "poison" (like some would have you believe) and that whole generations were raised successfully on formulas less nutritionally advanced than what's available now. Big sister T was essentially prescribed formula by her doctor at 9 months since she was so low on iron and it was better than holding her down to force the nasty iron supplement into her mouth.
BabyM isn't allergic to anything as far as we can tell so our options are wide open, unlike with T. BabyM eats *everything*, including carpet lint, so the term "exclusively breastfed" means nothing at this point.
But that little voice inside my head is telling me I'm being lazy and not trying hard enough to fix the nursing issue. It's telling me I should breastfeed BabyM *exactly* as long as I did for her big sister, which would mean continuing in some form for 4 more months (ouch!).
It shouldn't be this complicated or guilt-inducing, right? So today I took the first baby step. I wanted to make sure we had a backup option for M when our freezer stash of breastmilk runs out. I can't pump enough to get her through a day.
I found the "just in case" formula I bought before M was born. It expired in February so I threw it out. I wondered if it was a sign.
Then I realized I had a can of the same brand powdered stuff as well, likely a free "gift" from somewhere. This was a new experience for me - we always used the ready-to-feed for T. I got my chemistry on and made up a bottle very carefully as per the instructions.
And she drank it down like it was sweet candy juice from heaven. Seriously, I think she drank it faster than any bottle of milk she'd had before. Well, then. I feel good that we have options.
I've given myself a couple more weeks to figure out the nursing stuff and see if there's an obvious, easy solution. I'm disappointed at how much internal angst I'm having over this. I know logically everything will be fine, but there's that nagging doubt when I consider taking a different path than I did last time.
But that's the crux of parenting, isn't it? You have no idea whether or how any one decision is going to affect THE FUTURE. You just take a breath, pick a path that you think is right, and get moving. Kind of terrifying and kind of awesome all at the same time.
I feel like I should end this post with something uplifting, like "Go forth and conquer." So, um, yeah!