Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Supplementing and the Road to Weaning

When Abigail was about 6 weeks old, she started refusing to nurse at night before bed. For a few nights we let it be, and then we tried even harder to get her to nurse. It only ended with a screaming, writhing baby and tears from me. So, I pumped and we gave her a bottle of breast milk. Problem solved. Abby loved her nightly bottle. Dave and I took turns putting her to bed every night, so she never got used to the way that only one person did it. It worked like a dream. There was a catch, though. I had to pump that milk. In the beginning, it was so easy to do. I dealt with oversupply issues and could obtain her nightly bottle in just a few minutes. Fast forward a few months and my milk supply had regulated. I was spending more and more time pumping every night after she went to bed. When she started drinking 6 ounces in her bottle every night, I couldn't keep up. I pumped at night and in the morning, and sometimes had to add another session as well, just to get those precious 6 ounces. When Abigail turned 9 monthly old (exactly), I told Dave that I didn't want to do it any more. I was so tired of being a slave to my pump. I didn't want to go back to nursing before bed either, though, so I brought up the idea of supplementing. In my mind, I thought that he would object to giving Abby formula. But of course he didn't, he supported me and understood my desire to be done pumping. I felt guilty that I wanted to stop pumping her bedtime bottle, but I also knew that I was done with that aspect of breastfeeding. So, we went out and bought formula. I thought that she would hate it, or refuse it, or something of the sort. I wanted to try anyway. The first night we mixed 2 ounces of prepared formula with 4 ounces of breast milk. She drank the whole thing and went right to bed! So we upped the formula, and she still drank the bottle without a problem. We gave her an all-formula bottle (the ultimate test!) and she didn't seem to notice the slightest difference. I started pumping less and less, and last night I didn't pump at all. What a HUGE RELIEF it's been. I'm still nursing her 4 times a day and 1-2 times at night, so our breastfeeding journey is no where near over. But not having to spend an hour or so pumping every day has been wonderful!! Formula is EXPENSIVE, so I don't see me stopping nursing any time soon, but I'm honestly looking forward to Abigail turning 1 so we can introduce whole milk and begin the road to weaning. We are hoping to have another baby soon, and I've read that pregnancy can either dry your milk up or change the taste so much that a baby will self-wean. We will just have to see what happens in the next few months. Until then, I'm quite happy to no longer be a slave to my pump!!

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