I've decided to give up breastfeeding (again). I've gone back and forth over the last month and every time I think I'm giving up, I end up trying again.
Emaline and I have never been very good at this nursing thing, but it worked. I was able to meet all of her needs as painful as it was, literally and figuratively. Then, I got sick. I got strep throat and had 102 + degree fever. I was achy and cold all the time. I didn't think I could take the pain of nursing her, not to mention I didn't want to be that close to her and get her sick. So, I pumped and someone else fed her, most of the time. Then, we had a series of stressful and/or busy events...evacuation for hurricane Issac, packing and moving, vacation. My supply just couldn't keep up with a growing baby. I had to supplement with formula while we were evacuated for Issac, and I cried a lot about that. I wanted to nurse her for at least 6 months, if not a year. But still, I kept trying. And my milk supply keeps fading. I've tried Fenugreek (which makes you smell like maple syrup), eating oatmeal, drinking beer, chugging water, etc...none of it working. The only thing I could have done was pump after every time I nursed her, but I didn't want to do that. I didn't want to take the additional 10-20 minutes after every feeding to do it. I don't want to nurse her, offer her formula because I'm not filling her up and THEN pump for 20 minutes. I could have, but I didn't. I have an active 3 1/2 year old and a 4 month old to take care of all day.
I'm trying to make myself feel better about this decision, and I think about how free it will make me. Free to eat and drink whatever I want. Free to wear whatever I want without thinking about accessing a boob during the day. Free from the pump and "my goat". Free to let other people feed her so I can have a break and other people can bond with her. I am not free of guilt. Even the formula bottle gives you crap about not nursing..."Breast milk is best, but if you can't nurse because you are inadequate, we have a formula right for you". Ok, I paraphrased that. Ugh. I feel guilty about her poop, too. She's been a little constipated with the formula. And it's starting to stink. No more sweet yellow seedy poop. She hasn't been sick yet, but I worry about her exposure to sickness without my antibodies to help protect her. She's been around some pretty gross germs and has never gotten sick.
There is something very special about nursing your child. It is connection that only you have as a mother. And although I'm not all hippy sentimental about it, I am emotionally connected. I get upset when I see anything related to nursing her...the pillow I use, the pump accessories, the hideous bras I wear.
I am making barely enough to feed her in the mornings. I'll continue to do that until I can't, I guess. I know this is a bump in the road and only a small fraction of the ways I can bond and take care of her. I know my sadness will subside, but right now it's hard. Am I crying right now? You betcha!