Thursday, January 6, 2011

The "F" Word

Jackson has been drinking 25 ounces of expressed milk per day (in four bottles at daycare plus one bedtime bottle) and otherwise nursing once in the morning, once in the late afternoon, and at least once during the night. I am expressing only 18-20 ounces per day, and that's with pumping four times per day for looooong periods of time. And I currently have mastitis leaving my left tit feeling like it was on the losing end of a fight with only rope-a-dope moves. Oh, and the daycare called yesterday to tell me that he had finished his fourth 5-oz bottle by 2PM, so I should either send more bottles or more milk in each bottle from now on. So today, I sent four 6-oz bottles. I'll find out in an hour or so how that worked out, but this could raise our daily total to 30 ounces per day.

Now I'm no mathematician, but...25 to 30 minus 18 to 20, carry the 1....anyway, I would seem to be a few ounces short of an adequate supply here. The mastitis sure as hell isn't helping matters in general, but I don't think it's directly impacting the problem one way or the other. I'm dipping into my frozen stash, which I expected to do this week, but I also figured I'd be able to restock it somehow once I started pumping all the livelong day. Not so much. Fuck.

But that's not the "f" word I'm alluding to: formula. Accompanied by the "s" word: supplementing. I really don't want to do it. With all apologies to my bloggy friends who feed formula by choice or otherwise, I just don't want to go there. A) I produce perfectly good breast milk and am willing to nurse and pump, so I want to extend the benefits of this to Jackson as much and as long as possible. B) I can't shake the feeling that formula is "fake" food, and worry (probably excessively) about the potential digestive and other consequent issues we might face having to try different formulas in a painful trial-and-error fashion. C) I'm stubborn and arrogant and am determined to make this pumping and nursing thing work on my terms, because -- just because, goddammit. I started out wanting to make it to 6 months, and when nursing got easier I decided I could stick it out to 1 year. Now it feels like I'll be lucky to surpass 4 months. I'm feeling like another "f" word" failure. Fuckity fuck.

So I'm all in on the homeopathic, wives tale-inspired, and working mom-relayed remedies. Trying to drink more water than is humanly possible. Eating oatmeal every day. Switching to larger flanges for the pump apparatus and pumping every 2-3 hours during the day and 1-2 times at night, low and slow for 45 minutes (just like good barbecue). Taking some crap from WholeFoods that comes in a capsule and is black and smelly and tastes weird. Drinking some expensive special "mother's milk" tea. I will keep trying whatever I can to boost supply while I burn through the frozen goods, and then supplement if I have to when no options are left. At the rate I'm going, this may happen some time next week. Fuuuuck.

Just one more thing to make returning to work more awesome than I thought was possible, y'all. All I can do is, chin up, keep trying. Onward, ho!


Lauren said...

That really sucks. I'm sorry:( I'm totally with you on the thoughts on formula, so I get how you'd be feeling right now.

bunny said...

SUCKY. But it does all seem to boil down to what you say at the end: chin up, keep at it, and if all your best efforts result in having to supplement, forgive yourself. This way at least Jackson will have something to blame you for when he's a teenager. (But seriously, one of my few friends with a kid ended up having to supplement and felt like such shit. I get that it's genuinely crappy and I hope it doesn't go that way for you.)

Lisa said...

This is such a hard battle. Since I went back to work my supply has crashed. I used to be able to pump 3oz right after feeding him, and when I first went back to work I pumped 12oz in two sessions, no problem. Now, I'm lucky if I find the time to pump, and when I do, I rarely get more than 3oz at a time, for a pathetic work-day total of 5-6oz. It really makes me resentful about my job because I'm not weaning on my terms. After a while I just had to supplement with formula. There just weren't other options, and I was making myself miserable with obsessively trying to pump more. Noah takes Enfamil Premium Infant and hasn't had any issues. I mix all of his bottles with about half breastmilk and half formula. I feel like as long as he's getting some, I'm not really failing him. (I so totally get that "failure" part. You just have to remind yourself that you're trying as hard as you can, and breastfeeding at all pretty much makes you a rockstar in my book!) So far, formula hasn't killed Noah, and it doesn't appear to be "fake" food to him, although I also understand that feeling, completely. Anyway, bfing is hard work, so be easy on yourself. Jackson loves you, no matter what you feed him. (Unless you feed him dogshit, then he might not like you so much.) Hang in there, and try not to make yourself too miserable with this. I know how stressful it is, believe me! Perfectionism takes its toll when it comes to mommyhood! Holy shit. (Ha, my word verification is "obsest." It's reading my mind.)

Kelly said...

I'm so sorry. I can imagine how frustrated you're feeling right now.