I have been breast feeding for almost 11 months now. If you would have asked me at month 1 or 2 or 3 if I thought I would still be breast feeding at this point, I would have laughed in your face. My sister gave me the best advice in the very beginning. She said, to set mini goals for myself, and once I reached that goal, I could re-evaluate. So, the last 11 months has been a bunch of mini goals. We had a rough start–my milk didn’t come in until Sunday night, and I had delivered Kinsey 4 days before that. I did not feel pressured to supplement or breast feed. I took on an attitude of “Let’s just do whatever is best for Kinsey.” So, after being induced at 37 weeks, and enduring a tough labor, I actually thought that the breast feeding was going to be the easy part. But, it was not. We supplemented for the first week, and I continued to nurse/pump around the clock. My goal in the beginning was just to do everything that I could to see if we could make it work. I set a 3 month goal. Then, at 3 months, I set a 6 month goal. Then, at 6 months, things were relatively easy, and then we hit month 7, and we started introducing solids and suddenly everything wasn’t just manageable, but I had some freedoms too.
And so, nursing 8 times a day, became only 4 times a day, and my 6 month goal turned into making it to the 12 month mark. And here we are, 10 months and a couple weeks, and this week has been hard. My daughter is busy for one, so our mid-day feedings are a bit of a battle. She is not as patient, because the world is an exciting place, and she just doesn’t feel like she has the time for me. She’s been pulling off and on, and then sometimes pulling off and biting in the process, to which she gets her face smashed and air supply cut off briefly because STOP BITING ME! MOTHER OF ALL THINGS, OUCH! I’ve been stressed out that her distraction meant something more–that she was done, and I’d have to give her nutrition in another way for like 6 weeks. She’s also had a fever all week, and woke up a few times screaming bloody murder in the night, and I could not do anything to console her. Naps have been a bit nuts–solid morning ones (for the most part) and then really exhausting afternoon battles that just did not make any sense to me. And, to top it all off, my husband has been working a ridiculous amount of hours, unfortunately leaving me to do the bedtime alone every.single.night.
Stress in our house.
With all of the stress, my mind went a little crazy over supply/nursing/pumping/what in the heck. Kinsey has never been a comfort nurser–I am fine with that. And, if she decided she was finished, I’d be fine with that too. But, 6 weeks! So, I text a good friend last night to talk out my stress, and she helped me formulate a plan if I decided to try formula. Then, I called my pediatrician and the LC first thing this morning.
Long story short, I am doing fine. Kinsey is fine. Her behavior is totally normal. I don’t have to bail just because our mid-day feeds aren’t as smooth as the morning feed. 4x a day is great, and even if she wants to go to 3x a day until 12 months, that would be sufficient. So, I’m going to choose to hang in there, and finish out these 6 weeks, not because formula is death (I don’t believe that at all), but because I have made it this far–and to start something new, after almost 11 months of struggle and victory, would just be defeating for me.
I was not very good at being pregnant. I was also not very good at delivering. I mean, yes, I did it, and Kinsey made it, but I hated all of it, and am still trying to work through that feeling of failure and horrific torture. My low in life was also the best day of my life—bringing Kinsey into this world was simultaneously amazing and life scarring. So I think I have this major part of me that feels that I just want to prove to myself that I can be good at this one thing. I know, it is silly, but I hold a lot of guilt when it comes to how my pregnancy and labor went. It was not my fault that I was fainting all over the place, but none of it went the way that I had hoped. And so, I want to surprise myself by finishing out these 12 months gracefully. Is that dumb? I hope not. Formula would not be failure–but, me, giving up, just because things feel hard, that would be failure to me. Surely, I can get through these next 6 weeks without quitting.
6 more weeks!