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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Nursing a baby

(no, that's not my breast on the Internet)

A baby is a miracle, no matter how you look at it. Every aspect it's tiny life is amazing, but what I'm currently marveling at is breast milk. (which Joshua says it must surely taste like cranberry juice) My body is able to produce the nutrients that my little one needs. FOR FREE! I love free, but I'm struggling this weekend, doubting my body, doubting my motivation to continue.

I nursed Joshua for a year, and he never tasted a drop of formula. No one told me that you could supplement with formula. I always thought you either nursed or you bought formula. Silly, silly me. Isn't it amazing the learning curve of parenthood?

I nursed Kaylee for a year too, encouraging her to continue towards the end. I tried to supplement with formula around 6 months but she wouldn't drink it. I was working part time, we were moving to a new house and I was pumping all the time. It wasn't fun, but a mama's got to do what a mama's got to do.

Little Gracie is 4 months old and had her first bottle of formula this week. This week she's been so hungry at night time, and I have nothing left. We're both frustrated. She took the formula just fine, fitting her contented disposition.

Once again, I'm working and pumping, but this time around I've got 2 other kids that need me. And that formula was so easy to mix up. I actually had the thought, "Maybe I should just stop nursing now. I'm so tired of nursing and nursing and she's still hungry."

Instead, I'm choosing to believe this is a growth spurt. I'm choosing to remember the many benefits of nursing:

*Nutrionally superior
*Burns calories
*promotes bonding
*saves money
*protects against many possible health issues



Jennylou's Projects said...

It probably is a growth spurt. Here's the bad news....if you're using formula and not pumping while giving that bottle of formula, you're telling your body that you don't need that feeding. Each time you replace with formula (and don't pump), it'll make it harder and harder to keep up with your supply. Growth spurts are hard and it's so tempting to turn to formula, it's a perfectly natural response.

It seems overwhelming - I imagine any time that you add another one it seems that way.

You can do it! :) Remember all the good things about nursing - no getting up to heat a bottle in the middle of the night! Not endlessly washing bottles. It's free! It's a great way to bond! Lower risk of heart disease and diabetes for you! Lower risk of diabetes for baby! So many good things....remember, you can do it! A Lactation Consultant told me it's the equivalent of running a mile a day for mama - woot! And all those antibodies, protecting baby from diseases. :)

PS....don't know if I have ever posted on your blog, but I follow you through google reader and wanted to post today to give you the encouragement to keep going. :)

Marlene said...

You probably already know this, but I just wanted to be SURE.

When demand goes up and you get emptied out, the only thing that will help your body kick in and increase supply is to nurse more frequently. It's frustrating, but that's the way it is. *sigh*

That being said, I know that pumping is a pain in the neck and can definitely understand supplementing with formula. Cheer up, honey! No matter what you decide, that baby is going to love you. Deciding to switch to formula or supplement with it is a viable option if your stress level is just getting too high.

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to encourage you not to doubt your body or your mother-instincts. If you really want to keep going with the breastfeeding, there are ways (as your previous commenters have said, nursing more should help, pumping more may not as it doesn't mimic the way a real baby feeds all that well).

But if you need to cut back the breastmilk and supplement (or totally replace) with formula, then *please* don't end up feeling guilty about it. You know the benefits of breastfeeding, you've tried your hardest to do it for all those reasons. But at the end of the day your babies need you to be a happy, healthy mother.

Formula may not be perfect, but plenty of research has been put into making it as near-perfect as possible. It may just be what you need right now. If you are able to keep nursing, even just a couple of times a day, then Gracie should still get all the health benefits. But if that's not the way things turn out, she's still had a great start and you are still the best, most loving, caring mother she could ever have!

Sara said...

Love you kids- Check

Feed your kids- Check

Teach your kids- Check

Laugh with your kids- Check

Sounds like you are a rock star momma to me- hang in there sweetheart. You asked for encouragement to keep going?

Breastfeeding burns calories. Over 600 calories a day!


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