September 26, 2012

letting go

Fat and happy after his formula bottle--so thankful!
Well we finally started supplementing formula today! You're probably thinking, "Yeah, ok--so what?" But what you don't know is the anxiety, guilt, feelings of failure that went into this decision for me. After feeding him nothing but breastmilk for 5 months now, the thought of putting anything else in his belly had me so nervous and feeling like I did something wrong.  Could I have pumped more?  Should I have taken special (albeit sketchy) herbs that are supposed to increase supply? Did I not drink enough water? And the list in my head went on and on.

What finally forced us into giving him a bottle of formula was his most recent growth spurt.  He went from drinking 5.5 oz. to 7.5 oz. overnight--and I just couldn't keep up that amount up with pumping at work.  While as hard as it was to introduce formula, it was definitely an answered prayer.  I kept wanting the decision to just be made for me. I did not want to decide to start supplementing just because I was exhausted or needed a break--that seemed so selfish to me since I knew it was only temporary and the benefit of  just breastmilk is so great to him.  I know not all women are able to breastfeed and while I absolutely love, love it, it can be completely draining at times.  To give you an idea: two days ago I read an article that explained how breastfeeding depletes about 30% of a women's daily energy and is the equivalent to running 7 miles (energy wise--not calorie wise).  No wonder I was so tired after feeding him every 2 hours for the last 20 weeks!

And while I'm still going to be primarily nursing/pumping and just sending a formula bottle here and there, I'm definitely looking forward to the freedom that the option of formula is going to give me.  I don't have a lot of luck with pumping, so I've never had a huge stash that I could use as events came up.  And as a result, I've felt like a lot of my life has been on standby these past 5 months.  I've had to say no to too many hangouts or functions that I would have liked and began to just crave alone time and community more than ever.  My outings would consist of 45-min. trips to local retail stores or the grocery store. So lame, haha.

So after getting word from daycare that he did great with his first formula bottle (mixed with some bmilk), I immediately felt a sense of relief.  "Ok, it's done--he's had it, so I can quit stressing about when or if."  Now, I can look forward to my weekend plans to hang out with some great gals and not feel rushed or like I have one foot out of the door because I know that Joel can just give him a bottle if I'm not home and I can pump while away.

I feel great about it all now, and while my goal was to exclusively breastfeed for 6 months, I'm comforted by the fact that I was still able to give Judah a great head start that most babies don't always get and now he's going to get a more-rested mom and the majority of his normal intake at the same time.

Can you imagine what I'm going to feel like when it's time to start weaning?? I should probably start preparing myself now.  :) 

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