Since I’ve been so tired there has been a lot that has happened in the last few months that I have neglected to blog about. So I’m going to try to catch up a little. One big thing that happened is that I weaned John Patrick.
Since every baby and every mom are different, Mary Kate thought it would be a good idea to share my experience in case it helps anyone else out there in the blogosphere. Great idea!
A little background: Since John Patrick was a preemie, he was introduced to the bottle before the breast. It took him two months to get the hang of breastfeeding – remember that? So I did a lot of pumping at first. But once he finally clicked with breastfeeding, it was all downhill – for awhile.
Introducing formula: At three months I decided to slowly introduce formula. I knew that I would be going back to work in another four weeks and I wanted him to get used to eating formula with me, in case he had any kind of bad reaction to it. I knew that he would probably have to take some formula at his nursery. He clicked with it really easily. It almost seemed as if he didn’t even notice a difference. (I decided not to take that personally.)
Going back to work: Now I should preface this by saying that going back to work was EXTREMELY difficult for me. It wasn’t so much that I didn’t want to leave him (although that was a part of it). But it was mostly because my boss decided to punish me for a couple of months for having a baby and my work environment was unbearably stressful. This was the point in the last 8 months that I almost had a nervous breakdown. I felt like I couldn’t do anything right, in any part of my life. It was really horrible.
Through all this stress my milk supply consistently decreased everyday. No matter what I did (pumped more, drank special teas, breastfed more at home) it didn’t matter. First I went down to 50% breast milk and 50% formula at his nursery. Then it went down to only one bottle a day. I felt guilty because at this point John Patrick was only 5 months old. I had it in my mind that I would definitely breastfeed for a full 6 months.
Then I finally realized that the stress of breastfeeding was also making me crazy. I was literally trying to be EVERYTHING to EVERYBODY (nurturer / nourisher to my son, the model employee for my boss, organizer / household manager for my husband). I finally just snapped. And I realized that I just couldn’t do it all.
Just letting go: Once I decided that it was ok for John Patrick to take formula and that I had done the best I could (I did last 5 months with a preemie who originally had no intention of ever breastfeeding), things just happened naturally. My body produced less and less everyday. John Patrick became less and less interested in breastfeeding. Till finally the only nursing I was doing was before bedtime. I don’t even remember the last time I nursed him but at some point he stopped wanting to be nursed then too. And my body stopped producing about the same time.
For me, I didn’t have hormonal issues or engorgement. My issues were more psychological. But as I soon as I stopped putting so much pressure on myself, it just happened naturally. And he’s a big chunky healthy boy so I’m over feeling “guilty”.
Everyone experiences something different when weaning (if you decided to breastfeed). I guess my only advice is don’t be your own worst enemy. It’ll happen when it’s supposed to happen.