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Breastfeeding, I bid you Adieu



People are always saying how much pressure society puts on new mothers to breastfeed and while I look back and try to sort out my feelings on the matter, I didn't feeling that pressure from anyone personally.

So why did I give myself such a hard time when I couldn't keep up with it?

I can only think of one thing...

When things were going bad, I would look online for help and everything I read gave me tips on increasing production but nowhere was there a little paragraph to assure me that if it didn't work, it's ok, give the baby a bottle. On the contrary, the warnings about giving the baby a bottle would lower my production scared me so much that I may have unnecessarily hurt my child in the past! It was all breast is best, make these cookies, stay hydrated, don't stress and follow these tips and it'll all be ok. And I thought exactly that... I'm going to do all these things and it'll all be ok.

So here I am, telling you my truth. I tried absolutely everything out there to make it work. To make it an easier of a read, I'll post it in bullet point:

  • Pumped after breastfeeding and pumped an hour after breastfeeding
  • Drank water constantly... constantly! It was like a chore
  • Drank Ovaltine 
  • Drank a cup of Guinness after breastfeeding
  • Made lactation cookies with brewer's yeast, poppy seeds, flax meal and oatmeal
  • Drank Mother's Milk tea
  • Took fenugreek pills
  • Also took blessed thistle pills
  • ALSO took moringa pills
  • Was prescribed Domperidone pills 
I continued to flip flop between topping up with formula and exclusively breastfeeding. I tried telling myself that my body will adjust to his needs but boy was I ever wrong. During naps, Quinn would wake up howling from hunger and then he would cry-nurse for a bit until he would refuse altogether and I would rush to warm up a bottle while he wailed. This process was extremely stressful for me, for him and was taking out the joy in me pretty hard.

In my last breastfeeding post I mentioned I went on a round of domperidone but on the last day I had gotten a plugged duct which slowed things down a ton. The plugged duct caused me to have a fever for a day and once it was unblocked, my milk supply hit an all time low! I went back to my doctor and she doubled my prescription for domperidone and we both agreed that after this round, it if doesn't work, we can move on to exclusive formula feeding.

I never ended up finishing my domperidone though. Quinn was just not interested in nursing anymore. He was more interested in what was happening out the window, or on the ceiling, or what the bricks on the wall looked like, or how to clasps his fingers together. It's what they call the distracted baby and mine was all kinds of distracted. I tried nursing him when he would wake up from a nap. Didn't work. I would try after play time. Didn't work. I would force it in his face til he turned purple in rage. By him, I mean me. Why are you doing this to me little child?! 

So then I began pumping every four hours and supplemented the missing ounces with formula and the only time I actually breastfed was at night. This was working really well for everyone for a while until I started to feel like a slave to the pump and made going out for the day pretty tricky for me.

At the end of January we took a trip to Cuba and I brought my pump with me but some days we didn't make it back to our room in time to pump or I had gotten too much sun and napped through a pump session. Finally, one day, I didn't pump the entire day and life continued normally.

Once we got back home, for a few days I pumped only once in the morning and breastfed only at night if he wanted to and then gradually I stopped pumping all together.

Quinn turned 6 months old recently and we've introduced him to some purees which is a pretty fun experience. And I gotta say... it's such a relief to be done with breastfeeding. I was struggling so hard with it and yet I was so unwilling to let it go that now that I've thrown in the towel, I really wish I gave myself a little slack and stopped when shit was hitting the fan. Even though it took quite a while for me to come to terms with it, now my boobs are screaming hallelujah!

And there's nothing quite like the milk-drunk smile of a baby that comes after an 8oz bottle of formula, free flowing from a fast flow nipple. Nothing.
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Shubana Alam
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