Click here for Part 1, written on May 29.
When I last wrote about breastfeeding, I talked about the many frustrations and how we just started adding in some formula for one bottle a day.
When Logan hit three months old, I started some serious weaning and he was getting more formula than breast milk. And then about a week later, I stopped breastfeeding and pumping. Now we are using up the milk in the freezer for one bottle a day and by July 1 he will be on all formula.
I was very mixed on quitting, even though my original goal was three months. I didn’t really know what bf’ing was about before I started, so three months was sort of arbitrary. I learned so much about the benefits for mom and baby, and of course what it’s all about and how it works. I ended up enjoying it much more than I expected, and was more hesitant to stop than I expected.
The things I liked about bf’ing:
- The ease–no bottles necessary, no clean-up. Always available, perfect temperature, perfect food, no prep necessary.
- The health benefits to mom and baby–Breastfeeding for mom can lower risk of breast and ovarian cancer, it can help shed pregnancy weight quickly because of the calories you burn to produce milk, and it’s a natural thing to do. For baby, it can help their intelligence, ward off illness, and is literally the perfect food. All formula tries to emulate breastmilk. Why not just use the real thing?
- The quiet time–I read books, checked email, made phone calls, and watched TV…Every three hours for 45 minutes. I really enjoyed this part!
- The soothing ability–Breastfeeding is really soothing for baby. They close their eyes, are relaxed, and really enjoy it. One time Logan got hit in the head by a friend with a little peg toy. He started screaming, it was close to feeding time so I fed him and he immediately calmed down.
- The idea that the baby takes what he needs–Breastfeeding works because if you do it right, milk is always there for baby. He takes what he needs and your body produces enough to replace it. When you mess with your body, like by pumping or supplementing with formula, you are tricking your body into producing more or less milk. Done in the simplest way, it is perfect.
The things I was ready to let go about bf’ing:
- Pumping–I did enjoy having a freezer stash to use when I was away from the house. I actually didn’t dip into the stash until I stopped, which was the point. I wanted to stock pile some milk so he would still have milk after I quit. I pumped at least once a day the whole time. Part of that was used for the next day’s bottle, and the excess was frozen. Jeffrey and I went on a 24 hour vacation in May and I used freezer milk (almost 50 ounces=a big part of my stash) for him and pumped the whole time we were away. I also took about 18 ounces with us to Colorado to help have a head start. And then the rest was for after I stopped. About 100 ounces were left when I stopped pumping.
- Feeling full all the time–This was the worst for me. It’s a good thing to have a lot of milk and even extra, but I was always full and it was very annoying for me. Hard to exercise, hard to wear my old clothes, hard to plan my day because I needed to always feed or pump. Even hard to go out to dinner because I’d have to pump or feed before, and pump when we got home. It was an extra 30 minute process when I would just want to go to sleep.
- Being tied to the house–Planning the day was very hard, especially trying to be social or get out of the house. Logan ate every 2.5-3 hours and each feeding took an hour (he never got “more efficient.”) It’s very hard to get anything done outside of the house, or plan a playdate before he would get hungry again. This got very old.
- Not knowing what Logan was taking in–While I felt like I had more than enough milk, you never know what the baby eats. He seemed hungry often, but ate so long each feeding. This game of “is he getting enough?” got old.
So while I was sad to stop, I am happy with what I did, that Logan got the benefits of breast milk for three months, and that now we are onto the next phase.