While I was pregnant, I decided I wanted to try breastfeeding, but knowing how hard it had been for both my mom and sister, I didn't have high expectations. I figured I would give it a try, and see if it worked. If it didn't, I'd move on with no guilt.
The first few weeks, as any breastfeeding mom knows, were HARD. It was so much more of an emotional experience than I expected. The fact that I was the only one that could feed him really weighed on me, and caused some major anxiety. What if something happened to me? Why do the 3 hours between feedings go by so fast?! I felt tied down and like my body wasn't my own. I had just spent 9 months growing a child, and was ready to feel like myself again!
Josh found ways to contribute, but breastfeeding means Mom gets up in the middle of the night every. single. time. I almost gave up SO many times. There were times when the only thing that kept me going was knowing it was saving us a ton of money.
Once I hit 3 months of exclusive breastfeeding, I started to feel proud. And actually enjoy it. You can't really comprehend the bonding until you've done it. It's really unique. I started to really feel determined to make it work until he was a year old, and no longer needed it. I still don't judge formula feeding moms, but it became a personal goal of mine to make it to a year. A badge of honor, of sorts.
I went back to work right before Charlie turned 3 months old. Hauling a pump back and forth between work and home is annoying. Figuring out how much he needed in a bottle was stressful, and then finding out I was only able to pump about half of what he drinks during the day caused some freak outs. I started pumping up to five times a day at work. I got up early enough each morning that I could nurse him for 30 minutes, and pump for 15. And I pumped after he went to bed. I would pump 7-8 times each day. I will be so glad when I never have to hear the sound of that pump again.
My freezer stash dwindled and a few days before he turned 5 months old, I have to give him some formula. He loved it. Didn't think twice about it. Which made me sad and relieved. I would prefer that he prefer breastmilk after all my hard work! :)
I started sending one bottle of formula to daycare, but before he turned 6 months, 1 bottle turned into 2, and sometimes 3. I've appreciated not feeling the stress to pump as often, but it's sad too. I still nursed him whenever we were home together. Usually 3 times a day/night, and then all day on the weekends.
A couple of weeks ago, he suddenly started guzzling his bottles down. We are talking, 6 oz consumed in 3-4 minutes. WAY too fast. Sometimes he would choke while drinking it, and sometimes he'd throw it all back up. I checked the nipple of his bottle one time, but didnt see anything that looked out of the ordinary.
I became convinced he was eating so fast because he was starving all the time. I felt guilty, like he wasn't getting enough. I thought maybe we should go exclusively to formula so we'd be able to know exactly how many oz he was getting each day.
And then he quit nursing. All the sudden, overnight, he just refused. I was sure it was because it was too much work, and didnt come out as fast. These days I am lucky if I can get him to nurse for 15 minutes.
Last night, after he guzzled another bottle, I took a really close look at it and saw that there was a slit near the hole. About a quarter inch long. After looking at the rest of his bottles, I realized there were 4 that had been cut. We knew this happened at daycare, because we have only ever had one babysitter outside of family. To say we were livid is an understatement. To think that someone else made a decision that made my son quit nursing is unreal. And disappointing. I wanted to make that decision.
One lady at daycare had left us a note a few weeks ago requesting faster flow nipples because Charlie was taking a long time to finish each bottle. After discussing with my husband, we decided against it because we were afraid it would make him stop breastfeeding. We had never gone back and told them we weren't going to get faster flow nipples, we just didnt bring them. We figured if it was a real issue, it would come up again and we could discuss it. And one lady took it into her own hands and made his current bottles flow faster.
We spoke to the director today and found out that lady is going to be fired for this bad judgement call. I know she never intended harm, but she made a decision that wasn't hers to make. It makes me wonder what other decisions she would make without my consent. I'm going back and forth between feeling very sorry for her, and feeling indignant about what happened.
At this point, I'm not sure if I'm going to try to re-initiate breastfeeding, or just move on. Most importantly, Charlie is happy and healthy, and that's really all that matters.