Ok so let’s be real for a second. Breastfeeding kind of sucks right? I mean I get that it’s this magical thing and the bonding and all that, which by the way I definitely agree with, but for a working mom this day in age, it’s just haaaaaard! It’s hard to keep up with a pumping schedule , it’s hard to keep up with the calorie intake (because let’s face it we all want our pre-baby bods back STAT), and then there’s the old to feed or not to feed in public conundrum. It’s just not all that supported.
With tiny human number one I struggled with all of the above. Not to mention I got what I consider to be bad advice from a lactation consultant, that being not to pump. Like at all. “Let the baby set her own schedule,” she said. “The baby will tell you when she’s hungry,” she said. Well yeah that’s all fine and dandy EXCEPT for the fact that said “baby” was a very sleepy , five pound princess who needed wet wipe baths to wake her up to eat in the first place. Long story short my supply was never great and when Nya finally did decide to wake up for the long term, around three months, she was very hungry and I couldn’t keep up. I struggled to exclusively breastfeed her for six months, supplemented with formula until eight and then went exlusively formula until a year. Which I admit was hard for me . Not because formula is bad, nor because it is less than, but because I felt like I failed. As a woman I always just thought you get pregnant, you have a baby, and you breastfeed them until YOU want to stop. It’s pretty black and white right? So wrong, about all of that it turns out.
But this time around it felt different. Not to say I knew what I was doing but with tiny human number two I was a little more prepared. Ara came in at a whopping 4 lbs 12 oz and basically just slept for the first four months of her life. When she did wake up to eat she would only eat a couple ounces at a time on one side so I hooked the pump up to the other side during the feeding . I was religious about pumping every three hours and took my breast pump everywhere with me. I would pump in the car, at bars and restaurants, friends houses, wherever. I also started taking a lactation supplement including fenugreek on minute one. Both of my girls started sleeping 8-10 hours a night between two and four months and with Nya so did I (it was glorious), but this time I still woke up for a 3:30 am pumping session for eight months, you read that right, eight months. I am not a natural “milk machine” like some women, but all of this made a huge and significant difference in my supply. I was pumping between eight and twelve ounces in one sitting and was able to stockpile and fill an entire deep freezer with a three month supply. Ara is a little over eight months old now and I plan to ween her around 9 months and carry her over a year with my freezer supply. Who knows I may go longer. Truth be told I thought I would be a lot more irritated by breastfeeding this time around but it turned out it was more enjoyable, maybe because I know she’s my last . Regardless it’s nice to know my own self inflicted pressure is off a bit, I’ll get her to a year. Not because that’s the magic number but because that was my goal and I know now that atleast I’ll make it. To each their own.