The dark side is calling …

So – breastfeeding is hard. Like – really hard. This isn’t an amazing revelation. I breastfed Blake Dean for 8 months, so I speak from experience when I say there were days I nearly had a nervous breakdown from the stress of on-call, on-demand feeding. I couldn’t go out. I couldn’t have a drink unless I had enough milk saved up before hand. On top of the stress of being a new mom, it was an absolute killer.

Still, I know that there are benefits to breastfeeding. I definitely think it had a lot to do with how healthy Blake has been since he was born. I can literally count on one hand the number of times he’s had a fever, or even a “bad” cold. Breastfeeding is good for a baby’s immune system – I get it. And I definitely want to give that gift of health and closeness to Rhett, as well.

The thing is – damn, I’m tired. This kid is eating all day long. In his first week out of the hospital, he gained nearly a pound and grew an inch. I’m about to go crazy with the constant nursing … and what I want more than anything is just to be able to take a walk and not worry about getting back before he’s hungry again. (I could also do with a stiff drink but that’s another story.)

Anyway, my point is that it’s been less than two weeks, and I’m already considering supplementing his breastmilk with formula. I want to make it clear that I don’t want to stop breastfeeding completely – I just need help picking up the slack. I feel like I simply can’t keep up. I can’t pump enough to get ahead of the game. He’s an absolute milk animal.

I guess I feel guilty about this. Like – tremendously so. Is it horrible to supplement this early? Am I horrible to need a bit more freedom this time around? It feels like it.


1 Comment to “The dark side is calling …”

  1. Jill says:

    You don’t know me, but I am a facebook friend of Gail’s. I am still breastfeeding my 21 month old twins, so I am one of ‘those’ people!! With all my struggles with low supply, I have become quite passionate of the topic, and am always looking to help others. I did have to supplement in the early days, and we all survived it and I have NO GUILT!

    First, you can absolutely have a drink w/o worrying about it transferring to the baby, so long as you don’t feel the effects of it, the baby won’t be affected. So nurse baby and have one drink. Basically if you are sober enough to drive, you are sober enough to breastfeed. I wouldn’t make a habit of it, but once in awhile is all good!

    You can supplement of course, just be very careful about it overtaking your supply. It is best if you can pump to replace that feeding. Personally, I would vary the times of supplementing, so that my body didn’t get used to producing less at that particular time of day, does that make sense?

    Pump first thing in the morning, when your supply is at its highest.

    Get a comfy sling and wear the baby, trying to keep skin to skin. This helps build your production, helps keep baby happy and sleepy, and lets you do other things around the house!

    Remember the first 6 weeks are the hardest. . . I don’t have much recollection of it, but that is what I have heard!!

    Just do what works for your family, that’s all you can do! The best advice I ever heard was to not quit on your worst day. Once you hit that sixth week, your supply should be nicely regulated and your baby can be away from you for a couple of hours.

    Good luck!

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