I can't believe it. I did what I set out to do. Lots of hard work and determination have paid off! And I'm quite proud of myself, and my son, that I was able to complete my mission.
My mission when Baby A was born was to breastfeed for a full year. And to be honest, when I first started out, it was hard work. He seemed to be attached to me ALL. THE. TIME.
There were times when I thought my supply was lacking and friends and family did their best to alleviate the stress I was under, by reassuring me that I could formula feed him. The thought of feeding him formula made me cringe, given that I could breastfeed and that he had no issues with it. I really wanted to do my part and for me, my part was providing him the best that I could. Granted, he was never colicky, never had a milk protein intolerance, never had any issues. And I'm so proud of myself that I stuck to what I really wanted. To say I was determined is probably an understatement.
When Baby A was born, we were told that he was moderately tongue tied and that he would benefit from having his tongue clipped. We had hoped to accomplish this before we left the hospital, but given the holiday schedule, no doctors were available. So our first day home, we spent the majority of the day at 2 doctors' offices and were finally squeezed in for the procedure. While I do think it helped him and will help him in the future, that day spent away from the comfort of my home, I believe it didn't set my supply off on the right foot. We were gone from 9-3, and I'm too embarrassed to say how little I was able to feed him. Then the remainder of the week was rather stressful due to some events with my in-laws.
Around the 6 week mark, I really struggled with whether he was getting enough or not. He was never a great sleeper at first. Up every 1-2 hours for the first several months. The thought of bottle feeding crossed my mind and sometimes happened to allow me some sleep. Around the 3 month mark, I remember going to see my lactation consultant to do a feed and weigh and guess what? He was getting plenty!
As my time of breastfeeding Baby A is coming to an end, due to his lack of interest, I'm left with bittersweet feelings. Granted, him biting me when done eating is making the weaning much more easier, I'm a bit sad for the morning moments when I could cuddle with him before the day actually started. He has more interesting things to discover and see!
Next go around, there are a few things I will change. While Baby A did receive a bottle of formula later into his first year for when my husband would put him to bed, I have other plans for the next kid that hope to remain formula free.
1. Stay home the entire week in the comfort of my own home, stress-free of certain relatives, and feed on demand.
2. Learn to pump sooner to help build supply and a small stash for those weekend night feeding for my husband to help.
3. See the lactation consultant sooner if I am in question of my supply.
4. Make sure my pediatrician is on board for pro-breastfeeding (granted our first pediatrician never pushed formula on me, but I'd like one who knows more about breastfeeding)
So for those mommas who were able to breastfeed, formulafree, for a year, what tips do you have for those that want to?
While I had plenty of friends and family who did have to formula feed, everyone must choose the best way for them and their baby. And feeding a growing baby is the #1 goal.