Monday, December 10, 2012

To nurse or not to nurse

Has anybody else had a hard time deciding whether or not to breastfeed or for how long?  I finally reached a happy medium and am happy with what I decided.  When I had my first son I had great plans to nurse him for the first year.  Little did I know, I would have a C-Section and have a very rough recovery.  I was also told by multiple nurses and people that nursing doesn't hurt.  Obviously they never did it or they would know that it hurts like crazy for about the first month.  Had I known that it was normal to hurt and that I could do more than one nursing position, I would have tried harder, but even the nursing specialist at the hospital told me the football hold was the only way to start.  I couldn't do that position because my C-Section prevented me from moving certain ways.  

Well with my 2nd son, I was a little more prepared.  I realized that breastfeeding might come naturally, but it is also a lot of work and is easy to give up on.  I was determined to do it if the baby was willing to work with me on it.  It was definitely painful to start out but got more comfortable the longer I did it.  It was very tempting to quit many times, especially in the first month since we were moving from MN to VA.  

I had planned to nurse until he got teeth because I dreaded the possibility of him biting me, but then the time came and he was only 4 months old.  He was doing so well with the breast milk and my first did terrible on formula and spit up constantly, so I was too nervous to switch him.  

At 6 months I got to a point where I really questioned whether or not I wanted to continue.  It is a constant thing and very demanding.  At this point he was still eating every 2 hours for about a half hour each time, so I was getting a total of 1.5 hours in between feedings.  I felt like all I did was feed him, rock him, and pump.  I researched everything and thought long and hard about why I wanted to stop and they all seemed selfish to me.  I wanted my freedom and wasn't really thinking about what was best for him, so I decided to keep on breastfeeding. 

It was frustrating and as soon as I started thinking again that I would stop, it was time to increase his solids to 3 times a day.  This was the magic number because he immediately started feeding every 4 hours instead of every 2.  This made such a huge difference for me, especially since I watch another baby all day who also needs to eat and sleep.  It finally felt like I didn't spend my entire day either rocking or feeding a baby.  It was great!  

Then my mother in law came into town and I had to watch and try to maintain my supply from pumping so that I could actually leave the house, without the baby.  This was very stressful because I was only able to pump a half of a bottle every night so I had to pump for 2 nights just to get a 6 oz bottle.  

When Bubba turned about 7.5 months old I decided to try out formula to see if he spit up a lot on it or if it was ok.  He did great on it.  Now I don't pump, ever.  I can leave the house and not worry about if I have enough milk for a bottle or if I need to find somewhere to feed him.  

I don't give him more than 1 bottle of formula a day because I don't want my supply to decrease, but I am a lot less stressed out about leaving the house or having my husband feed him every once in awhile.  

This is a personal decision and will vary depending on what you want to do.  Having one kid who was on formula from the start and having one who has breastfed from the start, I see both sides.  I know for sure that I will stop breastfeeding when he turns 1, as soon as he can drink regular milk.  I don't think I would have changed having my first on formula from the start.  It was so helpful that other people could feed him while I recovered from my C-Section and with my 2nd I was able to do a VBAC, so I didn't have a hard recovery.  

Has anybody else gone through this decision?  What did you decide?


  1. I have had three babies-all via C-section. I think I am the anomaly in that I never had any difficulties breastfeeding nor did it hurt me. I was expecting it to be very hard because my mom had a hard time and had tried to prepare me before I had my oldest. I guess I lucked out.

    I did have to start supplementing my oldest with formula when he was about 8 months because I was already pregnant with my second and my supply went down. He had no problem with formula. My second and third babies would NOT take formula at all nor would they take pacifiers or bottles even of pumped milk. So needless to say I didn't get out much when they were small!

    I weaned my oldest using the don't offer, don't refuse method when he was a year. My second and now my third are taking a bit longer on this method-my second ended up being around 15 months when he weaned totally and with my third its taking a while as well...he's lactose intolerant and we didn't realize it for a while so when I would give him milk or dairy he would have horrible skin and digestive issues. We finally have him on lactaid and he only nurses at night now and I'm trying to gently end that as well.

    I think nursing is a very personal thing and I try to offer support to any of my friends and family that at least try it because I do think it's nutritionally best (and much cheaper than formula!!)

    1. Melissa, thanks for your input. I am lucky that Kaden switches to a bottle with no problem. When he was born the nurses suggested I not offer him a bottle for awhile, but I ended up needing to supplement him in the first month with formula because of a slight case of jaundice.

      I am a little nervous about weaning him when the time comes. I have been offering him a sippy cup with water and a splash of juice, but he isn't taking to it at all. I hope by the time it is time to wean him he is taking to the sippy cups.

      Nursing is a personal subject and choice. I have known people who tried and tried and just couldn't produce what the baby needed, and I know those who chose not to try. I try to support them all I'm their decisions, but this baby has definitely been a lot less expensive because of not having to buy formula!


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