Confession #1: The first week I was attempting to breastfeed, I was secretly hoping that the doctor would say I need to supplement with formula because I was getting so incredibly frustrated and I thought my life would be much easier if I could just give her a bottle. However, I am thankful that MacKenna has been such a good little eater and after we got through our initial difficulties, breastfeeding became a breeze and one of my favorite parts of the day. I wouldn’t trade those feedings for anything since sometimes that’s the only time I get to spend with her!
Confession #2: I hate pumping! But, here’s the problem. I hate pumping and yet I want to continue breastfeeding MacKenna until she’s at least 6 months old. That means I still have 3 months left of pumping 3 to 4 times a day. And let me tell you, it is a serious pain in the
butt boob. It doesn’t hurt, but having to go lock myself in a closet for a half hour in the middle of my workday isn’t exactly “productive” on my part. Well, except that I’m providing nourishment for my darling daughter.
I’ve at least mastered pumping while driving. Yes, you heard me right. I have an electric/battery powered pump so that this is possible. While it’s also a pain in the
butt boob, it actually saves me some time since I’m multitasking. And, don’t worry, I cover up as much as I can, although it makes me nervous when a bus full of kids pulls up next to me.
I used to be pumping 2 times a day but recently had to up my pumping time to 3 and sometimes 4 times a day. That means one time at work in the middle of the day, to + from work, and sometimes before I go to bed. I feel like I am literally attached to that thing all day long.
The reason I had to increase my pumping time was because my little piggy daughter eats 15 ounces a day, while I’m only producing 10 (sometimes more, sometimes less). I had 90-ish ounces stored up before I went back to work, but we’ve quickly made our way through that stash and now I’m only ahead by about 3 days. I have nothing stored up at home if I need to go out without her for a long period of time. What I have frozen is all at the babysitter’s house. (Thank goodness she lives close and said we can stop by anytime to pick up some milk if we need to.)
When I found out that she had eaten almost everything I had pumped + saved up, my heart sank. I’m so determined to breastfeed her and want to avoid giving her formula for as long as possible, but I’m coming to realize that we are getting closer and closer to having to supplement with formula. So, I’ve come up with a few plans on how to avoid supplementing at least for a little while longer, along with a few alternative plans.
Plan A: I’ve recently stocked up on Mother’s Milk tea and fenugreek capsules in an attempt to increase my milk supply. So far, I’ve been drinking 2 cups of Mother’s Milk tea each day for the past week and have noticed a little bit of an increase just from that alone. I just started taking fenugreek (I bought mine from Vitacost for $10 for 360 capsules, which will last me about 60 days – it’s the best deal I’ve found on them yet!), so I’m hoping that will help a little bit more. I’m not sure how much it will help, but it doesn’t hurt to try. Hopefully I’ll start pumping 15 ounces a day – and MacKenna keeps eating 15 ounces a day, although I think that’s doubtful.
Plan B: Supplement with formula 1 bottle a day. I pump enough each day for 2 bottles, so I would really only need to supplement with 1 bottle a day for right now. I would still have to keep pumping so I could continue breastfeeding her when I am home. I’m starting to get more comfortable with this idea, although it’s not my ideal situation. I just have to remember that I’ll still get that time with her even though we are giving her some formula too. And she would only get formula during the week since I’m home on the weekends for the most part. Hopefully this would also help avoid early weaning.
Plan C: Supplement all bottles with formula and breastfeed at home. This is my last resort since I know that I will dry up pretty quick if I’m not pumping during the day. I don’t think it will come to this, but I have to lay it out there as an option just so I can wrap my mind around it.
I’m starting with Plan A, obviously, until that just isn’t possible anymore. We’re taking it week by week instead of looking far ahead at that 6 month mark. I’m hoping we can make it that far, but right now, the most logical thing is to get through each week before needing to supplement. I think my biggest issue with formula is that it just costs so dang much! Luckily, I have a stash from my OB/GYN that will get us by for awhile.
Experienced mamas: when did you start having to supplement? Any other working moms dealing with this same problem? What did you do when you realized you might not be able to breastfeed as long as you wanted?