NOTE: I started this post 10 days ago...does that say something about the kind of week and a half I have had?!
The last few days have been extremely trying. Where to start?
Avery has always been an inefficent eater, at least according to me. She takes about 30 minutes to eat (breastfeed). She only empties one breast. I have always produced ample amounts of milk and this just worked well for us. Over the last week the amount of time she spent feeding dwindled from 30 minutes down to about 5. Not so great! I also have used a nipple shield since she was about 3 weeks old. She had a hard time latching on and my nipples were dry, cracked, blistered and bloody (sorry if too much info!). She never minded the sheild. But over the last week, that too, has become an issue. At first she would pull it off half way through a feed and then as of a day or two ago she just refused to put her mouth on it at all. I do not mind not using it, but she has been doing this crazy pulling back while eating without it and it is starting to hurt! So two days ago I broke down realizing that she was not wanting the breast. She would take a bottle just fine of my pumped milk. So no problem right? Just pump and feed her...except, yup, there is an except! Except my production was way down due to her not eating long enough, starting to sleep through the night and the start of solids. So pumping was stressful because I knew I couldn't pump as much as she could get out if she just breast fed.
I ended up talking to both a lactation consultant and her pediatrician. They both said she was teething and that she would start to feed normally again in some time....some time? Vague enough for you? The lactation consultant also said to take More Milk Plus to boost my supply. I have been taking it for a few days now and not seeing much of a difference. She also said not to offer the breast for a few days and try again later. We were trying at least once a day in the morning when it was quiet and there were few distractions, but that didn't even work well. I was lucky to get her to stay on one side for about 8 minutes.
This is so stressful. I remember saying that if I could make it 6 months breast feeding I would be doing great. Now that Avery is almost 7 1/2 months old I am still loving it and do not want to stop. I also do not want to do formula until it becomes obvious that I cannot pump enough milk. I am not knocking formula...I am a formula baby and have many friends who either supplemented with formula or fed their children strictly formula from day one. And their children are as healthy, if not healthier than Avery. It is just a personal decision I am making. We are, however, using formula to mix in with her oatmeal (which by the way, has helped immensely in the pooping arena...again TMI?) so that I am not using my limited amount of breast milk for her solids.
I have been crying for days. I guess maybe I feel a bit rejected...silly right? But it is very emotional. I didn't even realize how much I was bonding with her during feeding time until now that it is gone. I am sure that it will work itself out, whether that means she breast feeds again or not, I don't know yet.
SECOND NOTE: Since I started this I have only breast fed once in 8 days. She was really hungry, just home from a long road trip, and she ate well. Other than that we are still pumping and feeding from bottles. I go back to work tomorrow, so she will have mostly bottles again anyway. I am debating on just making a permanent switch to bottled breast milk and being done with the breast feeding. Hmmmm....