We are not breast-feeding anymore. For those of you who don't know, we were not able to breast-feed well. I say "we" because it makes me feel like it's not my fault, but the problem was with my body we believe. From my reading and the observations of my midwife and pediatrician, we think I don't have enough mammary glands. You see, breasts are made up of fat and mammary glands. Apparently mine are mostly fat, which is why I like to be about 10 pounds heavier than the charts say is "healthy." Believe me, that last ten pounds does not come off my hips! But it was bad news for my little one and all my dreams of months of free food for her. I took all the herbs I could find, drank lots and lots of water, nursed every two hours for a few days, pumped, and did anything else that was suggested, but never could get more than two ounces at a feeding. And I couldn't even get that much if I nursed every two hours. Apparently production takes time.
Abigail got half breast-milk, half formula for a few months, and then mostly formula with nursing and pumping when we could after I started work full time. She did really well with this, and I felt good about giving her what I could. Plus, nothing beats the cuddle time and the fact that Mommy (and her magical boobies) can make tears stop instantly! Until about two weeks ago. That is when nursing brought on the tears instead of stopping them. My little one was done. I guess she got tired of working so hard for so little when there was a fabulous bottle of formula just waiting for her. I tried to feed her the bottle first, then nurse, but that still wouldn't cut it for her. I cried and tried again later, but she still wouldn't have it. So I cried and tried again later again. Still no good. After a few days of making her cry because she didn't want to nurse and making myself cry because she didn't want to nurse, I realized that one of us should be the adult and call it quits. And I realized that was probably going to have to be me.
It breaks my heart to not be able to nurse her. I know people say "Don't feel guilty" and "You have to do what is best for your family" but I don't think this is best for mine. It's just the only option we have. And I don't feel guilty, most of the time, but I do feel sad that I'm missing out on this precious gift. Not to mention how formula goes against all of my nutritional beliefs I have ever had! But you have to do what you have to do.
I did find a site called Human Milk for Human Babies that helps moms with extra milk connect with moms that don't have enough. I'm looking into it, as any breast milk is better than none. And I know that when I'm pregnant with Number 2 we are going to see a lactation consultant to see what we can do to increase my milk potential for him. For now though, Abigail and I need to find a new something special that's just between us. Every mommy and daughter needs that, right?