I'm very (extremely) proud that we have been able to make it to 8.5 months with breastfeeding. It's been an uphill battle and I feel like I've overcome so much. Thinking back to the toe curling, scream inducing first few months I am amazed how far we have come. We are encountering another bump though. It's called a nursing strike. Or at least that's what I'm choosing to call it since the idea of weaning is entirely too painful to think about right now.
Over the past few weeks Roxas has steadily decreased his nursing sessions from 5-8 times a day down to 3-4 then 1-2 and now as of yesterday 0. He is 100% refusing to nurse. Up until now I have felt rather important to him, you know...being his supplier of life sustaining milk and all. Now when I attempt to nurse him he screams, shakes his head "no" and pushes away from me. This just kills me. I feel so rejected and useless now.
I've long fought to keep my supply going at a level that both satisfied Roxas's needs and kept the freezer stash supplied. Long ago that freezer stash disappeared. My little milk bag container looks so sad and lonely in the freezer now. I've seen a pretty steady decrease in not only what I could pump but how often and how long Roxas would nurse for. Now I am lucky to get an ounce a day and to accomplish that I need to pump every two hours minimum for the entire day. He easily drinks 8oz in one bottle. So it would take 8 days for me to make enough milk to feed him once. See my problem here?
Anyways I am now having to deal with this nursing strike and it's taking a huge toll on my identity as a mom. I've been somewhat conditioned by pro-breastfeeders to view formula as the absolute last resort. I've been told that every woman can breastfeed, as long as they just try hard. I'm trying as hard as I can but I'm still failing. I've been conditioned to see formula as something just short of poison. The idea of giving Roxas even one drop of it makes me burst into tears. Why? because that is the ultimate symbol of failure for me. I don't wan to knock formula feeding mothers, that is your choice and what you believe and what I believe are completely different. Personally I don't care how you feed your baby, and no I don't think you are harming your child by not breastfeeding. My own, very personal, values however tell me I am failing. A bottle of formula to me is like waving the white flag and giving up. Giving up is not something I do.
I believe the strike may be related to Roxas getting two new teeth at the same time since he isn't even all that hip on his juice bottle or his absolute favorite: puffs. I think nursing might hurt his mouth so he doesn't want to do it. I am really hoping this is only temporary and we can get back to our great relationship in a few days, and him nursing can get my supply back up. Until then I am desperately trying to keep my supply going by pumping every 2 hours and eating as may lactation cookies as I can stomach (this is really hard).
If this isn't a temporary thing I'm not sure what I will do. He is growing great and gaining the right amount of weight and height right now but I am worried this extended nursing vacation might end up with him losing weight and we really don't want that. I'm hoping to talk to his doctor and find out what her opinion is and I'm hoping she won't recommend formula. I am also planning on calling our local LLLC to get her opinion as well. I never knew breastfeeding was so hard, but I am not going down without a fight. So help me I will make it to a year even if Roxas is only getting an ounce a day, we will make it. I'm prepared to do whatever it takes to avoid the formula, and if that means being tethered to my pump and eating more brewers yeast, flax and oatmeal than any normal person should then so be it!