I am coming to a cross roads with Chick’s feeding.
Because he was born early, we were sent home with formula to add an additional 24 calories. Instructions were to add it to every feeding, include breast milk. This has meant that I have been chain to my breast pump as Prometheus was to his rock. (Yes, I do view pumping as torture akin to having one’s liver eaten out. Why do you ask?) I breast feed him twice a day, but only for limited time so he doesn’t tire out. After 20 minutes per boob, I’m supposed to pull him off and feed him formula or breast milk plus.
When we do breast feed, Chick is pretty good. His latch is great. By comparison to pumping, it feels like a goddamn massage for my nipples. He does get a little too comfortable and falls asleep, but I know he is taking in food because a) he gets it on his face and b) he bottle feed intake after being at breast is always lower, which leads me to believe he is filling up whilst on boob.
Through pumping, I have had mixed results. I’m currently producing about 2/3 of his intake, but I’m fairly convinced that is because my body rejects pumping. How do I know this? I don’t. But I have heard from other folks that pumping isn’t necessarily indicative of supply, and I’m hanging my hat on that.
I have been itching to integrate breast feeding. I looooooathe pumping. It’s the most dehumanizing experience I’ve every had. I’m attaching vacuums to my nipples, which are now sore all the time. There is no way around that sad and painful truth. When I’m done with my pump, I fully intend to take a baseball bat to it ala Office Space.
It’s exhausting, and depending on when it lines up with Chick’s feeding, impossible to juggle. If, for example, his late night feeding lines up with my pump session, I am up for 1.5 to 2 hours in the middle of the night. I have to feed him, then pump, put him back down, then wash up all the pumping equipment. Even though Chick is a great sleeper, I don’t see the benefits of it. If it doesn’t line up, I won’t sleep for more than an hour and a half at a time because these blocks of sleep are interrupted by motherfucking pumping.
The other night Mr. O was feeding Chick. Afterwards, Chick was sleeping on his chest. I walked into the room and thought, I totally envy him. Mr. O, that is. I envy Mr. O because he gets to bond and hold Chick after a feeding. I’m in a mad hurry to put him down because my boobs are usually about to explode and I need to get my pump on. I’m not bonding with him because the pump keeps getting in the way.
When I went in for his one month earlier, I was all set to lay down the law. Either the formula goes or I do. I can’t keep this up. But with his new found milk allergy, the NP didn’t want to change up too much in his diet. So I’m stuck with this stupid scenario for at least another week. In the meantime, I have some thinking to do…
If I honestly ask myself why I haven’t given up already, if has nothing to do with breast milk. I know this is terribly unfashionable, but I don’t believe that breast milk will give Chick super powers. There are some perks, sure. But for every La Leche League devotee, there are other researchers that say benefits are inconclusive. I’m not really interested in a debate on this– we all do what we think is best for our child, and that’s that.
I keep holding on to breast feeding because I love the feeding part. I can’t tell you how much I love the connection between me and Chick when I’m breast feeding. It almost doesn’t matter how much food he gets– that 40 minutes twice a day is the best part of my day. It doesn’t really matter to me if he needs a bottle to top it off with afterwards.
What I’d really like to do it isn’t to wean Chick from formula onto breast milk, but to wean me from pumping.
Any thoughts or ideas on how to do this rationally and sans baseball bat?