Thursday, August 21, 2008
End of Something Good and on to Something Else That is Good
So I debated to blog about this topic, breast milk, and decided to go ahead with it since it is a very real and the most current topic on my mind lately.
With some regret we have decided that it is time to switch to formula feeding for Harper and Lily. They have been feeding exclusively on breast milk for 3 months and it has been my utmost joy to provide this nutrition for them. Since I began pumping on May 15th I have become a more conscious consumer of food and beverage knowing that each nutrient that I put in my body would be converted into nourishment for my children. I developed a love for whole fruit smoothies, spinach, grilled fish, and continued taking my prenatal vitamins. Setting aside time to pump, approximately 20 minutes every 3-4 hours, was at times inconvenient but again, being reminded of the benefits for the babies encouraged me onward. However, lately I simply have not been able to keep up with them. I had surgery to remove a benign breast cyst when I was in high school and as a result was not able to express milk on my right breast so essentially I was only able to produce half of what they needed. Also, because the babies were in the hospital for two months and bottle fed I was not able to actually nurse which means that any attempts to nurse since we have been home has ended in irritated, tired, hungry babies and a disheartened mommy who gave into the bottle and said, "fine, it'll do." We started them on Enfimil "Gentle-ease" formula a couple of nights ago and I was pleasantly surprised when the girls did not even flinch at the changeover. If they haven't noticed any changes in taste maybe this will be easier than I thought. Instead of taking 3 ounces of breast milk they are feeding on an ounce of formula every 3-4 hours. I guess this is because formula is a little "heavier" than breast milk and fills them up faster. Also, they spit up more and haven't been having as many poopy diapers. Other than that everything seems to be fine for them.
It is a strange emotion letting "the milk dry up." For the past three months I have worked really hard and sacrificed a lot of time to pump for them. While they were in the hospital it was the only thing I could physically do for them that made me feel good about their weight gain and development of immunity and antibodies. Pumping has become a part of me and I know that sounds strange but it is kind of like getting a drastic haircut - Maybe you have waited a long time to see how long you can grow your hair and then all of a sudden you just want to chop it and you are excited for the change but nervous at the same time because you worry that you won't like it. I am excited to be done with pumping... I look forward to taking a nap or going to bed at night knowing that if the babies sleep for 6, 7, 8 hours so can I because I don't have to wake up to a full aching breast. I can have company over to my house or go someplace else and not have to make a plan for when I can pump and how I can store the milk if I am not home. On the other hand I am just nervous to let it go because I wonder in my head, "did they get everything that they needed from me?" and also I think I will feel responsible and guilty if they experience any gas pains and/or constipation from the formula. What does make me feel a lot better is the fact that I trust Nick and his opinion is that it is time to switch to formula for a lot of good and justified reasons. I know that if he had any reservations he would say so and I would still be pumping.
So this week I'll return the Medela Symphony to Storkland and put the rental fee of $54 per month towards formula which is so expensive by the way! $23 a can for the kind our pediatrician recommended. Target makes it's off-brand for half the price of the brand name so we absolutely will be switching to Target formula before the week is over! And the good news is milk comes back with every pregnancy so "next time" when there is just one baby to feed I can experience breast feeding entirely differently and know what to expect!
So, there will be no crying over a little dryed up milk.