A little over a week ago, I was frustrated with breastfeeding. Exhausted, sore, conflicted, guilty, and more than a little bit depressed, I turned to this little blog to vent my frustrations and anxieties. What wonderful support I received! Those comments helped me through a very rough night. I nursed Atticus with my blackberry close by and read those comments. Each comment was different: some advocating staying with exclusive breastfeeding, other suggesting both, and a few discussing the advantages of formula. Each mother emphasized that breastfeeding can be a challenge and several mothers offered stories of encouragement.
The next morning Sam and I took Atticus to the doctor to check his weight and rule out any other health issues that may have been instrumental in the screamfest of the day prior. Atticus is marvelously healthy; within 9 days he had gained 15 ounces. Little Man is sitting at 11 pounds, 7 ounces right now!
We talked at length with the doctor and she said Atticus was in the middle of a growth spurt. However, because Atticus is so good with breastfeeding (he had a good latch from day one) she said that maybe I could give myself permission to supplement with formula.
I thought it interesting that she chose with word "permission." I needed to let myself be okay with the fact that I may need a little help, I needed to relax, and I needed to quit with the perfectionist parenting. I was so worried about "doing the right thing" that I was a walking ball of tension. Tension is certainly not a friend to breastfeeding!
After much discussion, Sam and I decided to alternate feedings between breast and bottle. In the end this didn't happen. I've felt much freer and I've been mostly breastfeeding. Atticus typically eats 10 to 12 times a day. This past week he has only had two bottle feedings a day. So I'm still breastfeeding over 80% of the time! Hope feeds him an afternoon bottle and Sam does one night bottle; the rest of the time Atticus is fed by mom.
The bonus part is that Sam and Hope are thrilled with this decision. I didn't realize this until we had a family discussion about what to do, but Sam really wanted a chance to feed Atticus and Hope has enjoyed the added big sister responsiblity of feeding and burping Atticus.
Another positive aspect of supplementing is that I'm getting more time in with Hope. Since I was spending so much time with Atticus, I haven't been able to hang out with my girl. Since we are supplementing I've been able to take Hope to the movies and we had a chance to bake.
Anyhoo, I wanted to let you all know that I'm doing much better (and as a result, my family is much happier) and that I'm deeply appreciative of all the support.