Oh, the roller coaster of breastfeeding Porter. It's 'our thing' at the moment and it's occupying 90% of my (extremely low functioning) brain. Bear with me.
I miss the days of nursing both Truman and Cecelia when we rode smoothly along the path without too many speed bumps along the way. I mean, Truman was just a fatty who loved the boob for a year. He nursed for comfort and it was my tool that ALWAYS worked to soothe a (rarely) fussy boy. Super awesome intro to being a breastfeeding mama, when it worked and was peaceful and relaxing and totally amazing.
Cecelia's biggest obstacle with nursing was that the girl loved it so much, she flat out refused the bottle with such intensity that I should have known she'd always be our spit fire. She nursed for sixteen months and then *I* made the decision to wean her. Again: a positive experience that was great for bonding and left me feeling confident and excited for one more go-round.
But Porter boy? He may be a happy, chill little dude but holy smokes. He is totally his own person and is really driving home his point that, 'Hey guys! I'm different than my siblings! So watch out and don't assume things will be as easy as they were with them for our breastfeeding relationship.'
Because right now it's anything but easy. It's stressful, with none of those happy, positive, blissful emotions that came along with nursing my other babies. It's hard this time, guys. He obviously wants the bottle over the boob and I'm too stubborn to throw in the towel all together just yet, although I know he would be more than happy to be done nursing.
No, really. He really doesn't want to nurse for more than 5 minutes at a time. And even then it's a session full of grunts and whines and nearly yanking my nipple off of my boob. He chills out when the first let down comes but when the flow slows back down? Done-zo. Nope. He's over it and now he has begun to cry after these snack sessions, which really bothers me. It makes me want to cry, too, little dude.
(I made Truman take this picture the other day, realizing that our days nursing may be numbered)
I'm rational enough to know that a compromise had to be made: he wants bottles, I want to nurse, so we are doing a little bit of both.
When we are at home, I will nurse my baby boy and pray that somehow he stays latched and is content for more than a few minutes. It rarely happens, unless he manages to fall asleep and then he will sort of nurse until he just falls off the boob. If he is angry after a nursing session, I try to distract him. If that doesn't work, I heat up a bottle of breast milk and watch him gulp it down in record time. I really do love seeing him content and happy and fed but I admit it's hard to watch him love those freaking bottles so much.
Once I give a bottle that means I need to pump. Sometimes this is feasible and other times, with three children needing the HELL out of me, it's just not. Because Porter is my third baby, this major speed bump (dead end?) in our nursing relationship means that I just do not have unlimited time to devote to pumping. Perhaps if he was my first baby, if I wasn't totally shattered by having such a difficult nurser, I could pump and do skin-to-skin and just focus on this issue without as many distractions. I don't know, but reality with three children says that making huge changes in our daily 'routine' is just not happening. I love you, Porter, but I just cannot find the time and energy to force you to nurse.
Remember how his poops were constantly watery and green? Now that he's been getting bottles from me and Lori they are beautifully golden. Meaning when he nurses he is getting only fore milk and therefore poops the color of spinach, but when he takes breast milk bottles he drinks the hind milk in there, too. So at least I can stop worrying that something is majorly wrong with him internally. He just isn't nursing enough to get the fatty stuff. Hmpf.
This is his second week of daycare and he's been rocking Lori's face off. Nearly every time I've picked him up, he's been cooing and smiling at her, and she just loves my boy so much. He probably loves her, too, because she gives him his drug of choice: a bottle full of milk. Actually, a LOT of milk. Like, more milk during those 8 hours we are apart than either one of the other kids ever DREAMED of consuming. Lori is doing her best to pace him but when he is hysterical for more milk it's definitely difficult to deny the little piggie.
And so? Another really big moment here, aside from admitting he needs bottles even at home? We bought our first ever formula last weekend and it hit me a lot harder than I could have anticipated. I nearly shed a freaking tear in Target as I was looking at the different options because WHY won't my baby just nurse like he is supposed to?? I am pumping three times per day at work and once at night, plus will pump 2-3 times on my days at home and I am freaking exhausted. I'll keep pumping but I just cannot match his intake at daycare. And I don't want to burn through my entire freezer stash right now, since I want to have that emergency stash for a time when he really will not nurse anymore and if my pumping output drops. I'd like him to have *some* breast milk for as long as possible.
I don't think this is a supply issue or really any fault of my own, so I promise I'm not beating myself up about it. The milk is there and I'm pumping about 4-5 oz each time which is similar to what I've done in the past. This is a Porter thing. He loves bottles. He doesn't want to be patient for the change in flow at the breast. It's really hard for me to come to terms with all of this, as I'm sure you can tell. Beginning this week, he is getting one formula bottle from Lori and two breast milk bottles: one that I try to freshly pump the day before and one that is from my freezer stash. He has taken two bottles of formula from Lori without batting an eye (of COURSE!) and for now this is working, if you define 'working' as keeping the baby fed and happy.
Porter was never super fussy but he really is more content than ever with a full belly. He looks fatter to me, his poops are normal, and he is happy. So I will work on that happiness outcome on my end, I suppose.
The bottom line is that my boy needs to be fed. I can only fight for nursing for so long, and I will continue to do so until it just doesn't make sense anymore. Nate assures me that I'm still a great mom even though my baby doesn't want to nurse. I need to let go of the guilt and of the sense of defeat because truly, I'm doing the best that I can. I appreciate all of the comments and ideas of things to try and am still talking to my LC cousin, but I also cannot stress about this any more. It is what it is. And it's kind of a lot right now to nurse, give bottles, pump, and repeat. We'll see how it goes.
Wow, I was going to try and make this post more chipper and sarcastic and upbeat but go figure----I just don't have the energy to make it an upbeat post. It's just reality and I'm laying it all out there, hoping you don't judge me or think that I'm not trying hard enough to encourage nursing and discourage the bottle. A part of me knows that nobody else could possibly care about this issue of how my baby gets fed as much as I do.
I just love this little stinker so much and want what is best for him. But I also have to go with the flow and breathe. And take lots of selfies with him since he is growing up way too quickly for my liking.
Thus ends my post about breastfeeding drama, just shy of three months into my third baby. Who could have guessed?