I am an exclusive pumper and not by choice.
Monster was in NICU for the first 6 days of her life. For the first 24 hours of her life no one could hold her, including me. She had a CPAP, a bunch of tubes down her throat, an iv, heart monitor and blood pressure cuff. Because of this I had to pump a few hours after giving birth. Worst experience ever. Sitting with these tubes on my breasts for 20 minutes with nothing happening. Twenty hours after I gave birth NICU called me and told me that if I didn’t have milk they were giving her formula. What?! I said no artificial nipples! I was devastated. I was so upset!
A few hours later I was able to try to breast feed. Monster tried to latch but had a hard time. The Lactation Consultant came in to help but wasn’t much help. I tried nipple shields and different positions, but I realized that I had a stubborn child who didn’t want to work at getting her dinner.
For the first 3 months Monster was eating 16-20 oz of milk a day which was great because I was pumping 25 oz. This slowly started to change. She was taking 25 oz a day and I was pumping 20. Um…. that doesn’t work! While pulling from my freezer stash I tried everything to increase my milk; herbs, teas, water, high protein, high fat, salmon, and beer. Nothing was working and I wasn’t going to see my doctor until the end of January. I realized one day that I need to start supplementing. *gasp.*
I don’t know why I had such a hard time with this. Thousands of babies are formula fed. And I’m only supplementing 1 bottle a day. Just 1! I was worried she was going to hate me later in her life, that she wouldn’t drink breast milk anymore. I was also concerned that the cost would set us back. I had to get over the thoughts that this meant I failed. That I couldn’t provide for my child which it did not. Monster just started eating more and more as she is a growing little girl!
I had to come to terms that supplementing was better than Monster starving. She may hate me when she’s a teenager but it’ll be because I don’t let her do something; not because I fed her formula. She still prefers breast milk and downs it faster than formula. I have always been thrifty so I have sent away for free samples of formula. I have traded with other Mom’s who have formula and that need wipes or coupons.
On a positive note my milk has increased a little since not worrying about it. This makes things so much easier!