Sunday, August 30, 2009

Finding Comfort

Being married and having children at younger ages (wed at 22 and birthed at 26, 29, and 31), has forced me to age earlier. I don't mind it; in fact I am really excited about the transition in life I am about to make. I think my thirties and forties will be exciting years. I am going to get to watch my children grow and pursue some things for myself at the same time. I have found comfort in where we are in our lives.

In the last 6 weeks or so I have been having some trouble maintaining a sufficient milk supply for Otis. I never thought this would be an issue for me. I nursed Sam strongly for 2 years and Arlo for 16 months. Never once did I have more than a minor nursing issue.
It has been important to me to parent in such a way that I foster and nurture the attachment relationship with my children. I consider breastfeeding to be one of the core elements. This situation I am in is very foreign to me and I am not happy about it.
As my milk supply has decreased, Otis has been more and more reluctant to nurse. We've been supplementing with little bits of solid food, but rapidly he is wanting MORE! He loves it and has only encountered one foe so far: carrots!
In the last week he's been waking at night, wanting to nurse but becoming very frustrated with my lack of milk and extremely slow let-down (3 minutes or more) and just giving up and refusing the breast. It is not a good feeling to have your baby refuse your breast.
Those of you that know me well will know that when I write that I have been extremely reluctant to offer any other supplements, you know I mean it with valor.
However, after two particularly rough nights, we have started giving Otis some goats milk in a bottle. I offer him the breast first, but if he refuses I will give him a bottle.
He loves it.
Tonight he drank 4.5 ounces of goats milk, about a 1/3 cup of peaches with oatmeal cereal, nursed on both sides (based on my pumping experience, I'd guess it was about 5 ounces of breast milk) and he gummed a teething biscuit to death. Now he is sleeping soundly and should be with a tummy as full as he must have!
Becoming comfortable with this is very, very hard for me. Part of me feels like I am failing Otis; part of me is embarrassed; part of me is scared to tell some of my friends, as crazy as that sounds. Most of me knows this is all okay and is such a minor thing in the grand scheme of raising him; that there will be much harder challenges in the future. I just never thought I that I would find myself having to remember to grab a bottle of milk before I head upstairs to bed.
Tonight when I nursed Otis he fell asleep at my breast and he hasn't done that in months. It felt wonderful and easy. Nursing Otis up to this point has not been wonderful and easy and so I am now comforted just a little bit...


Tara said...

Aww, I know you are doing a great job with him... following their cues is important even if they lead you in ways you didn't expect or didn't think you'd ever want to do!

Your last sentence made me wonder though... I have not talked to you enough in the last 6 months :( to know all the reasons nursing him has not been wonderful and easy, but do you think there's something going on with him that makes nursing difficult and now it's manifesting in your decreased supply? A latch problem, minor tongue-tie, something in his neck out of whack that makes nursing uncomfortable for him, etc.? Or any health reasons you'd have a decreased supply? Just wanting to brainstorm since that's not your norm. Good luck!

jane said...

I'm sorry things are not as you would have imagined them. I understand the mental adjustment that it requires and hope you can be as gentle with yourself as you would be with any of us. (insert cozy sista hug here!)
Hoping many good days ahead for you and Otis!

Gizella said...

you are such a good mom to try and go with it, even with these feelings. parenthood is nothing if not a mirror. beaming love from CA gizi

Kim in Wenatchee.... said...

Oh, Amanda, you have done so wonderful raising your three boys. And now that Otis is challenging your ability to supply milk....try not to worry about it. Like you said, there will be bigger things to worry about. Every child is different, and every nursing relationship is different. With my firstborn, I only made it 5.5 mo, 2ndborn was 16.5 mo, and 3rdborn was 17.5 mo. Every OUNCE they get is precious and proof of your hardwork. Just remember, you are doing the right thing for your child!!!! Being a mother of 3 is hard enough, try not to put extra pressure on yourself. I know that BF is part of your core of mothering, but I know doing what is best for yourself and your family is also important. ((HUGS)) Try to increase your protein intake in the AM, and (LOL) increase your rest, I know those were always good suggestions at LLL. If you need anything I can help with, let me know! Even though I'm all the way over here, I can try to help! Remember, you are doing a WONDERFUL job!!!

dandelionlady said...

I found you! I loved your pictures from Mexico. I feel for you with the supplementation and worries. I know I saw a happy baby who loves his momma today, so I wouldn't worry too much about it!

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