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...