I've made it to 3 months of breastfeeding and I feel like I am going to crack. This has been one of the most difficult things I have ever done, and so far it doesn't look like it's going to get easier. I go back to work on Wednesday, and both fear but partly hope that will give me a reason to quit (even though I really don't want to).
I have supply regulation issues...oversupply with the pump, undersupply and an unhappy baby without it. My supply is low right now, so maybe that's why I am too. I take herbs and drink my water, but even after weaning slowly from the pump after a bout of oversupply, my milk levels tank and then I have to pump to get them back up again, and so the cycle continues. Unfortunately, my baby doesn't really get that job done, even after multiple nursing vacations. I would have thought that by this time, with 3 months of nursing under our belt, she could regulate it more effectively, but I guess not.
Just the other day, another woman on the forum posted that she was going to stop breastfeeding and I felt so sad for her, and especially her baby. But I honestly completely understand. There are days I think long and hard about heading out to the store for some formula and calling it day, but I know I would regret it. My daughter was premature, so I feel like I need to give her every advantage, and I know formula just isn't the best thing for her.
On top of that, I know breastfeeding is convenient. We just took a family trip to California and it was so easy not to have to worry about bringing along food. Even after we lost the diaper bag (yeah, that happened), there was no panic moment about how we were going to feed her. I felt like supermom, just for about 10 seconds though.
But then there are days like today when I want to cry, because it takes an hour plus to satisfy her, every two hours, day and night. I am obsessed with the nursing scale we have, and it elates me when my daughter has gained well but makes me feel like a failure if she gains less than 7 ounces a week. I haven't slept for more than 3 hours straight since the day I gave birth. And soon, when I go back to my job where I work nights and barely sleep during the day as it is, I don't know how to sustain that without losing my sanity. Not to mention, that during my 12+ hour shifts as a RN, sometimes there just may not be an opportunity to pump, and then what will I do? Not being able to supply the food makes me feel like a bad mom, and sometimes not wanting to supply the food makes me feel even worse.
Oh, and I totally forgot (though absolutely will never forget), about the near 400 ounces of frozen milk I had stashed for when I go back to work that is so horribly funky rancid from excessive lipase no one warned me about that my daughter refuses it, even when mixed with fresh milk, because it's so bad. Sigh.
My breastfeeding goal was (is) a year, but I just do not know how to make it without becoming just wholly embittered by this experience. Please, send me your words of encouragement to keep going, because I really need them.