I'm having a dark day and need to some support and advice.
I'm exhausted, and I have to make a change. I can't keep this schedule anymore. My DS was born 8 weeks premature in June, so I have pumped from the beginning. We managed to do some breast feeding for a few wonderful months, but then he was diagnosed with GERD and in spite of a lot of creative breast feeding positions, the bottle was best to keep him upright. With a heavy sigh, I returned full-time to pumping.
I have pumped 7-8x a day since he was born and I continue to do so. I pump every 3-3 1/2 hours with one 5 1/2 stretch at night. The 5 1/2 hours is up from 5 hours, and it has taken me a month to even get that extra half hour in, and still I have seen a drop in my supply with that one small change.
He's 9 months old (7 months adjusted) and we've started rice cereal, but my milk is really his food source. I had *so* hoped to breastfeed, even if it was via bottle, until he was 1 year (which is really 14 months for him), but the lack of sleep has me so physically and mentally exhausted, I just can't do it anymore, I've been running on empty for months now, and I am tired too of my nipples still hurting all the time. His daytime naps are only around 30 minutes, so I'm not getting any sleep during the day, and even though he goes 8-9 hours at night, I am not since I am up usually 2ce during that time to pump. I don't think I've slept more than 4 or 4 1/2 hours consecutively since June. The constant pumping has just become too much, and I can't take it anymore.
So, what do you all advise? Can you help me to see some options? Can I continue to pump and hope my supply doesn't completely disappear if I drop a session or two and supplement a feed or two each day with formula? How do I make the switch to some formula feeds, and how do I find an acceptable formula? And biggest yet, how do I deal with the guilt? This is such a hard decision, and I am so torn up about it, but it has been on my mind for quite some time now, and I can't continue this way.
I don't have a LLL where I live, and I don't have a lactation consultant available to me, so you all are my link. I thank you in advance for any ideas and help, and thanks for listening!