My breastfeeding relationship with Max is over. It's been hanging by a thread for weeks now and this weekend made me realize I need to end the fight.
I worked so hard breastfeed Max. I've mentioned before how pre-pregnancy I was planning to breastfeed exclusively for a year. Ha. But after lots of tears, sore boobs, hours on breastfeeding message boards and multiple visits to the lactation consultants, I did eventually feed him breast milk exclusively.
Then I went back to work.
My supply dropped immediately. I went from pumping 8-9 oz to 2-3oz. That's total, not per side. I took fennugreek and drank dark beer with no results. I tried pumping frequently but I was cramming 40 hours of work into only 24. Breaking away for 20-30 minutes was hard. I found myself missing a pump without realizing it or getting called into last minute meetings screwing up my schedule. My frozen stash ran out and I eventually had to start supplementing his day care bottles
Max, getting more and more bottles at day care started to prefer them. Getting him to nurse because increasingly frustrating and as of this weekend he just plain stopped. He screams when I try to nurse him and won't stop screaming until he gets a bottle
So today I realized it was over. After struggling to get him to nurse for 10 minutes I remembered what I vowed to myself when I went back to work. "I'll breastfeed as long as I can. When it's over, it's over and I won't drive myself bonkers trying to get it to work". So I gave him a bottle and I cried.
I cried that I couldn't be the "super mom" who worked, breastfed, cloth diapered, cooked organic meals every night and still managed to keep her regular eyebrow wax appointment. I cried because I now had to deal with smelly poop, constantly washing the ten million piece Dr. Brown Bottles, and the added formula cost to our budget. I cried because I don't get those extra 500 calories a day. I cried because I felt guilty. I cried because I felt like a failure. I was a sobbing, mascara running, snotty-nosed hot mess. Hell, I'm still a hot mess as I write this post.
Most of all I cried because I felt that the special bond that Max and I shared had come to an end. That final bit of physicality of our relationship that started when I was pregnant was over and I wasn't sure that I was ready for the end.
As my little cries turned into big sobs, Max reached up and put his tiny little hand around my pinkie finger and looked into my eyes. Then he spit the bottle out of his mouth and smiled at me.
Maybe it will be okay after all.