Since having Millie, I’m starting to realise I’m really quite selfish and a bit of a control freak! Well, I always knew both but it appears I’m even worse than I thought or hoped!
After weeks of suffering from a very sore nipple, I wrote a post the other week about slowly beginning to stop and move to formula (Its for the breast). Everyone was very supportive and empathetic with their comments about how well I had done and I had given my daughter the best start, which I did really appreciate, but it wasn’t the fact I was concerned for my daughter about moving from the ‘golden wonder juice’ to the ‘evil fat inducing, disease harbouring’ (not my beliefs but how it is often portrayed) formula. I knew my daughter would be fine, my son survived very well since he was 4 weeks on a completely formula diet until weaning and then cow’s milk at 2ish and there’s not an ounce of fat on him! No, my concern was for myself! I felt like a failure for not being able to get my daughter to feed correctly so that I wasn’t sore and hurting and therefore not getting to experience pain free, convenient feeding!
As it turned out, my nipple finally healed, now, at nearly 9 weeks of breastfeeding! I did replace one feed – the bedtime one – with formula but when I got to a week, when I said I would start replacing one of the other feeds with formula every couple of days, I realised that finally my nipple was healing so I continued as I was, with just the one change in formula. Everything was going well.
But then everything changed again!
Earlier this week (already feels like a lifetime ago) Stuart and I (and Millie) went to Torquay for a couple of nights while Callum enjoyed a stay with his grandparents. Millie decided to start refusing the boob. Or would take it and then, confused by the flow, would get stroppy with it and then refuse any more! But had no trouble taking her bottle! At 2 in the morning, this was not much fun!
I worried my milk was drying up. I blamed it on the glass of wine I had that night! Perhaps I was getting too stressed when feeding in public. But, truthfully, I think she preferred the bottle! It was easy, no need to work at it! The breastmilk flow was different and she didn’t know what to do with it anymore and swallowed a lot of air. Problem being, we were staying in a guesthouse style hotel with just a couple of bottles, limited milk powder and a pot of milton sterilised water! I didn’t have the supplies, a microwave, a proper steriliser, a pot of formula – certainly not at 2am! Then the next day in the restaurant for our lunch, she started fussing again and I started getting all self-conscious so I thought I would try when we got back to the car before we left to drive home. Still not interested! I started fretting. Stuart kindly ran to Boots (twice) to get some readymade formula and a sterilised bottle. He got back with the readymade formula but no bottle. Then I remembered I still had a bottle in the milton solution. Millie happily, hungrily drank the ready made formula (well some then a load more when we made a fuel stop). Was it time to admit defeat! Millie was choosing the bottle over me. I couldn’t remember the last time my boobs let down. Was it all over for the boob!
But this was what I originally planned so why was I upset?
It wasn’t my decision this time! It was out of my control! I wanted to decide when I switched from breast to formula not Millie, my boobs or some other force!
By the time I got to my parents to pick Callum up, Millie was hungry again, we had no sterilised bottle ready and I was determined to get her to accept my breast. I tried feeding her in the lounge but the same story – she started breastfeeding then again refused. I decided to go upstairs, out of everyone’s view, in the calm and darkness of a bedroom on our own. She still wasn’t interested so I decided to get tough! I tricked her! I tempted her with a dummy and when she went to suck I pushed her onto my breast. She would feed for a bit then realise and complain so I would do the same again until she finally accepted (she wasn’t happy to just have the dummy, she was definitely hungry).
I then did the same in the night and the next morning until she accepted the breast again.
I made the decision that I had to go back to fully breastfeeding now that my nipple was better and remove the confusion or the chance for her to reject me (no one likes to be rejected!). I was finally getting to the point where I could breastfeed without pain and be able to ‘enjoy’ the convenience, I wasn’t going to give it up yet!
Now she is happily feeding off me again without any trouble. We briefly went to feeding every 3 hours in the night for one night which she has hardly done during the night since she was born, previously going 6-8 hours at night. However, last night she went 5 hours so heading back in he right direction again.
So now, being away from the emotion of it all, thinking logically once again, I wonder whether I should’ve just let her do her thing. She was weaning naturally, I should’ve put my pride aside. *Slaps forehead*
I’m now back to the worry about how my Mum is going to feed her when I do my driver awareness course (naughty girl – speeding – another story!) – there will likely be 2 feeds across the 3 hour course and the time it takes me to get there and back. I guess I’m going to have to express – and she will have to use a bottle to feed! Hopefully, she will just accept it and it wont interfere with breast for this time.
Also, I’m pretty sure I will want to start moving from breast to bottle in a month but will have to start from scratch.
But it will be my choice to do so, when I’m ready. I will spend the next month making sure I have the right bottles and teats etc and I’ll be prepared! Well, that’s the plan but surely it will all change again in a weeks time!