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Loving and Not Loving Breastfeeding at the Same Time

by Amanda on September 29, 2009
category: 0 – 1 year (baby),Feeding

Piknikas My baby boy is almost 7 months old and he is still exclusively breastfed. However, I am not loving breastfeeding as much as I did with my first child. With my first child I had planned on weaning her at a year, but I wasn’t ready and ended up nursing her for 14 months. (I wrote about my decision to continue breastfeeding here.) I stopped at 14 months, because I started throwing up every day with morning, noon, and night sickness with my second pregnancy. I think the fact that I have been either pregnant or nursing for the last 3 years is taking a toll on me.

All the reasons why I want my body back are completely selfish. I can’t leave for extended periods of time. My baby is still waking up 3 times a night to nurse. Because he has been waking up around 10:30 p.m., I can’t even go out after bedtime. My nipples still get raw and sore sometimes. Logically I know these reasons are not a big deal.

As much as I selfishly want breastfeeding to end, I selfishly want it to keep going. I love not doing dishes. I love that I don’t have to learn a whole new skill of mixing formula and finding which bottle or cup is best. I also really love the bonding time with my son. It is fantastic that my 2 year old daughter sees her brother being fed and knows that breastfeeding is completely normal. I love it when she offers to feed her brother and pulls her shirt up.

I also love that it is the best possible source of nourishment I can give him. To be perfectly honest, I am terrified of formula. I know some women have to use formula and choose to use it. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. But for me formula is not really an option.  As long as I can produce milk his first year of life, he will get boobie milk.

I have mentioned before that I am marathon training and this adds extra stress to my breastfeeding relationship. On my long runs I am gone from the house for 4 hours. I nurse my baby before I leave in the morning and he wakes up hungry. I don’t have a pump anymore. I would have to increase demand my pumping daily to increase my supply, because I don’t make extra milk.

I contacted Heather at RunFasterMommy.com, because she has trained for a marathon and breastfed at the same time. I asked her about supplementing formula on the days I have long runs. I also asked Heather if it was selfish of me to supplement. She said that it wasn’t and gave me some tips on how to do it. Heather also pointed out that if I gave up my training that I would grow to resent breastfeeding.  I couldn’t agree more. My pediatrician also said I could keep training and to drink tons of water.

With my pediatrician’s help and some full sized samples from her huge stash of formula, my husband now has a tool in his toolbelt if our boy is crying a lot and can’t wait to be nursed.  We have not had to use the supplement yet, but we both feel better knowing that we have something that we can give our baby if I can’t make it home fast enough. I hope that I won’t have to use the supplement.

For now I am going to keep up breastfeeding and enjoy this precious time, but a part of me can’t help but count down until it is over too.

- photo courtesy of c r z

8 Responses to Loving and Not Loving Breastfeeding at the Same Time

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Katie
    September 29, 2009 @ 11:40 am

    Last year I was training for a marathon and breastfeeding too, but it was a little different. My training started when Kaylee was about 9 months old, so she was eating some solid food as well. To be honest, I hated breastfeeding, but wound up breastfeeding Kaylee for just about two years. I have asthma and there are some other autoimmune diseases that run in the family. I just really felt that breastfeeding her until her immune system was more mature was giving her a better chance.

    I did notice breastfeeding and training hard took a toll on my body. I was bruising really easily and got sick easily. It’s definitely hard! Hang in there! And don’t worry about supplementing!

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Stephanie
    September 29, 2009 @ 1:10 pm

    Amanda,

    I totally agree with you. I am in the same predicament. More so on the fact that I can’t leave for extended periods of time. Ryan refuses to take a bottle! Does bmilk taste different thawed out than fresh from the breast?
    It’s so frustrating. I mean I fought for 6 weeks to get him to nurse so I feel like b/c he is exclusively nursing I shouldnt be frustrated with him taking a bottle since this is what I wanted anyway. But I am tired of pumping a bottle and just dumping it afterwards. It’s a waste of my time.Yet, I am afraid not to pump for fear he will go starving. I am never gone for more than 4 hours so he wouldnt “starve” and thats the kind of schedule he should be on anyway.. and if I left baby food then he should be alright, right? So I feel for you! I admire the fact you are keeping up with it considering the fact you are training and need to do so much to keep up your training and your supply! When do you plan to wean if I may ask?

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Stephanie
    September 29, 2009 @ 1:12 pm

    -I forgot to mention, I tried to give him formula out of a bottle, only 2 oz and he drank it! but not bmilk. that makes me mad bc i DONT want him to have formula. Because if thats the case, whats the point of nursing..

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Barb
    September 29, 2009 @ 4:26 pm

    You’re an awesome mom whatever you choose Amanda! Anyone who knows you knows that :) I’ll keep praying that you and the little guy can work together to work something out that pleases both of you.

  • Comment by Amanda
    September 29, 2009 @ 9:46 pm

    @Katie – Thank you so much for your encouragement! It is awesome to hear from someone who has “been there and done that.” It is a good point, it IS hard on your body. I just cant seem to drink and eat enough. My body doesn’t know what to do with itself! :)

    @Stephanie – I am so sorry this is frustrating for you. I know pouring out uneaten milk is annoying! We do feed our boy jars when I am not around and that helps a little. I don’t think there is that much difference between defrosted milk and straight from the boob. Maybe the defrosted milk isn’t warm enough? I am with you on the formula. I too am afraid that my baby would start to prefer formula. That is why we have it as a back up in case my husband can’t calm Roman down. It is sort of a last case scenario. I am planning on weaning at 1 years old, because that is when you can switch to cow’s milk. Hang in there! Maybe the jars will do the trick!?

    @Barb – Thanks!

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Tracy
    September 30, 2009 @ 2:02 am

    I dont think that you are being selfish at all…you are just being too hard on yourself! Congrats for breastfeeding this far! Good luck with the training. ;-)

  • Gravatar September 30, 2009 @ 4:18 pm

    Breastfeeding is definitely tough. I’m nursing baby #3, who is 8 months old. She’s been difficult and won’t take a bottle at all. Loves cups, though, but putting milk in one just confuses her.

    The basic problem is that despite the many times I tried to get DH to teach her to take a bottle while I ran errands, I’d come home and he’d always say she hadn’t been hungry so he didn’t try. Little rascal just didn’t clue him in about her hunger until I was home. The other two never pulled that stunt.

    Nothing wrong with wanting to do things for yourself. Breastfeeding is an amazing experience and an amazing responsibility, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get tired of it or supplement with formula so you can do more things.

    I’d probably do the same if I didn’t have a pump. You do what you have to do.

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Amy
    October 1, 2009 @ 10:03 pm

    Stephanie,
    Check out http://www.kellymom.com/bf/pumping/lipase-expressedmilk.html
    Here’s what the article says: “A few mothers find that their refrigerated or frozen milk begins to smell or taste soapy, sour, or even rancid soon after it’s stored, even though all storage guidelines have been followed closely. Per Lawrence & Lawrence (p. 781), the speculation is that these mothers have an excess of the enzyme lipase in their milk, which begins to break down the milk fat soon after the milk is expressed. Most babies do not mind a mild change in taste, and the milk is not harmful, but the stronger the taste the more likely that baby will reject it.”

    I had the same issues with my babies refusing frozen milk. It seems to sour once I freeze it. I could pump and then leave it at room temp (up to 10 hours), and they would take it, but if I freeze it or even refrigerate it, it starts to sour. I’ve wasted tons of milk :(

    Amanda, thanks for the article. Most days I really love breastfeeding (still nursing my 4th baby, 15 months and going strong), especially when she’s crying. I know the one thing that will always calm her down. But there have been a few times where I’d really love to stop. It really helps to have an easy baby though :) Praise the Lord! Ladies, our time with our babies is so short. Enjoy this special season in your lives!

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