My goal was to breastfeed my daughter until she was one. I am happy to report that I was successful, however, I had no idea what the journey of being a milk supplier would entail once my maternity leave was over.
You may have heard the phrase “Nipple Confusion” this was a Greek term to me until I was preparing for motherhood. When it was time to return to work I realized I had been so worried of Nipple Confusion that I had not prepared enough for what result may happen. At three weeks we could enjoy a dinner out or have a family member feed our daughter with a pumped bottle when visiting. She could take the bottle at any temperature and was happy as can be. I was so afraid of my baby refusing to breastfeed that I cautiously backed away from continuing to use a bottle.
Fast forward to straight breastfeeding for three months and then attempting to bottle feed to prepare for daycare. My daughter would go on a hunger strike! We tried everything… having to leave the house when my husband would feed her with a bottle, different bottles, warming the bottle, different nipple flows… nothing worked!
Daycare was rough for the first 2 weeks. She would gorge herself once we got home at night. I was reassured that she will take it from the bottle eventually, it just may take time. Sure enough she quickly grew to understand that when mom is not around her only option is taking from a bottle. I have learned from my mistake that next time around I will make certain I will introduce a bottle more prior to going back to work.
Supplementing is not the end of the world
Heading back to work I had to pump between phone calls and client meetings I found it very tedious to find the time to strap the pump on. In the first weeks it was very stressful and I will admit I broke down crying one day. Yes, in front of all my coworkers. I was upset that I had a plan and my plan was changing. My baby was supposed to be consuming breast milk for a full year and I could not produce more than 2-3 ounces while at work.
After I had a good cry I realized I can only do what my body will let me. Not every woman can breastfeed and I have already been able to commit to three months. As my frozen milk supply diminished I did resort to mixing my breast milk with formula. It was never my plan but plans do change and I had to adjust. I had to learn to relax and understand that some supplies don’t last forever.
Do what feels right for you. I started my journey on the hope to supply a nutritious, affordable and convenient method of feeling my baby. A year in the moment seemed like an eternity but I would not change my decision if given the opportunity.