There are so many emotions to being a new mother. And I think the worst of them all is guilt. You never really know what it means to give your life for someone until you become a mother.
Recently, I have been dealing with a very overwhelming sense of defeat. It’s surprisingly stressful when someone else depends on you, and not just in taking care of their needs, but for their very nourishment.
Breastfeeding is hard. I have said it before and I will continue to say it.
I was lucky, that in the beginning I was making more than enough milk for my little guy. In fact, I was proud of the little freezer stash I was building. There are a lot of moms that can’t do that and struggle every day to keep up with what baby is eating. During the first 12 weeks, your hormones are guiding the production. Which is good, because you’ve got a million other things to worry about.
After 12 weeks however, your body starts working on a supply and demand production model. And if you are like the millions of working moms in the United States, you’ve probably had to go back to work by then.
In order for me to continue pumping milk for Colt, I decided that I would pump twice a day while at work and I could squeeze in another 5 pumps between coming home and getting up in the morning.
But somewhere between Colt’s appetite increasing and going back to work, my supply was just making ends meet. It was sad not being able to add to my freezer stash. It was a wake up call that I might not make it 6 months, let alone a year.
A few weeks ago, thanks to a stint of food poisoning, I dropped my middle of the night (MOTN) pump. It seemed to be okay, as I was then producing just about what I did at 2am & 6am only now all at 6am.
But this past week, I started to notice a decrease. It was just a few ounces, but every ounce counts at this point. I had to defrost 20 ounces just so that he had bottles for daycare today.
Was it my fault for choosing sleep over pumping? Would my supply come back? Will my child continue with this increased need? Should I try Fenugreek? Should I start pumping at 2am again? Will I have to supplement with formula? Was it just my “cycle”? Am I drying up for good? All of these thoughts kept me awake at night. And none of the stress helped.
I barked at Mike a few times. He just didn’t understand that I needed to pump now. That I really needed the extra sleep. And, I’ll admit, I was guilty of this selfish feeling, that my son was drinking all of My Milk. Didn’t he understand how hard it was for me to produce that, and now he’s asking for more? (Please know that it was a fleeting feeling, it’s easy to forgive him when he looks at you with those blue eyes). It’s a very real feeling, and many mothers think the same thoughts.
Saturday night I started taking fenugreek. I should see an increase in the next few days if it works. And last night, Mike assured me that our son will not starve. And we won’t have to sell our house to afford formula. And that we will all benefit from worrying a little less.