Search motherhood on the internet and you will find numerous blog posts about dozens of topics. One of the hottest topics is breastfeeding vs. formula feeding. Hospitals aren't even giving pacifiers any more to encourage breast feeding. Insurance companies offer breast pumps for free as well. As a culture we advocate very strongly for breast feeding. And I think that is awesome. There are a ton of resources out there for women to help them breast feed. That's great. Most soon to be mothers that I talk to say that they are going to try to breast feed. We have reached a point that women feel confident enough to try to breast feed. I think all of that is awesome.
Breast feeding is really hard and even when people don't mean to they add stress to the process. There are in my estimation about 10,212 things that could go wrong with what is supposed to be a natural process. In my case, I can't produce enough milk. Lily is two months old today and taking 6 oz at every feeding. The last few days I have pumped have garnered about 2 oz. per day. At that rate it would take me 3 DAYS to give her ONE bottle.
I'm sure there are numerous websites with hundreds of tips on how to produce more. And I have a few ideas from friends. I might try them, but the bottom line is that I am a working mother of two. Besides the things that I have to do, I want to play with my son and spend time with my husband and my daughter. It is difficult to plan a separate meal for me. It is difficult for me to set aside time away from all 3 of them to pump extra. Basically, it is difficult for me to validate taking so much time away from my family to create more milk that my body is supposed to produce on its own. I don't want to go to extreme lengths to make my body do this because that will stress me out.
With my son, I couldn't produce enough either. However, my hypothyroidism wasn't under control. Now it is, so I thought this time around it would be easier. One of the nurses or doctors even said that it might be easier this time. This time I thought I would just start magically producing all that was needed. The first week or so hurt a lot, but she didn't seem to be hungry. Everything was going well. A few more weeks passed and she seemed to be eating all the time. It seemed odd, but I was still on maternity leave and she was still little, so I fed her. Then I started working again and started pumping. I would get 3 to 4 oz a day. She was eating 4 or 5 oz. per bottle. I knew is wasn't enough, but it was almost one bottle a day. A couple more weeks passed. She is eating 6 oz. per bottle and I'm producing 1 or 2 oz per day.
So I give up. I can't do it and I feel like a failure as a mother.
Well I don't completely give up because I'm still pumping at least once a day to see if I can get anything at all for her. And I don't completely feel like a failure. In my head, I know my ability to breastfeed does not determine my maternal success. I talked to my husband about it and the first thing he said was, "This doesn't make you a bad mother. This doesn't mean you can't provide for her." I think he was reading my mind.
I won't give in to those thoughts though. I'm going to keep pumping and feeding the little bit I can for as long as I can. Every little bit helps and when I can't produce any more, I will be happy with what I have been able to do. I am a good mother and my goodness is not dependent on my ability to breastfeed.