August is National Breastfeeding Month and I’m here to tell you there is no one way to feed your baby. I’m not a nurse or a lactation consultant. I’m a mom who has experienced having too little milk and having too much. Listen up. I’m about to tell you the most important thing you need to know about feeding your baby: Breastfeeding is awesome and so is formula.
I was sure I would breastfeed my son for one year, minimum. I was prepared to rock lactation. He was born on schedule. He latched well. I had milk. The lactation consultant said we were doing great.
We went home and continued breastfeeding but within a few weeks I wasn’t making enough milk. It wasn’t working. We supplemented with formula. By six months it was pretty much all formula. I would pump for 30 minutes and only get two ounces. I was disappointed. But he was growing. He was happy. Our pediatrician wasn’t concerned.
I told myself fed is best. That’s not to say I didn’t wish we weren’t having to buy so much formula. That stuff is expensive, y’all. For a while we were spending $125 a month on formula.
Before my daughter was born, I stocked up on fenugreek pills and Mother’s Milk Tea. I hoarded lactation cookie recipes. Then she came five weeks early. Once I knew we were both ok, I worried my milk wouldn’t be in.
Every kid is different. And we are different parents with every kid too – right down to our milk production. I had so much milk after my daughter was born, I had to pump at the hospital. We were discharged with about a gallon of milk. I was relieved.
I was still breastfeeding after a year. I told myself, my mom friends, my doctors and our pediatrician I was waiting for my daughter to wean herself. Some of y’all are laughing at this. Because it turns out kids don’t always do that. Yes, I said kids, not babies.
When my daughter turned three, one of the nurses at my doctor’s office said, “You know she’s not going to wean herself, right?” I laughed and said she was probably right about that. I wanted the end of breastfeeding to be as gentle as possible for my daughter and for my body. We took it gradually. And one summer evening, I told her we were done with baby milk. I said we could have extra bedtime stories and cuddles but no milk. It was fine the first night, a bit of a struggle on night two, and fine after.
Listen to your pediatrician and your instincts, but please don’t waste any time or energy feeling guilty about your breastfeeding journey, whatever it turns out to be. If your kid is breastfeeding and about to start kindergarten, cheer for your awesome crunchy self. If your baby is all about that formula life, let’s shake up some bottles and celebrate that powdered gold.
I never had any intention of breastfeeding for 40 months but I’m so grateful I was able to. I’m also grateful we had good formula for my son when he needed it.