How do I feel about supplementing? That's an interesting question. I am, after all, one of the numerous breast feeding and pumping queens. I thought this would feel a bit like being forcibly removed from the throne. Dethroned or not, it actually feels ok. It actually feels more than ok.
Many mommies can probably relate. And even if not over the pressure to breast feed, I'm sure there is sympathy over the pressure to (insert mommy-ING task here). We mommies feel pressure, real or imagined from many sources. We have pressure from society, from doctors, from nurses, from other mommies we know, other mommies we don't know, random strangers, teachers, family members, and mostly, from ourselves. This pressure can be implied, outright spoken, suggested with a look, or even be not present at all, just assumed on the receiving end. It could be raised eyebrows at giving your kid a sprite. It could be mumbled words of "She should really stop having kids". It could be a question of "Are you sure you want to do that?" Or it could just be us assuming that people are looking down on us when we make a decision that is related to any part of parenting.
So why do I feel so good about adding in formula to Johnny's diet? Because, plain and simple, I needed the help. With that first addition, I felt instant relief, I felt all the pumping stress wash away, and I felt good about continuing to pump again. Funny that adding in formula made it feel good to pump again. I needed a helper and the formula was able to provide it for me. If you haven't experienced is guilt and worry, imagine a hard day with the kids, multiple injuries, no naps, barely got anything to eat, everyone is still in their jammies, you have a cold, and your husband calls to say he is on his way home from work early and he is picking up pizza, a movie, and ice cream on the way. That instant relief of "help is on the way" is exactly what I felt.
So if people want to judge me, so what? I have gotten rid of the imaginary judginess and if people want to act like they have walked in my shoes then I could care less. I have worked hard for the past eight months to make, what I felt, was the best nutritional decision for my son. Now I have help and I am goings keep working hard to maintain a decent balance of breast milk and formula. And there may be one day that he gets mostly formula or all formula, but that'll be ok by me. And anyone that cares for us and knows our battle will find it ok too.
Logistics wise, I don't feel like I am hemmoraging milk out of my stash anymore. In fact, this week I have only pulled to bags the whole week as opposed to two to three bags a day that was the norm fr the past three or four. If I can keep this pattern up then great! I will just supplement as we have been doing and just have extra milk from my stash to feed him for awhile. If I have another major dip in supply (although you can't get much lower than 10-14 ounces a day) then I will have to both up my supplementing an ounce at a time and dip into my stash. I would really like him to get some breast milk all the way to a year so we will see if we can make that happen! The pumping is still hard work and still ties me down for about three hours a day, but as stated, it doesn't feel like a burden anymore. It has become a happy choice again and one my heart feels good about once more.
Thanks again for everyone's support and suggestions so far! It really means a lot to me.