At our last lactation consult, we discussed the amount of milk I was making and how the elimination diet was going. It seemed through pumping that I was making an adequate amount for about 1/4 of his feeds per day (6 or so ounces when he takes in 24 at least), but she pointed out that Tycho is going to be the best way to remove as much milk as possible, and to put him to the breast as often as I could.
So, with my mom’s support (she went to the appointment and helped me that weekend), we tried to get Tycho to latch again.
And we were successful.
Since that visit, we managed to wean off the nipple shield (thank god — while it was helpful in the beginning, it was a real pain to put on, and I was glad to rid of it!) and Tycho has been breastfeeding directly for his morning feed and one evening feed. Any milk I pump, and I’m consistently making about 6oz per day, is given to him either that night if Matt puts him to bed, or overnight for his 3-4am feeding.
I’m so incredibly happy to have had the opportunity to bring Tycho back to the breast. While we’re not exclusively breastfeeding or providing expressed milk yet, we’re hoping to get to that point before the end of the year — just means I’ll need to pump enough to meet his needs at daycare.
This journey has taught me so much about hard work, dedication, and putting someone else before myself. While I did have a great time challenging myself, and I’ll admit that’s been a big part of wanting to try again (to prove to myself that it can be done!), I did it mostly for my son. He thrived and continues to thrive on formula, but I’m happy to have that bit of bonding back and for both of us to experience it with no discomfort.
It has also taught me that breastfeeding itself comes with its own challenges, too. For instance, there are many times that he’ll pop off or, even worse, try to drag me with him while nursing as he tries to get a look at something. Covering him with a blanket isn’t terribly helpful — he wants to see the patterns! I’ve heard from many breastfeeding mamas that this was a phase that their babies went through, too, and that is what has been keeping me from thinking it was just me.
It’s also a bit uncomfortable from a few standpoints: I mean, my nipples need to get back into the swing of things and not feel so injured after the fact. It’s getting better, especially now that we’re off the shield, but it still remains. (Part of me thinks it’s actually nipple blanching, which I may write more about later.) And there’s the issue of breastfeeding outside the house, which we have yet to do but is something that will become an inevitability — while it’s convenient to not have to pack bottles and formula, I do feel a little uneasy still about “whipping it out” in public. More time and exposure (pun intended) will help, I’m sure, but it’s still an uncomfortable challenge!
So that’s where we are now. I’m happy to say that about half of Tycho’s feeds are now from the breast and that the rest is a combination of expressed milk and his wholesome, organic soy formula. I’m even happier that, no matter how we’ve been feeding him, so long as we keep his needs in mind… he’s been doing amazingly, and will only continue to do so.
And now, just because he’s so damn cute: