Monday, August 4, 2014

Breast vs Bottle

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately about my breastfeeding experience.  Like most things with having a new little human to care for, this "plan" isn't going how I originally pictured.  During my pregnant state I pictured myself nursing my baby all the time, having quiet moments at night with her laying next to me latched on while we are both on the verge of sleep.  I told myself I would nurse for at least 12 months.  And now?  Well neither of those are likely to happen.
My full supply hasn't come in, and I find it difficult to keep up with my growing baby girl.  It's a rare day when she doesn't get any formula.  Just when I think I might be supplying enough and put the formula away in the pantry, it comes right back out the next day.
I'm still pumping three times a day, including once in the middle of the night.  So even though majority of the time Helena sleeps through the night, I am not.
If Helena does wake in the middle of the night she gets a bottle, just because that is easier and quicker.  I've only nursed her once at night, and that's because it was a "bad" night.  Baby girl wouldn't calm down, so on the boob she went.  Definitely not the quiet moment I visualized in my head.
And of course we all know the struggle we had the first 10 weeks with the nipple shield.  
Other than being frustrated that I'm not producing enough milk to provide for my growing baby, I think about the other little pains that come along with this current routine that I have in place.
Pumping is time consuming and boring.  I pump for about 18 minutes, and it's not fun.  Sometimes I'll get an itch, or I'll want to change the channel, or I'll have to use the bathroom.  During this pumping time I have no use of my hands because I'm holding the pumping things to my boobs.  The pump in the middle of the night is the worse, because I just sit in silence, since I don't want to wake Chris.  I'll put the video monitor in front of me, so I can look at her while I pump, and that's my middle of the night entertainment.
The most I have ever gotten in a single pump from one boob for 18 minutes?: 4 ounces.  And that's when I was FULL.  And that has only happened once.  Usually it's only 3 ounces. 
Then there is the price.  I actually decided to write this all down, just to get an idea of cost.
22oz Formula = $26.00 (makes 159 ounces)
20 day supply of MotherLove More Milk Plus = $40.00
Monthly hospital grade pump = $68.00
50 five ounce Medela frozen storage bags (makes 250 ounces) = $20.00

Prior to Helena's arrival I got a storage breast pump kit, that included 20 five ounce storage bags, that I've already filled.  Once I fill the 50 I'm currently working on I'll have 350 ounces saved up.  So when you compare ounce for ounce storing and freezing my breast milk is cheaper.  I haven't decided if I'm going to get 50 more bags when I'm done with the 50 I'm on.
Next month when I go back to work I'll have to bring my regular pump to work, to pump at work, because as of right now my goal is to breastfeed until Helena is 6 months.  And I'm pretty sure the regular pump won't be as efficient and won't get as much out as the hospital grade pump.  Although I have yet to compare.  Unfortunately I just don't see myself going until she is one year.
Formula = $26
As of right now we've used one of the 22 oz containers pictured above, two of the 27 oz containers, and a bunch of the pre-made stuff that we got from the hospital.  Who knows if that is a lot or not, considering baby girl is 12 weeks?   
My growing supply of frozen breast milk!  I'm very proud of this, I might add.
 But when everything is said and done, I love nursing my daughter.  It's a serene moment that I treasure.  To know that majority of the time I can comfort her and provide for her.  It's weird, but I feel most like a mother when I nurse her in public.  It's just the two of us out in a big world, and I'm just a mom taking care of her child.  I'm so thankful and proud that she is no longer using the nipple shield and that I get that experience with her.
Lastly: A sleeping baby girl in my arms after nursing = PRICELESS.
I feel so blessed to have this beautiful baby girl, and although nursing her isn't how I thought it would be.  It is our time and our moment, and I love it for what it is.
And now I'm off to pump.


Summer said...

You are really dedicated. I thought pumping was seriously awful, and just not worth it for me. Also, I have a sister-in-law who had a supply problem with her first baby, but had tons of milk with the rest of her kids.

Nobody tells you how hard breastfeeding is. And it is HARD. Even though it was heartbreaking, it was a relief to switch over to just formula.

Emily Foley said...

I hhhaaaaatttteeeeee pumping. I don't know how you do it! Mostly I never got even an ounce, it was just the worst. One time I wasn't watching the bottle and just pumped for like 5 minutes and when I looked down it was overflowing it was so full. One time. I have no idea how it happened and it never happened again. I nursed the boys both for a year and Zoe for 9 months and never had a supply problem but having done formula I can honestly say it's way easier. But if you're up for going 6 months, go for it! I really think it's better. But whatever anybody says it's NOT easier. Maybe less mess, but not easy. Do whatever works for you!

Emily Foley said...

I just read this and it made me think of you. :)