the past few days i've been dealing with the topic of formula vs breastmilk. it's a really hard topic for me personally. and honestly, i think it's such a personal decision that families make. there's so much information on the obvious benefits of breastmilk! but the formulas that are out there have also come such a long way! i knew when i was pregnant that i wanted to nurse my child...i just didn't know that my child would have other plans and i wasn't really prepared mentally for that scenario. but "when the going gets tough, the tough get going" and i just kinda subconsciously went to plan b: pumping. i've tried getting her to nurse since she's been home quite a few times but she just screams and we both get frustrated. it's a totally different ballgame when you have a preemie. it's really hard to say that without it sounding like an excuse, but it's the truth. and until you have a preemie, you just don't understand the fundamental differences that really are there between a preemie and a full termer. so pumping is what i've been doing to feed my child and up to this point it's been one of the most rewarding things i've ever done in my life. it's something that ONLY I can do for her. it's the best for her. she's thrived well on it. and yet i find myself at a crossroads now.
i have/had mastitis and since then have seen a bit of a dip in my supply. initially, i know that this is normal for when this type of infection rears its ugly head. the difference here is that i am exclusively pumping as opposed to exclusively nursing and that alone puts the longevity of my supply at risk. moms who nurse have a solid supply MUCH longer than moms who pump. babies are way more effective at getting milk out than a pump. and what i've noticed is that for a week or so before i got sick, i noticed some changes in my milk.
fast forward to now: i am on antibiotics which are making abby sick. the meds are getting into my milk and upsetting abigail's tummy. so no problem: just pump and dump what i get (as heart-wrenching as that is) and use some of my frozen milk for a week. except my frozen milk - at least in part - is bad. somehow what i took out to thaw was WAY spoiled. i about lost it!!!i dumped about 24 oz down the sink. honestly, you don't know how hard that is for me to do! even knowing that it is bad!!
so i had to have robert go to the store to pick up some formula for abby just incase i kept running into the problem of sour milk. no, in my heart i don't want abby to have formula until 6 months. but that said, she's had 3 solid months of breastmilk and is doing very well. formula isn't rat poisoning. it's not going to hurt her. and it's such a struggle for me b/c i want to do what's best for her given all the information, circumstances, and sides of the stories. there are those who would chastise me for wanting to stop pumping now (for whatever reason) and then there are those who look at me and wonder how i've managed to stay sane and still pump for as long as i have. but in reality, as i said at the beginning, this is such a personal decision! it's a hard one to make, definitely. and i'm struggling so hard trying to figure out what is best for our situation right now. do i keep going, trying to get my milk back to where it was? do i just go ahead and start formula now? do i pray that what milk was bad was just a fluke and go on with my plan for that? it's really hard to think about and decide upon.
but the bottom line is this: i want what is best for my child. yes, formula is expensive and breastmilk is free. yes formula has it's "cons" but none of them are life-threatening or serious in that way. but i just can't help but think that i am at the point where something's gotta give and that something may be my pumping. what's amazing about this is that i have become so emotionally attached to my pumping that to stop would be incredibly difficult either now or at 6 months!
so here's to hard decisions in the world of motherhood. i just wish that i had the confidence to stand on MY own decisions...
(*let me just say: this is not meant to offend anyone in their views of this topic. i've been accused before of things along those lines but that is not my intention! these are strictly my thoughts about my situation. done.*)