I don’t know why I feel like I owe it to The Internet to make an announcement about the status of my breasts and whether or not my babies continue to use them, but here we are. It’s really more so that I can remember it when I am beating myself up about it later. Here is the truth.
I breastfed for the last time (ever) over the 4th of July weekend. The situation had become so incredibly frustrating for all 3 of us that when coupled with my lack of output when pumping, it was unreasonable to continue.
We started supplementing with formula somewhere in the second month when my supply was decreasing and even with around the clock nursing and pumping for weeks it was obvious that the babies were starving. This was 100% in line with every one of my other postpartum periods. And speaking of periods, I got mine (and it was bad) and we saw my supply dip further. At this point I tried fenugreek and steel cut oats and mother’s milk tea. None made a huge difference (except for the tea giving me hives) but did help to keep my supply stable…until I got mastitis. My left breast, which had previously been my strong over-producer was clogged to the point of next to nothing coming out for a good week. Although I nursed both babies on both sides during that whole ordeal, we never recovered.
From there we moved to a schedule where I was able to nurse the babies in the morning, once midday and before bed. Pumping in between yielded maybe an ounce or 2 of milk in total–and that was on a good day. Typically, I got half an ounce (ish) from one side and an ounce from the other. It was a lot of time and effort spent for such little output. This isn’t to say that I don’t think my babies are worth that time or effort but when you have twins, plus 3 other kids whose daily lives require managing, the extra time for pumping just didn’t exist.
My supply dropped further after going back to work–this is what happened every other time for me as well, so I expected it–and I had to begin supplementing the babies after each nursing session. They’d gotten quite grabby and squirmy as well, so a feeding session of nursing one, then the other and topping off with bottles could take up to 90 minutes. When they began fussing and screaming at the breast (often leaving me sobbing too), obviously put out by having to do so much work for so little reward, I made the decision to end it once and for all.
I owed it to my babies to try. I am proud for making it over 4 months. I’m glad I have pictures of them nursing. I’m glad that I actually do have a small freezer stash from the early days when things went so well. Thanks to the stigma associated with formula feeding, I often feel guilty anyway. Knowing that these are my last babies, I do wish that it would have worked out to be doable longer, that I could have “cherished the moments”, but it wasn’t meant to be. And I am (mostly) ok.