I am one week out from going back to work, and my supply has ALREADY tanked. I think it has something to do with the 12-week postpartum hormone realignment -- the same phenomenon that is causing my hair to fall out in clumps in the shower. That, and the fact that the Chicklette is sleeping through the night every night (I know, boo hoo) and I've decided that getting up once in the middle of the night to pump is enough, thankyouverymuch.
Every feeding involves an unhappy baby pulling painfully at my nipples. Every pumping is an exercise in frustration -- I'm lucky now if I get 2 ounces per pump, which means it takes me 3 pumpings to get one bottle feeding (she's now eating 5-6 ounces per feed -- probably because by the time she gets the bottle in the afternoon/evening she's hungry after a day on my loser boobs).
Nothing I've done has helped bump my supply. I've taken the herbs, eaten the oatmeal, and drank (drunken?) the gallons of water. I've increased the number of feedings/pumping sessions. And it's not working. I'm tired. And my boobs are hurting almost as much as they did in the beginning.
And I'm going back to work next week. Which everyone assures me will not help matters. I feel like my attempts to increase my supply are futile, since the work I'm doing will probably get undone once I return to my crazy job which will almost certainly involve me missing pumpings.
We've started giving the Chicklette a bottle of formula at night, just to get her used to it. She cried and fussed the first couple of times. It broke my heart. Now she's fine. But it feels like we're on a spiral towards the inevitable.
On the one hand, I feel great. I'm so looking forward to being done with breastfeeding.
On the other hand, I feel AWFUL. Guilty. If I were a good mother, I'd stick with it and do whatever it takes! (This coming from a formula-fed baby, married to another formula-fed baby, surrounded by friends who at least partly formula-fed their perfectly happy/healthy kids.)
And on the third hand (let's pretend I have one), I feel like a total asshat complaining about the feeding issues, since the Chicklette has been, as of late, the most low-key, agreeable, happy baby I can imagine. She sleeps through the night. She doesn't cry unless she's hungry or tired. She travels well. She smiles and laughs and is generally just fun to be around.
But I don't think I can feed her by myself anymore. Which is sad.