My baby is seven months old. He will be eight months old next week. I went back to work when he was six months old. So for the past two months I have been pumping breastmilk three times a day on workdays. I’ve been hooking myself up to a machine that basically hurts, and tethers me to one spot, makes me look like a damn fool, and gives me empathy for dairy cows. Aside from that I’ve been sterilizing bottles and pump parts many many times a day.
My day care providers, I’m sure, find it a little trying to defrost the milk in time for the baby to get hungry, but before he starts crying for the bottle. I’m sure formula would be easier for them. Which is why one of them has been saying to me, “Bring in a can of formula. He has to get used to the taste.” Right. Not so much. Since I plan to feed him primarily breastmilk until he is a year old. After that he can have cow’s milk. So no, he doesn’t need to get used to the taste. Then the other day they told me the famous last words, “Bring more milk.” I had been bringing in 12 ounces a day. That’s how much I make a day. Now they wanted 16. I went online to research how much milk a baby his age needs. They said 19-25 oz a day. So 16 seemed like too much. I called my doctor for backup. He did not provide it.
Doc: Is he sleeping through the night now?
Me (proudly): Yes! he just started sleeping through this week.
Doc: So, actually most of his eating will happen between nine and five. Sixteen ounces may be erring on the side of too much, but I think you should send that much. I know you think breastmilk is the best thing for him. But you also don’t want him to go hungry.
So I brought some formula to day care. I said to the has-to-get-a-taste-for-it lady, “One bottle a day! Only one! And only if he’s hungry after the breastmilk, or if I need to come late.” Then the other daycare provider came in, saw the formula and said, “No more breast milk for you!” And touched my baby on the nose. Yeah. She really did that. So I said it again, “NO. Only ONE bottle of formula a day. I’m only giving it to you because I can’t make 16 oz of breastmilk a day. I’m not physically able to do it. You need to feed him all the breastmilk I send.”
“Ok, ok. Yes, yes,” they said and shuffled me out the door.
So I went home and wrote a letter to the owner of the day care outlining how they should use the formula and emphasizing that I plan to feed him breast milk until he is one year old.
Here’s the thing I realized throughout this: I’m not feeding him breastmilk because it is the best food for him. I mean, yeah, that’s important. But when I became threatened by the daycare ladies’ desire to ween my baby, I realized that it is because the milk is me. And he needs me. And the pump is him and I need him. And without the pump and the milk, I am completely seperate from my baby all day. So that’s why I insist upon the breastmilk. That is my real reason.