Why Breastmilk? My Real Reason.

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.

Me: Hufff.

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.

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13 Comments

Filed under b00b food

13 responses to “Why Breastmilk? My Real Reason.

  1. Joy

    Good for you for identifying your feelings about this important decision and sticking to your principles!

  2. sn

    yes, yes, yes. you are so right.
    and…your childcare worker nose-touching-no-more-breastfeeding action would make me lose it. good for you for being clear, and writing a letter to be extra clear.
    and i think your pediatrician is wrong (based on my vast experience with all of one baby). even if he is sleeping through the night (and hooray for that!) trucker can nurse away before and after you go to work. it doesn’t all have to happen during working hours.
    i gave up sterilizing all the time. pumping takes up so much time/life without that. i rinse the pump parts off, and then do a microwave sterilizing once at the end of the day.

  3. I know. I agree on the amount of milk issue. Yet. On that particular day he really was starving when he got home and he nursed like crazy. I just can’t deal with thinking about him crying from hunger while I’m at work, just because I don’t want him to drink fake-o sugar water vitamin water milk.

  4. I think that’s a damn fine reason – not that you need to give a *reason* to the people whom you are paying to care for your child the way that you want him to be cared for.

    I am appalled by their attitude, and especially by the nose-tapping thing.

    I am absolutely livid on your behalf!

  5. Lo

    I would have lost it over that nose-tapping thing, too. And I’m not even the one making the milk.

    We had to ramp up to 16 oz. for J, too, at one point, and then he dropped back down to 12. For what that’s worth.

  6. e.

    i would have punched the nose touching day care lady. my blood boils at the thought of someone saying that!!! good for you for sticking with it and identifying your feelings.

    and you are so lucky that he’s sttn, by the way!

  7. Co

    Ouch!

    There was a time when we needed to send 15-16 oz per day with Jo. It sucked because most days, he did not eat it all. But there were one or two days where he scarfed down that much, so…

    And the day care teachers didn’t treat it like liquid gold. They would sometimes fill a bottle with 5 oz — everything he had left — and start him on it at the very end of the day and then give it to me or Lo to take home with him, instead of ya know, maybe only putting 2 oz in for him to snack on and reserving the 3 oz for the next day. Usually 3 oz of liquid gold got dumped and I had to work in yet another pump or two that day.

    Ramping up to 16 oz was not easy and was quite possibly ridiculous of me. I ate oatmeal oatmeal oatmeal. I took fenugreek. Many nights, I did an extra pump to get us up to the 16 oz or did one in the morning right before Jo left for day care. I did some weekend pumps to add to our stash. In essence, I created an oversupply to keep up with the new 16 oz requirement. I tell you this not b/c I think you should do that, but b/c it nearly drove me nuts and I sometimes wondered why I was doing this. The reality is… breastfeeding and working momhood do not go hand in hand. Society might want us to believe… oh, you just pump… and it’s great that we can do that, but it’s really hard as well. It’s really hard to keep up with it. It’s hard to feel like you have to send not only what you know your son needs, but also extra just in case he has a particularly hungry day but if he were just home with you, it would all work itself out and there’d be no stress. It was so stressful not to have extra milk to give Lo when she wanted to take Jo some place b/c we were reserving it for day care all the time. I am so relieved now that he is over 1 year. I pump each day and get what I get and we supplement with cows milk. If I only get 7 oz total all day, we don’t have to care any more. I empathize with the anxiety you feel. And I’m sorry that the day care ladies aren’t more accepting and I hope they understand and follow your very clear directions. Why are they so anxious for your baby to have formula? What’s it to them? (Easier, maybe, but other than that…)

    Hang in there. Thanks for your honesty. And I totally get the need to send a little piece of yourself to school with your baby. I felt that way, too.

  8. CJ

    You are the mom, you can have whatever reason you want. It’s your baby. Don’t ween him until he (and YOU) are ready.

  9. sounds really hard… and all that from the daycare ladies you actually LIKE(D?)… grrrrr!

  10. I still like them. I just. I don’t love them right now. I’m sure they are used to people switching to formula at this point. Perhaps they expect it. I wish I had enough money to be home with him and never have to pump. Or to send him to a hoity toity place where they repect the liquid gold a little more.

  11. nelly

    i have to say, i’m a bit surprised at all the outrage among the comments. sure, the pro-formula attitude amongst the daycare staff is frustrating, but then again, breastfeeding is not the norm in our culture. also, formula is not the devil’s cocktail, despite what all the pro-BF info might lead you to believe. who knows the motivation for the daycare providers is, but certainly, they’ve got the best interests of their babes at heart. thinking that formula is ok does not make you a bad person. breastfeeding does not make you a good person. but being open minding and understanding of other people’s ideas makes you a pretty cool person.

    it’s important that we support all kinds of women and their choices. i’ve had many friends who have tried, and tried and tried everything to breastfeed, and have felt like a failure every time they had to bottle feed at the playground. or have spent the first 3 months of their babe’s life pumping and feeding and eating nothing but fenugreek and oatmeal. or had pre-existing conditions that prevented them from nursing. are they less-than-moms? i’m hope they don’t feel that way (although i’m sure some struggle with this in certain circles), and i hope that others women don’t look at them through such judgemental eyes.

    signed,
    nursing nelly
    (who wishes her girl would sometimes drink something else besides breastmilk)

  12. Melissa

    I’m coming late to the comments here, but I really sympathize with your feelings about this. I think what annoys me the most about your incident is that – he’s YOUR baby, bottom line – so they should respect your wishes re. how and what he eats.

  13. rachel

    i started using goat and cow’s milk to supplement at about 10 months, since neither of my wee ones would touch formula. i used full fat/hormone free, and because they were not lactose intolerant, they were quite pleased with the situation.

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