Ever since I realized that my milk supply was dwindling, I've been trying to figure out how to hold on to nursing for as long as I can. I've been trying to find a balance between nursing, pumping, supplementing, etc.
I knew that I was not producing enough to satisfy Levi. I figured the best course of action was to pump frequently, that way I knew exactly how much milk I was producing, and then supplement that with some formula so that I knew that Levi was getting plenty to eat.
After a while of doing this, I am seeing no increase in production and I'm afraid Levi has gotten used to the bottle.
I spoke with La Leche League, who informed me that pumping is not always an indicator of how much milk you are producing, since the pump does not have the same hormonal effect as the baby does. She told me to stop pumping, and to stop giving him bottles.
Yesterday I was able to not give him any bottles. I gave him rice cereal at lunch time and squash at dinner time (more about this below), and I think that helped keep him satisfied. I did give him a nighttime bottle so that I knew he had plenty in his tummy for a full eight hour night. His lunchtime feeding today, however, he was not patient with nursing, refused his rice cereal and I had to give him forumla :-(
The American Academy of Pediatricians recommends nursing for a full year, and no less than six months. The fact that he's not getting the amount of breastmilk he should breaks my heart. Not only is it a special bond between us - something that no one else can provide him - our special time together - but the health benefits that he is losing hurts too. Breastmilk is the best possible source of nutrition for my little one, it's God's perfect food for him. Breastmilk contains just the right amount of fatty acids, lactose, water, and amino acids for digestion, brain development, and growth. Breast-fed babies have lower rates of hospital admissions, ear infections, diarrhea, rashes, allergies, and other medical problems than bottle-fed babies. So it's very sad for me when I have to feed him a bottle.
To cheer me up about what's going into my baby's belly, I have decided to make all of his food. I thought it would be way harder than it actually was! I'm even making his rice cereal from scratch. I've never been really big on nutrition - but when it comes to what goes in my baby's belly, that all changed. I was surprised after reading about the health benefits of fresh homemade food vs. store bought commercially processed food.
It was super easy to make his food too. I made squash, sweet potatoes, and green beans. I baked the squash and sweet potato then pureed it with a little bit of formula. The most time consuming part about that was filling up the ice cube trays with the food. The green beans took a little more time, because after they were steamed and pureed, Jarrod had to mash them through a strainer. But even that took less than five minutes. With very minimal effort, Levi now has between 3-6 weeks of food now in the freezer.
Not only is it easy to make his food, and SO much more healthy, but it's way more cost effective as well!
Green beans, for example: I purchased about a pound of fresh organic green beans for $.66, and it filled up a whole ice cube tray. A $.45 jar of green beans fills up two holes in the ice cube tray, meaning that the whole ice cube tray of the store bought green beans would cost $3.15 instead of $.66!!! For just a little bit more effort (an no more effort than I spend on myself on a meal), you can have way more nutrious, way less expensive baby food!
I'm still working on perfecting my rice cereal. I've made one really good batch, and two not so good batches. It's not hard, I just have to figure out the right balance of formula - rice combination.
Feeding him fresh food made with my own two hands feels really good, and it makes me feel a little better about our nursing issues.
3-6 weeks supply of baby food for less than $3.00!
Let's see what Levi thinks of the squash:
He kept opening his mouth really wide after he was done with a bite. He's never done that before. He also kept the majority of it in his mouth. Usually, his rice cereal ends up ALL over his face. I guess he liked the squash enough to keep it all in his mouth:
Did you really read this whole blog? Sorry for the length, I just want to remember everything.