I got a big serving of it today.
I never questioned whether I was going to breastfeed or not. To me, it's the not only the "best" way, but the "right" way. Thank goodness I had a relatively easy time establishing breastfeeding with Lucy. Of course there was the initial soreness, and we had to work on her latch for the first couple of weeks, but it happened. Things got easier. Lucy thrived. I loved looking at every little dimple and roll on her, thinking, "Hey- i put that there!"
I still love, love, love nursing- even in public. I enjoy my little part of "normalizing" breastfeeding- trying to encourage the mamas who are embarrassed or nervous to do so. Admittedly (and I am embarrassed about this), I feel a little sorry for a baby when I see mama pull out a bottle, even though there's no way to tell whether it's breastmilk or formula.
When I went back to work, I was blessed that my supply didn't diminish, even with twice-daily pumping sessions. Lucy was still breastfed exclusively. In fact, I even pumped enough to donate over 400 oz. of spare breastmilk. That was a couple of weeks ago- before I found out I was pregnant again.
And now here I am. My supply is slowly declining. It's sad, really- pumping less and less. Compressing and squeezing and praying and hoping for just a few more ounces. I have about 50 oz left in the freezer- probably just enough to keep topping off bottles for another couple of weeks.
So, today, I did it. I bought a can of formula. Because I don't know how long this will last, and I don't want to leave for work without a back-up. I'd rather end up having to mix formula and breastmilk during the transition, rather than going straight from one to the other.
Why not try to obtain donated breastmilk? Because I think other babies need it more. The last time I checked, there were about 10 requests for every 1 donation on MilkShare. Preemie babies, babies with illnesses, babies who aren't yet on solids and don't have the benefit of even a small amount of breastmilk. I feel for their mamas. I know how I feel now is probably nothing compared to the disappointment of not being able to breastfeed in the first place.
We'll continue to try, and I'll continue drinking my mama's milk tea 3 times a day, even though I know that it's the rising estrogen levels impacting my prolactin production, and there's really nothing that can be done. I'll keep nursing Lucy as long as she wants, and as long as I am physically able.
And I'll try not to feel pity for the mama I see in the formula aisle, because I don't know her situation. She certainly doesn't know mine- at least not for a few more months.