On Sunday, I pumped 595ml. I've never pumped anything like that much - the previous high was 525ml and that had only happened once. I was bouncing between 420ish and 490ish a day, which was allowing me to only use formula every 3-4 days. Given where we've come from, you can imagine I was feeling a little smug about that. I'd accomplish this by pumping once in the middle of the night, since she's stopped waking between midnight and 7. That gave me around 100ml. Then I'd pump after each feed, and I've been following electriclady's advice, and just leaving the pump stuff set up and getting in a sneaky 10 minutes here and there as well, which had given me an extra 80ml or so a day. All this pumping, plus taking a bunch of supplements, plus the domperidone, and I felt like we had a routine which was manageable, and, indeed, quite rewarding after all we'd been through. She has been going on the breast at every feed, and we've been having a nice time together, and then she gets filled up with a bottle. She's gaining weight beautifully, and looks wonderful, and we were doing it almost entirely on breast milk. I could see that I didn't want to continue this forever, because it was stopping me from getting out of the house much, but I wasn't prepared to give it up just yet.
Then, over the last few days, two things happened. The first is that she started fussing at the breast, coming on and off, and, at 3 feeds over the last 2 days, screaming inconsolably until I gave up and gave her a bottle. It's the bad old days of 2-3 weeks old all over again. The second is that the pumping volume has gone way down. I still get a good pump at about 4am, and I can get a good volume in the morning by pumping after my shower - i.e., about 30 minutes after the morning feed has ended - but then that's it, the rest of the day I'm struggling to get 40mls after a feed. know that 6 weeks ago I'd have been delighted by that, but now it feels like such a step backwards. Well, it is a step backwards!
When the post-feed volume started to decrease about a week ago, I just assumed it was because she was taking more from the boobs (I've certainly felt that she's been sucking better), and that the boobs would catch up and I'd get back to pumping more again in due course if I kept stimulating them. So I added in extra pumps between feeds to try and get more volume, and to add stimulation. To no avail, I'm just killing my nipples to get an extra 20mls or so. Sunday, it turns out, was a bit of a fluke, and anyway was accomplished by adding in two extra between-feed pumps, which is not a habit that's conducive to having a life.
The breast refusal is worse. That takes me back to my saddest, darkest moments since she was born. The thought, the feeling, that she doesn't enjoy nursing, is a horrible blow to my self-esteem and a hit to the nursing relationship I thought we'd established. What I have craved, over and above the need to nourish my baby, is the desire for a lovely bonding experience at the breast. After the initial three weeks of struggle, I thought we'd got to a good place with that, but now it seems she's got fed up with the slow flow and wants the bottle more than me. Ugh. This is compounded by my worry over the last week or so that she's not really bonded to me - she seems to be as happy with my mum, or H's mum, or H, as she is with me.
Well, this has to be the dullest post ever.
The point is, I thought we had a system which I could keep up for maybe another month, get her to 4 months, before I started to taper off so that it wasn't too much of a shock to the system when I went back to work, and so I could start to exercise a bit more and shed the awful, flabby 30 extra pounds I still have to lose. I was feeling ok about it because I had such a sense of achievement about where we've got to, and what I was managing to produce, even if it was horribly hard work. But today it doesn't feel worthwhile. Funny how hung up on the numbers I've got, my sense of self worth tied almost solely to ml pumped/ml supplemented per day.
However, as the title says, I know not to quit on a bad day. We'll see how tomorrow goes.
Btw, I don't want a lot of comments telling me to give up, because although I know everyone means well, it's not what I need to hear. I know it's ok to give up, I know she'll be fine on formula, but I want to breast feed her, and if that's my main job right now, I want to do it as well as I can. I'm ok, really I am, I'm just having one of those moments.
She's still wonderful, by the way.