See My Breastfeeding Trials Part I here.
By Thanksgiving, Gabriel had gotten rather accustomed to formula supplementation, and his weight gain was better than it had ever been. In fact, life with Gabriel in general was better than it had ever been. He began sleeping better.* I could take him places and not have to worry about him breaking down. It even became possible for me to leave him for very short periods of time.
Of course, now that Gabriel was receiving a bottle several times per day, we had a new set of challenges to face. A few weeks after we started Gabriel on formula supplementation, he went on his first nursing strike. I remember it clearly:
After waking up from his nap one Saturday afternoon, Gabriel began crying and screaming. In the past, if holding him alone did not solve this issue, nursing him did. On this particular day, it did nothing for him. We made it through by distracting Gabriel by giving him a bath, as he loves baths.
There have been a few nursing strikes since that time, but I have spoken with a lactation consultant about it. Now that I have an understanding of what nursing strikes are, and know that he is growing very well, it’s not such a scary thing.
There has been a time or two when a well-intentioned person has said something like, “Well, it’s probably better that you have a lack-of-supply rather than an over-supply problem.” While I know that people truly mean well when they say something of this sort, it was not very helpful in my case. The physical ailments that go along with over-supply sound a touch refreshing compared to the feelings of inadequacy and worry over my child that went along with my under-supply issues. I know that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, but I believe that it would have been easier for me to handle the opposite problem.
As far as I am concerned, the only advantage of formula feeding over breastfeeding is the fact that the mother does not always have to be present in order for the baby to eat (though the same can be said for breastfeeding if pumping is employed). Even though I have not had to do it many times, I do not enjoy the preparation of bottles in the middle of the night. Nor do I like the necessity of carrying bottles, water, and formula when we go out. I guess that in my case, simplicity is the preferred course of action.
Now that Gabriel is eating solid foods, his formula consumption has decreased, while his nursing has remained about the same. I plan to continue breastfeeding Gabriel for as long as he is interested and/or breastfeeding remains possible. After some of the trials that I have gone through related to breastfeeding, I believe that we can make it through any other related trials that may arise.
* Still, at six months old, I am lucky if he sleeps for five consecutive hours at night. That is, however, a great improvement over the not more than two, maybe three consecutive hours, if I was extremely lucky, for the first three months of Gabriel’s life..