I have a little dilemma with Ferris lately. This actually started out as part of a draft for Ferris’ 8 month birthday post, but I got so into detail about it, I figured it warranted its own post. And maybe someone can lend some much-needed advice.
Ferris is completely and fully refusing formula. And the way I go on and on about how much I ADORE breastfeeding and it’s the bomb and I want to breastfeed forever and blah blah blah, you’d think I wouldn’t even have tried formula to begin with, let alone would have an issue with my kid not liking it.
And really, I don’t have an issue. When I had my lymph node surgery back in March, I couldn’t breastfeed for 24 hours. So I pumped and I pumped and I pumped and I PUMPED to prepare for that day, because Ferris was not quite doing solids yet and was nursing every hour on the hour, around the clock, and I didn’t have a lot of extra milk to part with. Needless to say, we still fell a bit short, and later in the day resorted to the canister of formula that Similac sent us in the mail. And he drank it. Drank it like a champ. So, for a while we came to rely on it. If, for example, I’d had a few margaritas or we had a sitter with the boys for a few hours. I hate pumping, LOATHE pumping, so rather than pump for such occasions, we’d just offer formula. And little by little, he lost his taste for it. Until one night, we are at Kindergarten orientation at Bowie’s new school, and my poor young, childless Brother in Law is watching the boys and lo and behold, Ferris will NOT drink the bottle of formula he made, and instead chose to then scream for the next full hour until we got home. And I tried to give him the bottle when we got home, thinking it was just that he wasn’t as familiar with my Brother in Law, but he literally slapped the bottle out of my hand.
And then I thought it was just a bottle thing. He doesn’t like bottles, he only likes the breast. I tried a few different kinds of bottles, and then one day just decided I’d try a bottle of breast milk instead of formula and, well, it was gone in less than two minutes. It’s not a bottle thing, it’s a formula thing.
(And immaturely, but c’mon, hilariously, I can’t help but hear this song in my head when I’m nursing now.)
Ok, so you’re thinking, “This is still not an issue, girlfriend. Breastfeeding comes naturally to you, you have a good supply, just don’t use the formula. Duh.”
But, an interesting thing has started happening. He has teeth now, and is BITING me. He is BITING HARD. ALL THE TIME. It’s gotten to the point that every time I go to nurse, I am really, really anxious and scared I’m going to get bitten again. It’s like that moment before you get a shot at the doctor’s office. You know it’s coming, you know it’s going to hurt like hell, and there’s not a lot you can do about it. Except to preemptively wince, and hope it’s not as bad as it was last time. (But it will be.)
Bowie bit me two times when he was nursing. After the first time, I RAN to the nearest computer and googled “how to get your baby to never bite your boob never ever again ever.” The basic gist of what I read was to end the nursing session immediately, and don’t offer to nurse again until the next regular time they’d be hungry. And that worked, but a week later he bit again so I did the same thing again and? He never bit while nursing again.
I’ve tried this trick with Ferris about…I don’t know…I’ve lost track…ONE THOUSAND TIMES?!
I thought I could just power through, that it would eventually stop being an issue, that everything will work itself out. Only, that was a month ago. And it hasn’t stopped, or even slowed, it has INCREASED in occurrences. I’ve had to take breaks from nursing (via pumping) to heal up, only to be bitten again 10 minutes into the next nursing session.
I know that this is because he is using me as a pacifier. I mentioned months ago that he nurses for comfort a lot. And since he’s teething and all, he’s wanting to nurse for comfort all the time. And when he’s nursing to eat, all is fine. But when he’s nursing for comfort, then come the bites. Because the kid’s teeth hurt, and he wants to bite things. I’m not faulting him for this, he’s just doing what is helping him feel better.
And I wanted to nurse him for a long time. Longer than I did with Bowie (13 months). But, I don’t see this happening anymore. We’ll suffer through our year, and then move on. It really sucks, when I give him a bottle and he looks up at me with that confused look on his face. We don’t get to have that special bond anymore. Ugh.
But, I can’t go on living like this! I am not a chew toy!
So, the only real solution here is to pump and feed him breast milk from bottles from here on out. But, I’m having problems with that.
Did I mention how much I hate pumping? I hate pumping. I have to sit still for like 20 minutes at a time while I do it (which is not so easy with your little crawler getting into this and that and the other and a 5 year old getting into everything else while you’re doing that). And it does feel better than being bitten, but it’s still pretty painful. And the milk doesn’t flow as easily as it does if you’re just nursing your baby. Pumping = the suck.
I also can’t seem to build up a surplus, which is essential right now, because Ferris is still waking between 2 and 5 times a night to nurse, and I’d need at least a few ounces for each of those times. Also, for when we’re out and about for the day. Unless I want to bring my pump with and try to pump in public somehow, somewhere. (I always knew full-time working moms who pumped had it bad, but the thought of pumping away from home has given me an entirely new respect for them.)
So, I have a bunch of questions for you guys. Like, has anyone reading this done this with their babies? How often did you have to pump? Did you have ways of increasing supply? How did you fit pumping into your regular routine? What did you do about overnight feedings?
Also, when is it really ok to start cow’s milk? Do I really need to wait until he’s 12 months? The formula was milk-based and he tolerated it well, which I once read is an indication that they’ll do fine with cow’s milk. But I also know they have a hard time digesting it.
But, it’s only 4 more months. I will make it one way or another. I’m just hoping I’ve endured my last bite to the boob.
That crap hurts.