Like I said before, when Owen was born, he was so tiny, that they advised me to nurse no longer than 15 minutes at a time. And the reason was that with any nursing done after that, he was burning more calories than he was taking in. Poor little guy! So from day 1, I nursed and then supplemented to prevent him from loosing any of his birth weight like most babies do. Initially I supplemented with formula. Then my milk came in and I was able to pump enough so that we could supplement with breast milk, which was great. With Owen being early and small, I really wanted to be able to give him my antibodies and all the other wonderful things that goes along with breast milk.
If you remember from before, nursing Jack was not a good experience for me. Or for Jack! My supply was low, my nipples are not the best for breastfeeding, and Jack didn't want to latch because it was hard and he wasn't getting much. It was terrible. I dreaded our nursing sessions, because I knew they would end in my being angry....angry at Jack and angry at myself. Not healthy at all. But I knew the benefits of breast milk, I'd been to the breast feeding classes, I'd heard people say, in not so many words, if you don't breast feed, you're pretty much not a good mom and don't care about your baby. So I stuck with it, even with our struggles, I was planning to nurse for 6 months. I was blind to what our troubles really were and didn't know I was making this plan even to the detriment to my son. At our 2 month appointment, Jack had lost weight and looked like a string bean. I proudly announced that I was still exclusively breast feeding and was a little dismayed when my doctor said to nurse him and then just offer him a bottle of formula. If he doesn't drink it, he's getting enough! If he does, he's still hungry. He downed 4oz the first time I did that. That's a full feeding for a 2 month old. My pride and determination to stick with it had been detrimental to my son and I hated it. So we changed the way things looked, I pumped and bottle fed, supplementing with formula. And Jack did great.
This time I went into nursing with a completely different attitude. What nursing did to my relationship with Jack in those first few months was terrible. I didn't like him. I didn't like me. And I didn't want that to happen again, in any way shape or form. A nurse friend once told me that the first 2 weeks of breast milk were the most important, and after that, it was icing on the cake! So this time, my goal was 2 weeks. I wasn't expecting Owen to be early, I wasn't expecting to supplement with formula so early, I wasn't expecting to need him to gain weight so quickly, I wasn't expecting the lactation consultant to say that he would probably always be on a bottle and that I would always pump so I could supplement my nursing with breast milk. But you know what? I was ok with it. Because this time, it had to be about Owen, not about me and my hopes and wishes for what our feeding routine would look like. I'm so much more peaceful about feeding this time...and it's wonderful. Another added bonus to the bottle? Only one of us has to get up to feed him in the middle of the night...and that one of us doesn't always have to be me! :)
Owen is doing GREAT with what we're doing! In the first week alone, he'd gained 3 ounces and in 2 weeks, he'd gained a full pound. And we're doing great with our feedings! I dropped the nursing part of our routine, simply because I couldn't nurse for 15 minutes, bottle feed, and pump every 3 hours all on my own. Especially with a toddler running around. I just couldn't do it! So now I'm pumping to bottle feed, and supplementing here and there with formula. Owen's over 3 weeks old now so I've met my initial goal of breast milk for 2 weeks!
My new goal is to make it until Christmas. Woohoo!