To wean or not to wean
Yesterday when I picked up Gus from the babysitter she handed me a bottle with about a half an ounce sitting in the bottom. She confirmed what I suspected – that half an ounce was the end of freezer milk.
In addition to the freezer milk being gone my supply has dropped. I pump about 6 ounces at work and 2-3 at home before bed. This is 9 ounces, max. It has been at that for about a week. Gus drinks about 12 ounces a day. It don’t take a mathematician to figure out the problem.
Gus is primarily bottle fed at this point. After having an over supply for so long her got used to getting lots of milk quickly. Between that and being on bottles at the sitter it started to just make sense to do primarily pumped milk in bottles. He gets a bottle for nap, a bottle for bedtime, and nurses once in the night. At the babysitter’s he normally gets two bottles and naps don’t always happen the first attempt.
With the loss of milk we need to change something. I’ve asked in different groups and am trying to figure out what to do. He goes to sleep on a bottle so that needs to change. The suggestions are to move the bottle to earlier in your routine and be prepared with snuggles and patience later on. We can do this at home but at the babysitter’s she puts him in the pack and play with his bottle and he falls asleep. Honestly, she doesn’t have the patience to work through it and has never successfully transferred him from arms to pack and play. I think to switch this we have to resign ourselves to him not sleeping there which is not an option for anyone.
The other suggestion is to start watering down his bottles until he has all water. This could work but will essentially wean him. Because he only gets pumped milk in bottles (with one overnight nursing) if we start getting him down to water bottles he’ll have no more milk. I suppose we could give him milk when he wakes up but honestly, this seems like a pain. He’d still have the bottle and then we would give him another bottle? And I think if we gave him a milk bottle and THEN a water bottle he would lose it. This really only seems like a viable option if weaning.
The third option is to work to increase my supply. Pump more, nurse more, drink tea, take supplements. Honestly, I don’t want to do it. I don’t have it in me at this point. Pumping once a day at work is freeing. There were times when I pumped three times a day and those were hell – I couldn’t get anything done. I don’t want to schedule two pump breaks. I don’t want to get up earlier because I need to pump in the morning. Those are the options and I hate them both.
So I’m at a crossroads where I don’t know what to do. I think Gus could manage on no nursing. The 3:30 am wake up would be the hardest part for us but if we did bottles of water he’d be fine the other times. I think about this and I’m so sad. Our nursing relationship is barely even that. It’s bottles and pumps with a little nursing thrown in. He’s never been a comfort nurser. He’s never needed a boob because he is upset. He’s just nursed to eat and moved on.
I feel like I’m not ready. I feel like I am forcing him to wean. But I also feel like other options are not viable. I don’t know what to do.