Early nursing had plenty of the trials and tribulations you would expect. Bumby had to learn to latch, I had to learn to relax, my body had to learn how much milk he needed. We figured it out, together. I thought we had the hang of it.
But like all things, it turns out it isn’t a straight line from A to B. Bumby is now 7 1/2 months old, and we are struggling again. He doesn’t really like to nurse during the day. He arches away, sometimes bites, and gives me the stink-eye if I try to talk while he’s nursing. He’s dropped nursing sessions, so he’s down to one either when he wakes or before his first nap (depending on whether I work) one at around 1:30, and one at 5ish. The 1:30 and 5 are often really short and he doesn’t really want them. He doesn’t want to nurse before bed anymore — maybe because he’s full from dinner (he eats with the family, which is pretty much right before bed) or maybe for some other reason, I don’t know. He nurses like a CHAMP overnight. Of course. Once around 10:30 when I’m going to bed, around 1, and again at 4 or 5. Sometimes he consolidates the 10:30 and 1am feedings into a midnight feeding, but not often. These are long, languid, relaxed, full nursing sessions — the kind I used to get at every feeding.
So if it were up to Bumby, he’d eat once or twice during the day, and like 4 times at night or in the early morning. This is not super desirable. Obviously.
It’s all complicated by the fact that two days of the week he gets multiple bottles, and two other days he gets one bottle or maybe two. The first day I worked a full day, he drank 2 ounces of milk from the bottle. The nanny was offering it after food, and it seems he was just not interested. The next time I worked (the following week), I asked her to give him as much milk as he wanted, but no food until he was done with milk. That day he drank 20 ounces in 7 hours.
Neither of these affected how much he ate at night. Each time, he wanted 2 or 3 nursing sessions at night. Finally we have settled on many small bottles throughout the day so that he’s getting 12-15 oz of milk while I work, with food mixed in. The trouble is, I can only get 10-12 oz from the pump in a day, pumping 3 times. So the freezer stash is slowly dwindling.
So. Is this a nursing strike? Maybe. He does eat, just not well. Is he reverse cycling? Maybe. He would take more bottles in the day, if we’d offer them, but I can’t seem to make enough milk for that. He just doesn’t seem to want to nurse.
I hope he comes through this. I need him to nurse during the day in order to make enough milk to keep it up — my boobs and the pump seem to hate each other. I love nursing him. I don’t even mind doing it at night, although now I am just so relieved he’s nursing that could have something to do with it. I’d love to get him down to one or two night nursings, but I’m afraid of what that will do to my supply of he continues to nurse so poorly during the day. In the 6 weeks I’ve been working, my pumping has gone from 6-7 oz per session to 2-4 oz per session.
My wife tells me to relax, it will work itself out. But I want so badly to nurse him for another year at least, and if things continue like this, it’s hard to see how that will happen.