As a continuation of my breastfeeding journey with EK, my journey breastfeeding J was much easier. Already, I knew the pain I’d feel in those first few days – and I was prepared mentally this time. So that was less of an issue. He had a MUCH better latch than she did, and so we started off much better. My milk came in more quickly (while I was packing to leave the hospital, in fact!) and so he got the full effects of that more quickly.
However, he was a sleep-nurser, which in turn made him a little less efficient. Therefore, he didn’t gain as much weight, so the pediatrician was worried about him, so I was worried about him, and we went through everything we could think of to keep him awake, get him to eat instead of pacify, and get him to gain some weight. That basically turned into me pumping and giving him some bottles more often (he’d finish a bottle without stopping, just not nurse for very long without sleeping) and eventually supplementing formula.
He continued being a good nurser once he started gaining weight and we were doing bottles as well as nursing. It didn’t take him much longer to find a rhythm, get the benefit of breastmilk as well as formula, and be a chubby babe just like his sister was. He continued doing bottles with breastmilk and with formula while I was working, and nursing while I was home until he was 8 months, when I had stopped making very much milk (I had stopped working by then) and he just weaned himself. He stopped being interested in nursing and just wanted bottles, and my milk dried up. Since he was so old, eating food as well as taking bottles well, and was clearly not having any weight troubles anymore, I didn’t press the issue and let him make his decision.
I don’t have any regrets about this process. I don’t regret giving him bottles and formula to help his weight gain. I don’t regret letting him wean himself at 8 months. I don’t regret a moment of our journey. He’s a healthy, sweet boy, and we have bonded and have a wonderful relationship. I have loved every moment getting to know him more and more, and I know that our initial bonding with breastfeeding helped that along, but isn’t the only thing that mattered in our relationship. Bonding can happen without breastfeeding. Bonding can continue after you stop. Make the best choice for you and your baby, and whatever that looks like, good for you!