I posted a while back about my struggles breastfeeding and what we do in our family regarding milk.
I wanted to do a little update on what we do now about feeding our little one.
First, Amethyst still gets the vast majority of her calories through milk. At this time that means she gets mostly her home-made formula although she can breastfeed on demand. As she gets older and more interested in the world around her however, her interest in the boob has waned dramatically which means that my milk production has decreased as well. As a family, we decided against long term intensive breast pumping to maintain my supply.
Starting at about 4 months, Amethyst starting being extremely curious about the food that we were eating. We didn’t really offer her anything, but as the weeks went by and her interest kept growing we started offering her a few things. She started with some pureed pears, and then some sweet potato, then apple and spirulina, then avocado and banana. She loved everything she tasted and we began letting her taste some of our food (within reason, of course!)
Now, at almost 8 months old Amethyst LOVES green smoothies, green juices (even the ones with wild greens), coconut water, all kinds of fruit but especially berries and melons, yogurt, broccoli, carrots-anything really.
drinking her green juice in a big girl cup!
Ideally, I would have waited a bit longer before introducing nuts and seeds into her diet but she stole a sip of a smoothie I was having that had hemp seeds and cashews. We don’t specifically give her these, but after seeing that she suffered no ill effects we let her taste things with those two ingredients in.
Once, when we were having a quinoa pasta dish, I mushed up a few pieces of the quinoa pasta and let her have those. I’ve also mushed up a few black beans when we were having black bean tacos for her to try along with her beloved avocado. We have also just started feeding her egg yolk a few times a week for choline, which is necessary for brain development.
So that is where we are now- in the food for fun stage! We like to let her try out her palate and taste all kinds of new things without pressuring her to eat any more than she likes. She will easily suck down half a glass of green smoothie, though!!
My girl getting her Vitamin D!
So, we may be doing it all wrong. But we are doing it intuitively and following Amethyst’s lead. She is a thriving, happy and well adjusted girl who is always eager to learn new things.
Six and a half months ago, I gave birth to my beautiful little Amethyst Joy. There was absolutely no doubt in my mind that I would breastfeed her both exclusively and long term. I had a few reservations about my ability to breastfeed due to the shape (not size) of my breasts but when I would bring up my fears with lactation consultants the answer was always “Don’t worry- you will be able to breastfeed.” My planned homebirth did not go according to plan as Amethyst decided not to come out, and we were risked out of a homebirth, which ended in a hospital induction (still natural, though!) We were lucky to be at a hospital that was extremely breastfeeding friendly and I had the support and knowledge of staff 24 hours a day during the time Amethyst had to be in the neonatal unit- a little over a week. I breastfeed her constantly and on demand. And she cried and cried. I used a hospital grade breast pump and pumped around the clock. My milk finally came in on day 5, and I kept pumping. I never got more than 1 ounce at a time, but everyone kept saying that when we finally got Amethyst home and when the stress of being in a hospital 24 hours a day went away that my milk would come in fully and it would be okay. We got home, and I rented a hospital grade pump. I pumped and pumped and breastfed and breastfed and Amethyst cried and cried. And I cried too! In my worldview, formula is poison. It is substandard food made from genetically modified ingredients and not suitable for any baby, much less mine! Well, we finally made the decision to supplement with some formula, and you know what, she drank that shit down like she had never eaten before! My baby was hungry- that was painfully obvious. I immediately bought a SNS, an at breast supplementer so that I could give her supplemental feedings at the boob and some organic formula.
So, that is what we did for the first few months- I breastfed her when she wanted and then supplemented with organic formula at the boob with the SNS.
Then we moved to America and we couldn’t get the formula she used and liked. So we bought what was available and organic and it made her sooo unhappy. So now, we make our own formula using these ingredients based on the recipe by Dr. Weston Price:
When we can, we give her breastmilk donated by other lovely, generous mamas
And we still do this with love, every day!
So have I failed at breastfeeding? It depends on how you look at it, I suppose. Those feelings of failure haunt me every day no doubt. But I have learned that I have to redefine success for myself. I just look at my little girl smiling up at me and growing in leaps and bounds and I know that failure is impossible. She is here with me and happy and that is all that matters in the world 🙂