By far, above all other challenges of becoming a mother, BREASTFEEDING/PUMPING has been MY biggest challenge.
When James turned 10 months (he will be 11 months on Friday!), I noticed that my milk supply had significantly decreased. I had a small stash in the freezer and was still able to pump each day what he needed for the next day at the sitter (approx. 16-18 ounces). I was pumping three times during the work day and waking up early (between 2 and 4 a.m.) to pump. People think I'm crazy for waking up in the early morning but it has always been my best pump session so I felt I needed to do it for my baby.
When my supply decreased, I noticed that it didn't matter if I pumped all three times during my work day so I started taking out my morning pump session and just pumping at lunch and before picking up James. Nowadays, rather than pumping 18 oz. of milk per day, I'm only able to get 6-12 oz. per day. Because of this, my extra stash is almost no more. I only have two extra bags in the freezer. I'm basically being forced to start mixing what I have with formula.
For some reason, this makes me feel like a FAILURE. I know I shouldn't feel this way. I've done absolutely everything I can to exclusively breastfeed my child. I ultimately have no control over my supply. I'm not asking for advice on how to increase it because I've tried a lot of things over my almost 11 months as a mother. I'm seriously not looking forward to walking into the store today and buying my first container of formula. I know it's so weird but I just feel awful.
James' doctor gave me a sample and he seems to like it but every time I shake that stuff up, I feel guilty...like I'm robbing my child of the greatness of breast milk. I know formula is fine, I just feel like I worked so hard for almost 11 months for nothing.
Are there any other moms out there who have felt this way?