A few minutes ago I put together all the herbs and pills that I take each day to try to increase my milk supply. It took until tonight for this to look totally crazy to even me. There are some pills that can’t be taken with liquids, others that need to be taken with foods, and still others that need to be taken at 4 different times throughout the day. My days have literally morphed into taking pills, pumping, and trying to breastfeed the baby. And I have to get up through the night, when the baby is sleeping, to try to get a jump on producing the milk she’s going to need for the day, which I’m not keeping up with anyway.
At this point we’ve more than spent what the nicest formula would cost for the year and I’m pretty sure that the monthly bill for these pills (some of which I have to order from outside the country) is equal to or more than the cost of formula. There are some who would argue the immunological benefits of breast milk (and I count myself part of that group) are worth the effort and as long as I’m able to produce some milk for my baby, then I should be giving it my all. It seems like taking the easy road out to just start supplementing what I’m producing/what my donor friend is giving me with formula.
But where does the quality of life argument come in? At what point do you say it’s no longer ok to sacrifice a good night’s sleep to get up and pump, or worry about a date night and how you’re going to pump while out, or try to figure out how to entertain your crying baby because you’re getting close to the 4 hour mark, and you really musn’t go over that?
I guess my current struggle is to find the balance. And at the end of the day, it has to be my decision as to what I will and won’t do to give my child the best I think she deserves. Is it better to have a well rested mother with time for her, or to have all the benefits that human milk provides? Is there an ethical dilemma in stopping my own production while still asking for donor milk? What will be the decision that will best help me to look back at this time with no regrets? Tough call.