An End to Combination Feeding

My son just turned one year old a couple of days ago. Our pediatrician encouraged us to stop with the bottle (easier said than done) and make the switch to whole milk. I grew up on whole milk and that is still what I buy as an adult. I did half formula and half milk for a couple days, then cut it down less and less until he was drinking it full flavor. He doesn’t seem to like it ice cold from the fridge, so I add a couple ounces of hot water to take the chill out.

I combination fed, that is to say that I breastfed and did formula simultaneously until about a month ago. My goal was to do a solid year on the boob. So why stop early? I will tell you why! One day, I was holding Baby X while he played with his stacking cups. As is the norm for me until I have to leave the house or am expecting company, I was lounging in my pj bottoms and a tank top. Baby X pulled the top down of my tank top, leaned down, and bit my nipple. He wasn’t interested in eating or comfort sucking. He just thought it was funny. I yelled and jerked away and he started to cry. So that was it. He became a full formula baby. I miss it. I miss the love drug rush my body gave me. I miss the look in his eyes as he took his sustenance from me. I miss being his provider. Part of me even missed doing it in public, a sort of “I dare you to say something” look in my eye. Sadly, my well thought out speech telling the offended party what they could do to themselves never got to be said… 

My sister, who exclusively breastfed for 2 years, told me to just sternly tell him “no” and give him a bop on the nose. It worked for her. The other part to my story is the part where I was ready to get a small piece of myself back. Motherhood is an all-consuming experience. It is a dirty, mostly thankless, on call 24/7, covered in bodily fluids, all encompassing job/calling/lifestyle/prison sentence. After 38.5 weeks in the womb and another eleven months out of it, a tiny human had been sucking my body dry. Sure, it’s a magical, wonderful thing. It’s also exhausting and depleting. Sometime in the next 6 months or so, we are hoping to start this process again and add another little mouth to our little family. A mouth that will need fed. From my body. For almost two years. So this is a little break in the middle, feeding only myself is a vacation. A working vacation. It is also a rehab, time for my body to fill the metaphorical shelves with canned goods in preparation for the long famine ahead after a long famine behind me. 

I would breastfeed again. I would combination feed again. I would do it with a little less guilt next time. I am privileged to live in a time when there exists a powder capable of feeding my child. A magical powder that enables women to occasionally have a couple of glasses of wine (or several), to spend an evening away, to allow another person the intense joy of feeding a child (however irrationally jealous it may make me). It is a tool and tools are meant to be used. 


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