*Feel free to skip this super long post about my breastfeeding .
My first two children, I chose to and was able to nurse for about 14 months each. I enjoyed it. It was a blessing. It came very easily to me and I had few problems. The engorgement with my first baby was very painful. I mean nothing could have prepared me for it. Luckily I had my mom there heating wet towels in the microwave for me and laying them across my chest. It only lasted a few days though and after that I had a wonderful experience with nursing ( okay, I also had one bout of mastitis which was no fun either). It was so handy and convenient and I was not one to be ashamed of nursing in public. That being the case I waited too long to introduce a bottle and never pushed the issue and then did feel a little tied down by nursing because none of my first three children ever took to a bottle. Since there was no neccesity for them to take one, I figured it was only months of their lives and mine and we weren't missing much by not having any bottles in the picture. It was especially handy when I never had to wean them from a bottle. They went straight from the breast to sippy cups. They never took pacifiers either, so it was one less thing to worry about as far as I was concerned.
With Henry (my third) I got pregnant when he was only 5 months old (woops). I sensed that my milk supply was low and tried a little harder to get him to supplement with bottles with no luck. When he was about 7 months old we had a check up and discovered that he hadn't gained any weight for a couple of months. We also found out that he had several allergies and was probably not absorbing the nutrients from my milk because I was eating all the things he was allergic to. At that time my mom kindly allowed me to go with Trent to Seattle for a weekend so that she could get Henry on a bottle. Even with me gone for 2 nights he never took to a bottle. My mom was giving him solids and sips of soy formula from a cup since he would have nothing to do with a bottle nipple. I came home and started trying soft top sippy cups (the nuby's). He finally realized that I wasn't offering him the breast anymore and took to the soy formula, but never would do a bottle. But I was still glad that I had gotten 7 good months of breastfeeding with him.
This time around with my little Paisley has been so different. I was able to breastfeed several times after she was first born. But after a few hours she had to be moved into the "special care" nursery. They would bring her in my room to feed, but I was still released a couple of days before her. I would drive back to the hospital for most of her feedings, but with 3 other kids I decided to stay home during the night and just leave my milk for her. So Paisley was able to drink from a bottle very early. Although she clearly preferred nursing, as did I. The nurses told me that when they would pull out the bottle, they could tell she was a nurser because she would root around on the bottle with her mouth all wide and she didn't like latching on to the small nipples. So when we got her home I didn't bottle feed her for weeks. But then I started having problems with bleeding nipples and all of that. I was pumping to let my nipples heal and feeding her my milk in bottles. I noticed my milk was not filling her up. I started supplementing. My nipples were feeling somewhat relieved and tried nursing again. It was never the same. I didn't have enough milk anymore. I tried herbal supplements to boost my supply. Paisley had an allergic reaction, getting red and blotchy. I tried pumping in between feedings. Nothing worked, my body was done. I had gotten about 3 months of nursing in, I had to accept that was all. It was hard. It is still hard. I hate reading the bold words on the formula cans Breastmilk is best for babies. I know that. It's best for me too. But it's just not happening anymore. I hate that I can't give her any more of what I used to call "comfort sucks" when she is upset. Sometimes I want so badly just to pull her to me and feed her the way I used to. But I can't. I am sure I miss it more than she does. I always thought it was so divine( I use that word because I think we are so perfectly designed by our Creator) that I could continue to provide for my baby everything she could ever need for 6 full months after she left the womb. I know it isn't for everyone, but I've always loved it. I will enjoy the fact that I can go out occasionally and let Trent put the baby to bed. I will enjoy the fact that I can feed my baby without leaving sacrament meeting. I know that my baby and I will be just as bonded as any other mother is to her breastfed child, but all the same I will miss it.