One day before Zoey turned a month old, she began a growth spurt. She began eating every hours for 5 or more hours straight. (That is calculating from the beginning of one feeding to the beginning of the next, ex. 1:15pm, 2:15pm, 3:10pm...) To say the least I could not keep up. Not only was my milk running low, but my breast were about ready to fall off. My breast hurt long after she stopped nursing. We didn't want to give her formula so soon, but once I couldn't hold her to my chest anymore because of the tenderness, I had a change of heart.
I gave in and gave her a formula bottle at the fifth hour of her every hour feedings. I couldn't continue to nurse that often, I was wearing out. She took the bottle easily and had no problem with the formula over breast milk. I breathed a sign of relief. I take back all that I have said in the past about the ease of breastfeeding. It is not easy. Kudos to any mother who solely breastfeed for the first year.
I don't intend to stop breastfeeding, but I must admit the huge burden released off my shoulders after giving her that first formula bottle. I felt so much pressure to breastfeed and so trapped because I was the only one who could feed her (every 2-3 hours before this growth spurt). I couldn't leave or have any time for myself. In addition, it was looking bleak for her sake when I have to go back to work in a month. I would pump breast milk, but even if I managed to squeeze 3 ounces (which was rare, it was usually a max of 2 ounces) she would eat all of that and still be hungry. How could anyone else watch her if I had to be there even if she drank from a bottle. Not to mention if we had company or went out of the house for any length of time. Breastfeeding is still possible, but very inconvenient. Going to the store was one thing, but what about the hour or more when we are in church, I would miss half of the service to breastfeed. This was slowly getting me down. I felt like I had a chain around my ankle.
I felt a huge relief with the introduction of the formula bottle, both physically and mentally. I won't stop breastfeeding, but Zoey will get some formula bottles, probably everyday. Now the transition of me going back to work will be easier and other people (including Stephen) can watch her if it is needed. It makes her poop smell worse, but she is also getting full easier and my breast are getting a much needed rest. Thankfully, Zoey is going back and forth between breast milk/formula and breast/bottle with little to no trouble.
This is what works for us. I am very glad of the change and Zoey doesn't seem phased at all by it. I'm glad we could compromise and it will be easier as I go back to work and our lives continuously become more active again.