It's been almost a month now since I stopped breastfeeding, and I don't know that I could be much happier about my decision.
When I had Em I wasn't sure if I'd be able to breastfeed. My mom had problems with it (production issues) and I wasn't sure if that was a genetic thing or not, but I wanted to try and figured I'd do it as long I could... not just for the health related reasons, but also because it a whole LOT cheaper!
Emily was a natural breast-feeder and didn't have much trouble latching on at all. While I was home on my maternity leave, nursing was great. It was easy, and available and free. When we would leave the house, I wouldn't have to worry about bringing a bottle/formula because I was biologically prepared. And, much to my surprise, it was working. She was gaining weight. She was happy and healthy. And, aside from frustration from time to time that I was the only one who could actually feed her, I was doing ok, too.
And then I went back to work... and had to pump. Pumping is no fun what-so-ever. It's especially no fun when you have to find the time to do it... on your breaks and lunch... meaning that I got no breaks or lunch... for almost 4 months. I locked myself in a single bathroom, with harsh lighting and a loud fan for 20 minutes or so 3 times a day. I FINALLY figured out how to use rubber bands to attach the cups to my nursing bra so I could read a book while I was stuck in there, but it was still an uncomfortable, unnatural, inconvenient activity... but I did it, for my daughter.
And then, one day, somewhere around the 4 month mark, I got an e-mail from our daycare provider that she had run out of milk... and it was only about noon. I had a mini-meltdown at my desk. Thankfully, we had some formula packets in the diaper bag as a "just in case" so there was an option available for her last couple afternoon bottles... but she had never had formula before and I didn't know if she'd take the bottle. I was angry and frustrated that I wasn't able to provide for my daughter.
I was religiously taking fenugreek to help with my supply (SEVEN pills a day), but, even though I started to smell strongly of maple syrup, it did not appear to be helping and I was still quickly running through my freezer stash..so we started to supplement Emily's bottles with 50/50 milk and formula mix. At first she was a little annoyed, but she took to it, and I continued to feed her when I was able, and pumped at work... but I was pumping less and less every day.
Then one day I forgot my pump at home and went all day without pumping... I realized that I didn't physically NEED to pump anymore (i.e. there was no "uncomfortable" feelings if I didn't do it), and I was able to take an actual lunch break! I decided that I would stop pumping at work, and try to do it once at night, and again first thing in the morning.
This went on for a couple of weeks until Emily hit what must have been a 6 month growth spurt. One days she nursed, and nursed, and nursed and was not getting enough to satisfy her. I felt horrible. I felt like I wasn't doing my job... and that something was wrong with me. Finally I succumbed and gave Emily a bottle of formula... and she guzzled that thing down... which made me feel even worse about my own inabilities.
At that point, out of anger and frustration, I told Jacob that I was done. I couldn't handle the stress of it anymore... but I still continued to nurse about once a day (always supplemented by a bottle directly afterward). Until, one day, I didn't nurse... and then two days... and then three. I didn't intentionally stopped, I just kind of forgot about it. And I am so relieved.
I feel like a giant weight has been lifted off of my shoulders. No longer am I the sole food provider. No longer do I have to worry about what I eat (or drink!) and how it will effect the little one. No longer do I have to worry/feel guilty when she has bad gas because it must have been my fault for eating the bean burrito for lunch. No longer do I have ti find a comfortable, somewhat private place to sit down and nurse when I'm in public... I can give her a bottle... anywhere!
For the first 6+ months of her life Emily got at least SOME breast milk, and, for that, I am proud of myself, but I am perfectly happy not to go another 6 months.