Posted by: emjb | November 27, 2005

Mama decides in favor of sanity

I’ve decided to let myself off the hook for breastfeeding. My milk never really came in, in the two weeks since the birth, and with all that I’ve been recovering from, I’ve decided that this is one thing I can do for myself.

I cried over this of course (but then, hey! I cry about everything these days). I believe in breastfeeding, and my son likes breastfeeding, and I wanted to feed him for a whole year to start him off right. But…my body is not into it. There are ways of bullying the reluctant boob; fenugreek supplements, round the clock nursing/pumping. After several nights of attempts, tears, and anxiety attacks, though, I’ve decided that these things are not challenges I can take on right now. Maybe on the next child, if there is one, I can get it right. But as much as I have nursed, Nathan has always needed a large amount of formula too…and I just don’t have the desire to cut down on his formula and force him to struggle and starve to get enough out of me. If that would even work.

It got clearer to me when I talked to my sister in law today, who did breastfeed, but who was always able to make enough for her daughter. If that had happened even once in the last two weeks, I would have felt encouraged. But it hasn’t. And then she started talking about thrush, and mastitis, and all that comes with breastfeeding much of the time, and I thought, Jesus, I can’t even deal with it now. Thrush would be the last straw.

And in the meantime, I haven’t been enjoying my baby, at all; every time I looked at him, I would instead be worrying, when would he be hungry next? Would I have anything to offer him? And he is such a sweet baby…he only cries when he’s hungry or needs changing, he sleeps easily once he’s tired, he’s incredibly cute, and so tiny. I want to enjoy this time, instead of seeing it as a long hard slog of struggling against my body and his appetite. I want to show him off, take him around, free myself from a constant obsession with my reluctant boobs. And hell, if he’s going to need supplementation anyway, why exactly am I beating myself up here? He’s the Hungry Man of babies; I’ll be spending the next 18 years struggling to come up with enough food to push down his gullet, most likely. Might as well get used to it now.

I haven’t been able to hold on to any of my plans for his birth or his first weeks. But I’m told that having your plans disrupted is par for being a parent, so maybe I should just take it in that spirit. In the meantime, I’m going to go in and make a bottle for his next feeding, then get some sleep. Talk to ya’ll later.

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