My sister wrote a bit about it here. About a month and a half ago, I wrote a bit about it here. Otherwise I have been fairly silent on the issue. But the truth is, there's rarely a moment when I'm not thinking about my ta-tas and their seeming inability to feed my child.
And before I dive too deeply into my latest self-pity party, I need to acknowledge that I have had a ton of support and encouragement from a great many people trying to help me figure this out. I truly appreciate the love of all of my People who have worked with me to figure this business out. No one has said anything to make me feel guilty or incompetent. They know I've tried. I know I've tried. But when you are me, even when you know you are doing your best and doing "best practices" for your kid, you still manage to blame yourself.
Just as I had an idea of the kind of pregnant woman I would be (i.e. the RUNNING kind), I have an idea of the kind of mama to an infant I am (i.e. the exclusively BREASTFEEDING kind). While I don't plan to pose for the cover of Time Magazine with my breast-icles in my kid's mouth anytime soon (obviously I'm holding out for Field & Stream) I have always been fairly Old School in that way. My feeling is that Moms who can ought to keep their baby's belly full, brain developing and body growing in that most magical, lactational, fantastical way.
And dammit, aren't I a Mom who CAN!?
Much like the idea of not running right through my pregnancy was almost too much to bear, not being able to nourish my child as nature intended is making me a little bonkers. I'm healthy. I'm accommodating to his belly aches. (Ask me about the two weeks when I couldn't eat wheat, dairy, soy, chocolate, corn, broccoli, cauliflower, onions, peanuts, caffeine, citrus, green peppers.... I called it the "Rice Chex and Fruit Diet"). And (mostly) I'm well-intended!
So how the hell do my girls have the nerve to produce at such a meager level?
My guess is that a good chunk of the problem came from my well-intentioned change of diet. In aiming to solve one problem (G's terrible gas pains) I caused another (inadequate caloric intake with the Rice Chex & Fruit Diet). For the record, this diet DID eliminate the gas issue... but obviously the whole losing-weight-in-the-second-month-of-life thing is a BIG problem.
Currently I am taking Fenugreek (an herbal supplement meant to enhance lactation), drinking Mother's Milk tea and (as advised by my doctor) enjoying a beer every afternoon. I am nursing him as frequently as humanly possible - at the first sign of hunger. In the night I am co-sleeping with him so he can "slurp" at will. I am attempting to take in "dense" calories as my midwife suggested. (Still off of dairy because I am SURE that makes his tummy cramp up horribly but otherwise I've ditched the insane diet).
He's STILL so very hungry. He STILL takes 2 - 4 ounces after every nursing session. And sometimes when he's hungry, he just screams at my boob instead of nursing. He screams and screams until I finally give him a couple of ounces of formula.... after which he will nurse some.... after which he wants more formula.
Oh, and I'm not talking about the ridiculously priced formula. I'm talking about the SUPREMELY ridiculously priced formula. I've taken to calling it his Dom Perignon. I tried, in fact, to work in a slightly-less-pricey-but-still-intended-to-aid-colicky-babies variety. No good. He cramped up terribly and screamed like crazy.
We're hanging in with the Dom, so it seems.
Formula stinks (literally). And when I'm out in public and I have to make a bottle, I feel like I need to explain all my efforts at nursing to any strangers who might be witnessing the transgression.
Before you hit the "comment" button and scold me for griping about what is, ultimately, a very First World Problem, yes, I DO know how lucky I am. Lucky to have three healthy and happy children, a supportive and loving husband, and the means care for them all. I know that in this sense I am exceptionally blessed. I DO count my blessings. I DO appreciate the gift that Gabriel is to my life and to the world around him.
But at my core I know I was meant to be a nursing mama. And I know I was meant to be good at it.
Someone apparently forgot to tell my mammaries.
|Maybe my favorite picture of him so far.|