Saturday, January 21, 2006
Another post about my boobs
I am not an entirely crunchy granola type. I have elements of that in my personality, but it does not define me. Unless of course we're talking about my views on parenthood and what makes a good parent.
For myself (ok, and the lowercase, but his involvement in all of these is obvious and I assure you that my desires are what I want based on what I want for him), I wanted a full term pregnancy.
I wanted a natural delivery without medications. Granted, I wanted this in a hospital with a perinatologist delivering my son, but "natural" nonetheless.
I wanted to breastfeed from the start and never give my child a bottle of formula. I was a breastfed baby who self weaned at 3 years old. I wanted to let my son self wean at the age of his choosing (and if that meant I was offering my breast to a 5 year old before bed and any naps he might take, so be it). Please note that I was not opposed to bottles of breastmilk and intended for my son to have at least one of those per day to keep his daddy involved.
Now, for some brutal honesty. I know that "breastmilk is best." And I know that modern formulas are supposed to be healthy, good alternatives. I know that it's a matter of personal choice, etc. But...and here's where I've been afraid to admit it before...I think mothers who never attempt to nurse their babies at breast are bad mothers. And no, I don't really mean that. It's irrational and I know it isn't so. But when I give my son a bottle? That is how I feel. Like a bad mother.
I've had to give up a lot of things in my quest for a child, and I have admittedly gotten a rather perfect one, but there are some things I didn't want to give up.
Until recently, I have been a pseudo-vegetarian. I say that because it's become a bit ridiculous to classify what I am otherwise. When I met my husband, I was an "ovo-lacto-vegetarian" (I ate eggs, dairy, and veggies). He introduced me to sushi and I became an "ovo-lacto-pescatarian" (same as before but with the addition of fish). Now, because of increased protein needs and utter hatred of things like nuts (they make me gag), I eat lots of turkey and chicken. And I know there are proteins in things like beans and tofu and the aforementioned nuts...they aren't "complete" proteins. Meaning it takes more for your body to get the proper protein chains and they have to be consumed in certain combinations or whatever (or maybe I'm totally not remembering that correctly from when I stopped eating meat as a teenager twelve years ago). So, for my little one, I started eating things I wouldn't otherwise.
And then this week it happened. Even though all the medications I am on had my supply increasing and the supplements all seemed to be working, my son went on a nursing strike. He refuses to latch to the breast even with the nipple shield and after much finagling when I do get him latched, it is a decidedly poor latch (it makes the shield crinkle up around my nipple. It will stay smooth with a good latch). He isn't suckling much there.
Then when I take him off after my maximum try of 40 minutes of trying to get there and actual nursing, I offer him a supplemental bottle. Since mid-week, he now has trouble "finding" the nipple of the bottle once it is in his mouth. He shakes his head back and forth searching it out -- the same way a baby will do when searching for the nipple when latching to breast. And he cries. And I have to get a nipple to touch his tongue or the roof of his mouth just so all while he's moving about in order for him to recognize it's there and latch to the bottle.
Feeding time now makes me cry. A lot. And I hate breastfeeding. I have been trying for nearly 3 months (Monday morning at 4am it will be 12 weeks since his birth) and he still has not mastered nursing. My supply is a delicate bitch and simply won't stick around if he isn't nursing. And he isn't. I can only do this for so long.
Tomorrow I will meet with the lactation consultant. Three weeks ago when I began working with her, I felt that I hadn't given it my best shot yet. But now I feel like I have. I have tried desperately to nurse my son. It is something that I want more than anything.
But at this moment I have very little hope left. I have nothing telling me to persevere and I will be successful. I know he will never be exclusively breastfed, but I had hoped that he would be mostly breastfed. I had hoped to get down to only 1-2 bottles per day necessary. I had wanted to be able to wear my son out in public and nurse him from the safety of a sling (Dee has kindly offered to send me one she has never used). I had visions of sitting beneath a tree this summer overlooking the lake nursing my son. I imagined the freedom I would have to just be out and about without having to worry about carrying around bottles and keeping them from spoiling or lugging water to mix them up on the fly.
It's still what I want. I still don't want to give up. But I feel like yet another of the things that I felt I needed to do for me to be a good mother is being taken from me. I wanted to have that special bond with my son, that special thing that nobody else could do for him but me. And the truth is, I don't. Since this is my only chance, I felt like I deserved it. And I gave the effort all that I have. But I just can't get him to latch and it just isn't working.
I think I may have to give up. And my heart is broken. It's so broken that today I haven't fed my son at all -- I try to nurse and when he won't, I pass him off to Mr. W to give him a bottle and I leave the room.
I have an emergency appointment with my LC tomorrow afternoon. Maybe after the visit with her I will feel better about the situation, but I find it highly unlikely. Be prepared folks. Either I'm going to be full on enthusiastically telling everyone they should persevere no matter what because IT WILL WORK... or I'll be depressed to all hell at having to fold away yet another of my dreams of what motherhood would be for me.
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