Okay, let me just state here for the record that I am about to shamelessly violate my limited-baby-blog rule in this entry. And just a warning to any fellows that might be reading this: I will be talking about my boobs. And probably not in a way you want to read about them. I will, however, spare you any photos.
I thought that labour and delivery would be the hardest part of Mummyhood. And yes, that part was pretty tough. It's not often one finds oneself down on all fours on a hospital floor, groaning like a stuck pig and crying your husband's name through gritted teeth. (My friend, who's a nurse, was horrified: "Oh Kim, tell me you didn't touch the floor in TRIAGE???") And I'm getting a handle on sleep deprivation, Jade's occasional screaming fits, and even the explosive diaper surprises that land on my hand/leg/shoulder. Know what's brought me to tears more than anything? BREASTFEEDING.
How is it that something that should be so instinctual is so freaking DIFFICULT? The boobs just aren't working. I mean, that's what the darned things are for, right? And babies are hungry mammals, right? So how come possums and kittens and all those other critters can figure it out so quickly when Jade and I are still struggling after 5 weeks to get it right?
D's aunt stopped in for a visit last week and I poured out my woes to her. The older generation doesn't have much advice to offer a mum who is wrestling with the agonies of nursing; they all did bottles with formula, on their doctors' orders. In fact, D's aunt told me that she tried breastfeeding one of her kids while in the hospital, only to be scolded by the doctor, who said, "What the hell are you doing? That's not what those are for!" Um...huh? Yikes.
Today's approach is completely the opposite. There are a lot of militant breastfeeders out there and God forbid you mention formula to them. If I see "breast is best" emblazoned on another hand-out or poster I'm going to tear it down and use it for diaper liners.
I had pastoral visions of breastfeeding my baby: we would be cuddled together in a comfy chair, watching the sun rise and bonding. Instead, I'm rolling around in my office chair at 4am, wrestling with a baby who growls with impatience as I try to figure out the correct latching technique so as not to injure my already screaming sore nipples. It's magical. Really.
Believe me, I've tried to get help. Five lactation consultants, horrid finger feedings, pumping (which is a whole new exercise in humiliation), Dr. Newman's website, prescription tit cream and many tears later, we are nowhere near expert level, but we are not giving up. Why? Because I just really want to breastfeed my baby. It's something I've always dreamed of doing, and while I have nothing against formula per se, I think breastfeeding is healthiest for Jade. I have enough milk and she seems to love it, so that's not the issue. I just can't have subjected my chest to 5 weeks of torment only to cave in and switch to bottles.
And so, I hereby swear by all the lanolin I have in my cupboard that we WILL succeed! Honestly, I don't think I've ever worked this hard at achieving anything in my life. I'm not sure if that's sad or uplifting!