"Someday's gonna be a busy day..."

Monday, 22 June 2009

The agony and the ecstasy...

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!


Susan said...

Ouch - I feel your pain! Hopefully, you and Jade will figure it out; I'm not a militant breastfeed-supporter, but I do think it's healthiest for baby for at least the first six months. If pumping is the only way you can get it into her, don't feel like you're a failure - you're a success! As for myself, I had no success with pumping, so it was either the real deal or formula...

Biddie said...

Breastfeeding IS difficult! I was always secretly envious of those around me that seemed like old pros!
I pumped for Kayla and after a bit I felt like a cow. That blasted machine was whirring constantly!
You muct be doing something right though...You've already lasted longer than I ever could have.

Lois said...

Hey Kim!
I know how you want to breast feed and I know you are stressing about it but that isn't good for Jade...or you.
If you have to use a breast pump then do it, store the milk until you need it and then enjoy the feeding time with Jade. She'll be moe relaxed, you'll definatly be more relaxed and both of you will sleep better. Speaking of sleeping, remember..your suppose to sleep when she sleeps during the day that way both of you get your proper rest.
Good luck mommy!

Mrs Successful said...

Hi Kimber

Are you red-headed (not to be confused with hot-headed!!!). I've heard that can make breastfeeding difficult (but there's bound to be loads of red-heads out there who would disagree).

I think it's wonderful that you're persevering. You don't have any other children around who need your attention, so if you master breastfeeding with Jade, then look how easy it will be next time round (especially if you have twins). (hehehe)xx

Loved your wee story and I lauged at your terminology.

Gingham Skies said...

Thinking of you and your breasts.

Gingham Skies said...

I should clarify... I'm thinking of you and wishing you luck with the breastfeeding battle!

Kimber said...

Well, thankfully things are going a little better, so thanks everyone for cheering me (and my boobs) on! If only I could figure out why Jade persists in yanking at my poor dumplings and growling at the end of every feeding...is she saying, "Mmmm!!! SO DELICIOUS!!! GIVE ME MORE!" or is she saying, "Mmmm! Good to the last drop! I'm done!" ???