I have something to get off my chest.
Ha! Here is my post on breastfeeding, something I’ve been composing in my head for at least the past 3 months. Notice to my male relatives: Do not read further. You will not like it. There will be talk of boobs, nipples, etc., and you will not want that mental image in your head.
OK, so breastfeeding. I always planned to do it. It’s the best food for your baby, right? Before Little Miss was born, I went to a breastfeeding class, bought all the accessories, and then we ran into problems. She didn’t gain weight. I frantically went to lactation consultants, and after about 3 weeks of struggling with pumping, and a “lazy sucker” that would fall asleep each time I’d feed her, and trying to use a supplemental nursing system (can’t tell you how much I hated that), I threw in the towel and pumped for 6 months.
I calculated it out — that was about 1.5 million pumps on my poor, poor, nipples, which eventually gave out and cracked to the point that I was worried there was irreperable harm done to them.
So, as I was preparing for round two, I was more determined than ever that breastfeeding would WORK this time. I bought books ahead of time, talked to lactation consultants ahead of time, and had arrangements for a lactation consultant to see me when I attempted to breastfeed Little Man while in recovery from surgery.
The first roadblock I had with him was a bad latch, which caused blistering and cracking, and it was so darn painful to nurse him that I wanted to give up. But I didn’t. I talked to lactation consultants, and managed to heal my poor poor nipples so that we could exclusively breastfeed right up until he was 3.5 weeks of age. That’s when we went in for a check up, and he was still a half pound shy of returning to his birth weight.
That’s right, I must make skim milk. It was then I found out that the calories in breastmilk can vary widely, and I’m telling you people that I just don’t make good milk, as neither baby thrived on my milk. That is something that the public service announcements just don’t tell you.
So, the pediatrician had me start supplementing with formula after each feeding, and within about 24 hours, Little Man would no longer nurse efficiently (same as what happened with his sister).
I had vowed I wouldn’t exclusively pump again, but the fear of swine flu provoked me to do it. So, I hooked up. I pumped and pumped and pumped. I pumped while driving, when I should have been sleeping, and when I was feeding Little Man via a bottle. I had visions of pumping until 6 months again, but then I went to New Mexico to visit my parents.
I pumped on the plane, pumped while visiting them, and then one day, we went to the mall, where I had planned to pump in the car. My pump was stolen from my parents’ car. It was just – poof, gone.
That turned out to be drama that I didn’t need… My poor Dad went down to the mall to ask mall security and police officers about a stolen breast pump. Mom frantically called lactation consultants to try to find me another pump. And I was so darn fed up that I just decided it was a sign from the universe to STOP THE INSANITY. I decided against buying another $250 pump, considering I wasn’t sure how much longer I wanted to pump anyway, and was forced to quit cold turkey.
Now, wasn’t that fun. I had p0rn star b00bs for about 3 days. I could squirt milk about 3 feet with the pressure in those babies. Mom rented me a pump to help take the pressure off, which helped, but it was still emotionally draining, especially with reports on the news daily of how many children were dieing from swine flu…
So, I’m done breastfeeding for good (as I’m 99.99% sure we’re done with having kids). It wasn’t the great bonding experience I wanted it to be. I actually look at women breastfeeding with such envy… It is supposed to be easy, but both times it was a huge struggle for me. Both times, I ended up doing twice the work as I’d be pumping and then feeding the baby bottles.
With all the media pushing breastfeeding, one of the side effects is that it imposes a ton of mother guilt when breastfeeding doesn’t work out. So far, Little Man is thriving on formula. He’s 90th percentile in height and weight. Granted we’re paying about $30/week to feed him, but it’s well worth the peace of mind I have not worrying about my next pump and dwindling supply, and how to balance my limited spare time with pumping responsibilities.
Something that also makes me laugh is when people bill breastfeeding as being so much cheaper than formula feeding. Perhaps, but in my case, there were so many accessories, that I spent a ton of money just trying to get things working, and when they never did, it felt like a sink hole for money.
For instance, there is the pump ($250), the car adapter ($10), the hands free pumping bra ($30), the nipple cream ($9/container), the warm compression pads ($15), the cooling nipple pads ($16), the nursing bras ($25 each), the bottles that won’t interfere with breastfeeding ($16), the books (spent about $45 on 3 books), Fenugreek ($10), Reglan (Rx to improve supply), Mother’s Milk tea ($4), the nursing bracelet ($6), pump accessories, etc, etc. You see where I’m going? For those of us that have trouble breastfeeding, there is a whole industry out there to take your money. I tell you — when your nipples are cracked and bleeding, you will pay ANYTHING to stop the pain and be able to continue breastfeeding. It’s a total racket.
So, my baby is formula fed now. I’m not proud of it. I’m hoping he won’t get some nasty illness that will land him in the hospital. But I’m pretty sure he’s going to be A-OK. And one month after my pump was stolen, I have to admit I feel so liberated from that damn pump. I have my life back. My body is now my own. And I can have a drink whenever the heck I feel like it.