this is just my breastfeeding story. i know we can only handle one taboo topic at a time. and i figure what better way to change up things up from love stories than to talk about nursing. my friend, mindy, shared her story the other day and stirred up some memories in my crazy mind. around the same time my girlfriends and i discussed breastfeeding while getting our toenails painted and i received an email from a friend, linking this post. i love that post, just saying. so, here i am. ready to share my own little saga. and let's be clear, i am only able to share this because i am not currently nursing. otherwise i would obviously be too much of a hot mess to even type these words.
on april 19th 2008 brody entered this world and tipped the scales at ten pounds twelve ounces. his face was so swollen and bruised from the birth that my dad said he looked like a drunk old man in a bar fight. thanks for that sentimental moment, dad. (my dad doesn't read this blog. or if he does, he will immediately stop reading at the word breast.) i quickly tried, as everyone encouraged me to, to nurse him shortly after he was born, as to get us both used to this whole…thing. looking back now, i can only imagine how painful it was for his traumatized little face to even attempt to nurse.
he wouldn't latch on. ever. during our stay in the birthing center there was always a nurse, lactation consultant, my husband, and maybe my mom, a sister, aunt or friend, hoovered over my chest trying to get the child to latch. he slept and slept and slept and i continued to try to feed a child that wanted nothing to do with colostrum. my back hurt in ways i could never have imagined from hunching over trying to position my boob into his mouth in just the right way, all while pinching alongside my nipple to release the milk, just like i was taught. i will not, for lack of making you vomit up your breakfast, go into detail of all the other ways i hurt. football hold, laying on my side, the boppy, my breast friend, nothing was working. he was losing weight and i was engorged. on the day we were to go home i remember being a massive amount of pain as he was sucking, and tiredly grimacing up to my sweet friends, nodding that i think he finally had it! only to look down and see a huge bruise a inch away from my nipple. did i just write nipple twice in the past few sentences?
the next few days were filled with tears, pain, raging emotions, ice packs, long hot showers, force feeding and opinions from all surrounding me. my poor husband was probably wondering what in the world happened to his wife. i laid in bed, topless, aching and moaning as my mom and her sweet friend, who is an infant nurse, attempted to get brody to latch on at all costs. no such luck. we broke out the pump and i would, ever so painfully, pump out these two measley ounces of breast milk. and because do not give him a bottle or he will never go back to the breast was drilled into my brain, i would put those two measley ounces in a SYRINGE and try to drop into my baby's mouth. i am pretty sure none of it ever made it in. he was still losing weight and i was reccomended to wake him up every two hours to feed him. every two hours, you say? well it takes me two hours to do the whole process from start to finish. so i'll just keep nursing twenty four hours a day while spitting out the food i was trying to swallow from crying so hard.
days turned into weeks which turned into months. it consumed my life. i would sweat profusely and feel like i was walking in the sahara, i was so parched. i hated breastfeeding, i didn't feel an emotional connection to my child while doing it. in fact, i felt a lot worse about myself and about brody while i nursed. every day was a new struggle. there was never a point in time where he would latch on, eat for ten minutes (or even twenty or thirty minutes) and be done. it was keeping him awake, keeping him latched on, repositioning, and latching again. for some absurd reason i nursed for seven months. let me say that again, SEVEN MONTHS. i felt like i had to nurse him. like i would let a large amount of people down if i couldn't successfully breastfeed my child. i knew it was best for him and it was free. hello, one income family.
i wish someone would have slapped me across the face. really, really hard. and then hand me a whole bunch of formula. target brand, please.
maybe i wasn't feeding my child the better milk when i stopped nursing but, i was a better mom. i was happier, i enjoyed my baby more. i felt better about myself and about my child. he enjoyed eating and left satisfied. something i could never say about nursing.
i am happy to say that i am now okay with being a formula feeding mom. more than okay actually, i am proud. i am proud i attempted and gave it my all. i feel no shame, not one ounce, for giving my child a large bottle of the powdery stuff. i am also happy to say that i breastfed foster for six months. it wasn't easy, i didn't like it, and i still felt very down while nursing but, it wasn't nearly as traumatizing. if and when we have more children i will try it again. only this time i will stop dead in my tracks if i start to walk down that dark road again.
ahh, it feels good to get that off my chest.