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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Quest for Liquid Gold

For something that is supposed to be easy, breezy and natural - anyone who has spoken to me for more than two minutes these past two months would be able to tell you that I have not been finding breastfeeding to be anything remotely easy. My husband has walked in more times than I can say with my baby crying, me in tears and us looking nothing remotely like the lovely, peaceful pictures of women gracefully bonding with their child doing something called the football hold. I tried to tell myself that the reason I was so bad at it was because I have never been good at football, but even that excuse sounded lame to me.

I would talk to my friends who all offered words of sympathy and encouragement. But I knew, deep in my heart, that none of them had been as clumsy at this as me. I was a leaky, hormonal, mess and the truth was finally out there for everyone to see. At the same time, I finally also knew what it would be like to look like a Playboy model and the large proportions that at some point I thought would be cool to have had DEFINITELY LOST THEIR LUSTER. My body now boasted what felt like foreign appendages that hurt, that leaked, and truly had a mind of their own - if not their own zip code.

Since my son was a preemie and had to deal with some illness in his early days, he was pretty weak when he was born so I found myself attached to this monstrosity of a pump that we got from the hospital. I found myself staring at this machine that I would have to get pretty close to over the first five weeks of my son's life with trepidation, distrust and fear. i felt like a cow as I sat in a corner of the sitting area in our bedroom and pumped out what felt like my blood, sweat and tears (tears because I was still crying for reasons unknown even to me). But by five weeks, me and that pee green machine were the best of friends and I missed having to return it to the hospital. We had a lot of time to bond.

So - if I have so many issues with breastfeeding, why am I still doing it? Well, as we all know - "breast is best!" and of course I hear what everyone says about it being liquid gold for the baby, full of antibodies and whatnot. But the truth of the matter is, I breastfeed out of guilt. I feel terribly guilty that I didn't do it with my firtsborn, Shaila. As a matter of fact, any time she misbehaved or came down with a cold or had a tantrum at Costco, I just know what my husband was thinking.


He never said it in so many words, but my instinct is SPOT ON about these things so trust me, that's what he was thinking.

And of course, there were others who told me exactly what they thought. I was getting my hair done shortly after Shaila was born and the woman shampooing my hair asked me if I was breastfeeding. When I told her I wasn't, she immediately stopped the running water.

"Why, did you have a C-section? Any medical issues?" asked the lady incredulously.


"Well, you know its better for the baby, right?" Um. Hell0? What's your name again lady?
"I have my reasons for not doing it." Which I did. (Another blog).

"Well - all I'm saying is its better for the baby."
"Listen lady, that's not all your saying. Your accusations, judgement and verbal abuse say so much more. So get the damn shampoo out of my hair and keep your opinion to yourself." I said with flourish and a lot of passion.
I told her. IN MY HEAD. Of course I didn't say that because I'm too nice. In all seriousness, who the heck was she to say that? I, of course, feeling guilty and selfish already (as I realized I would every day for the rest of my life in some way as a mother) did not say anything.

But I guess that that ridiculously rude lady and my husband's unspoken resentments from the Costco checkout line weighed on me. So this time around, I vowed that Nico would have that liquid gold, even if it caused me to be in tears the first part of his life, darnit.

So - we are going about it. It's two months and Nico and I are kind of figuring out along the way - though I think he is far from impressed with my bumbling and fumbling as I try to keep him fed. I hope he is not too scarred from this experience but only time will tell.

As for Shaila, my two year old breast milk deprived firstborn, she runs around the house pulling up her shirt and pointing at her chest screaming "LOOK AT MY BOOBIES. I GO PUMPING." So, apparently, she is already scarred from all of this and has been much more prone to be impacted negatively.

Poor thing. If only she had been breastfed.


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