I hate feeding my baby!*

Before anyone calls CPS on me and thinks that I’m starving my child, WAIT! I am not. I will post a picture of his chubby thighs to prove it. I am, however,  NOT enjoying our journey into solid foods. It is the messiest, most frustrating and slow process ever. I wish he could just live on breast milk until he learns how to handle a spoon.  Drives me crazy.

Here’s why:

1. He is super grabby. That spoon does not make it to his mouth with only my hand to guide it. Nope. Tiny fingers reach out with ninja speed to pull off whatever bland pureed fruit/veggie combo we have going for the day and they continue to manipulate the liquid until it’s all over his lap. In his hair. On his eyelid. On his bottom. Sometimes in his mouth. REPEAT 137  TIMES.

2. He’d rather chew on the high chair strap. Somewhere between me wrestling the spoon out of his hands and dipping it into his bowl (a total of maybe 5 seconds) he has found the strap to his ‘seatbelt’ and plunged it into his mouth. Along with yesterdays ground in food. And Saturdays ground in food… I think that is the grossest process for me. You see, I made a fatal mistake as a first time mama. I thought that I needed a high chair that folded so I could fold it up and put it away after every feeding (seriously??! I’ve never done that, who has the time?). So I didn’t shop for an easy to clean high chair. The idea that food would get smashed into fabric and never be cleaned up, never crossed my mind. The sight of him stuffing that disgustingly filthy strap in his mouth makes my heart race and my blood pressure rise. I can feel it. Every. Time.  Makes me so crazy  that I ordered a new high chair that CANNOT GET HERE FAST ENOUGH! With removable straps. And a plastic seat. I’ll let you know how that goes.

3. ADD much? I get it, he’s a baby. They have minimal attention spans. But holy moly if it doesn’t drive me bonkers when he leans over the side of the high chair to look at the food he just threw on the floor. Thus getting more food on his arm and dribbling out a loooong line of drool. I’ve tried toys to distract him/keep him focused so I can sneak food into his mouth but even if he’s staring at the ceiling that ninja hand shoots out…it’s a disaster. We are both covered with a bowl full food after every meal. Three times a day. Seven days a week. I’ll never be clean again. *sigh*

4. Spending 5 days to ‘try out’ a new food. In the 3 months that I’ve been feeding him solids, he’s tasted, wait for it… 7 foods.  Yeah. It’s a process. And I hate making him taste things that make him gag because we have to weed it our for allergies. Wanna hear another mommy fail? Everything is mixed fruit. Or a sweet veggie. I am doing what all of the books and blogs tell you not to do. I am giving him a lifelong dependency on sugar. Because he won’t eat veggies without it. He’s gagged through 3 green vegetables. It’s a horrible thing to watch, you feel like you are torturing your child. So I add applesauce to it. Or sweet potato. He still gags over zucchini. We’ll keep working on it.

Well, the messy, adorable, little monster has awoken from his nap. It’s lunch time now. I’ve gotta put my game face on and enter the trenches.

Wish me luck.

*I still nurse him on demand. Just in case you were really worried.

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A first time mom on mother’s day

This isn’t the life I had planned for myself.

When I was going to college and figuring out what I wanted to do with myself, cleaning prunes out of my hair wasn’t on the short list of career goals. I was imagining show openings and thinking about Gala balls and gorgeous gowns (I was a vocal performance major so this wasn’t too far fetched). Instead, I traded in extravagant costumes and nights out shmoozing for easy access t-shirts and nights in with a 10PM bedtime. I thought I would be stressed out over memorizing arias but instead I wring my hands over the rarity of my son’s bowel movements (hence the prunes…). I thought I  would be in Florence right now, sitting in the shade of a piazza cafe and watching the street performers. But I sit in the shade of my carport, watching my son eat his first strawberry as he stares at me over the rim of his pack n’ play.

Nothing about my stay-at-home journey has been glamorous. I rarely wear makeup, I chopped all of my hair off, and a structured cocktail dress is out of the question (because how am I going to get my boob out to nurse?). But even though this isn’t the life I planned, it’s the life that was planned for me. This little guy was meant to be here. And I would trade late night rehearsals, Italian gelato, and minor fame for midnight snuggles, drooling toothy grins, and the honor of seeing my eyes in the face of my son.

Happy Mother’s Day!

 

Mommy Martyr?

Oh man. Where do I begin?

I have read numerous blogs about the “mommy martyr” lately. One has been circulating around Facebook and, to be honest, I find it rather offensive (much like the non-mommy martyr would likely find me offensive). Maybe it’s the sleep deprivation making me extra sensitive (martyr alert!) but I often find these types of blogs to be rude, callous, and self-righteous. Good for you for not struggling with anything. Good for you for clearly having the perfect support group and not needing an outlet. Good for you for having angelic, non-crying/clinging/demanding children that exhaust you to your core. Woohoo! You have clearly succeeded at motherhood and can die a perfectly happy parent now that your progeny flew effortlessly from your vagina to become the curer of cancer/poverty/famine/war/racism/classism/whatever-societal-issue-makes-you-angry-ism. Gold star for you!

I don’t know about you, but when I found out I was pregnant I signed up on a couple of websites for weekly updates on how my bean/peanut/apricot was growing (so creepy…). Along the way I discovered the open forums! I found these to be a wealth of information and a hell hole of bitter nasty women. Maybe I am being hypocritical by bitching about these “bitter nasty women” but I think there is a difference between us. Reading some of these forums, which as a first time mom seemed totally valid, I would find myself learning some valuable information. Then, out of nowhere, some horrible person would take the time out of their day to make a personal attack on the original poster. Either indirectly (or directly!) calling them stupid, belittling them, or accusing them of “bragging” in a very offensive tone (because tone in writing is so easy to decipher…). These would just piss me off. If I happened to read a post where this bullying was occurring (because really, there is no better word for it) I would often call them out on their unnecessary response (which is never helpful), and tell the original poster my honest opinion on their question. Every time I have posted on those, I get a “hug” (brag alert!). Because when you’re a new mom looking for answers from people going through the same thing, do you really need the haters to make you feel bad for having a different experience? No. You need someone to respond with helpful or encouraging information. And that is hard to come by. Enter the “mommy martyr” craze.

Don’t get me wrong, I know people who really do have their sh*t together! They don’t complain about motherhood or their roles as wife or their loss of self. They may not even have anything to complain about. Maybe they didn’t have to give anything up when they got married or had babies. And that’s great! Or maybe they gave up all of their dreams and their entire world got turned upside down and they just don’t talk about it. Awesome! Totally fine! But for those of you who feel like you aren’t who you wanted to be? Well, don’t write about it on baby center because those bitches will tear you a new one. Did you already lose all of your baby weight? Don’t brag about it because someone will make you feel ashamed of all your hard work (you’re poisoning your child with all the toxins you’re excreting by getting off your ass). Trying the CIO method? You should be able to sleep train by using any other method but THAT (you do know that you’re scarring your child for life and taking away his ability to ever deal with stress, right?). Co-sleeping after 6 months? Your baby will never fall asleep without you and before you know it you’ll have a teenager wedged between you and your husband (oh.my.gosh. STOP with the useless blabbing!).  See what I mean? Nothing is safe. You have a colicky baby who has kept you up for months? Bitch, get over it and stop being a martyr. As a matter of fact, I’m going to write a blog mocking your hardships so that everything you’re going through and everything you’re feeling will be completely invalidated. Does that help? Aren’t you glad you shared your experience? Do you feel better now that the trolls on the internet have personally attacked your life as you know it? Man, we are a community of supportive mommas, aren’t we? I just love advanced technology and the freedom it brings to attack people anonymously without any repercussions (hypocrite??).

Maybe these irk me because I do take on that stereotypical “mommy martyr” form. But are we not entitled to air our grievances too? In social media, we often only tell part of our story. Our blogs and rants do not tell you everything about us so you are judging us on a fragment of ourselves that we are willing to share at that moment. That makes us feel so good- thank you for your kindness and understanding! And on the other hand, we don’t know everything about you. So me calling you self-righteous? Probably a little too judgmental. I’m sorry- my bad. I’m sure you have other stuff going on and need to vent just as badly as we do. So vent away! My response to that is this: motherhood is hard  no matter how you slice it and everyone handles it differently. Some people can handle it like you, non-martyr mommy. Others handle it with wine and venting. Let’s try to be nice to each other and stop bitching. So here’s to being a supportive momma!

**FYI, this blog is used as a venting tool. Martyr alert: I live in the middle of nowhere, am a SAHM, have a husband with Aspergers, no friends within 100 miles and VERY often I feel alone. Sometimes, the best way for me to express my feelings is through a grammatically incorrect blog post. Bring on the attacks!

 

Hmm, yeah, I’m not a baby person.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m totally in love with my son! I’m not totally in love with being a huge grouch since I haven’t slept more than 1.5 hours straight since July. I’m also not in love with being a 24 hour buffet. Or not being able to pump so that someone else can give him JUST ONE BOTTLE! I’m not in love with being the only one that can get him calm and put to bed. Also not a huge fan of him chewing on every piece of clothing I have or putting my hair in his mouth (the hair has got to go). Not too thrilled about his ability to only nap for 20 minutes at a time either. Or the random bloody murder screaming fits that come out of nowhere. And can’t be fixed no matter what I do. Oy.

Unfortunately, my husband isn’t a ‘baby person’ either. But, most men aren’t. I mean, the little creatures kind of rely on the mother for at least a year (especially if your breastfeeding), sometimes longer. Husband can’t help out much  and he has major sensory issues. So, poopy diapers make him gag and the screaming baby in his ear gives him a physical reaction much like nails on a chalkboard (around the time Little Bear made his appearance, my husband got diagnosed with aspergers- but that’s a whole other post). Sooo, long pitiful sob story short, I’m on my own. But, he’s super great with toddlers. They love him! And we are both just waiting for that time to be upon us. Although we aren’t ready for LB to be mobile per se… it’s tricky.

Basically, parenthood is hard. Which, I knew. But you don’t realize what it is that makes it hard until you’re in the middle of it. And the sad part is, it’s just going to stay hard. But in different ways. I think that once we have a sleep schedule down, everything else won’t seem so earth shatteringly awful! Sleep does a mama good- especially this mama.

I’ll keep you all posted on the changing journey as he goes through the terrible two’s and we’re trying to figure out how we want to discipline. Or how we’re going to potty train him. Or teach him how to share once another Little Bear comes into the picture (if that even happens now…SLEEP!!). How old he can be when he goes on his first date. OR WHICH ONE OF US IS GOING TO TEACH HIM TO DRIVE!! Ok, I’m getting ahead of myself… first I have to figure out what solid food we are going to try in a few weeks. One step at a time. Deep breath. I’m thinking banana. Yeah, I can handle that. Bananas. That his dad can feed him.

*Whew*

It’s looking better already. Aaaand he’s screaming bloody murder out of the blue… gotta run!

“Is he sleeping through the night yet?” Shut the F up and get me a gallon of coffee.

My dad asked me this question after he asked  me if I’d seen The Hobbit yet. I wanted to slap him but it was a phone conversation so now I feel completely deprived of irrational violence. And when these questions come from family, I don’t mind as much. It’s more the judgmental tone of voice that accompanies such questions that grates on my already frayed nerves. So your experience 30 years ago was different. Good for you, glad you slept better. Get me coffee. And chocolate. STAT!

I’m on my third day in a row of clocking less than 4 hours of sleep. Before this 4 hour stretch, it wasn’t much better. I think the most I got last week was 6 hours. Once. And only because I went to bed at 8PM. So I’m a bit cranky. But in lieu of that question, I thought a friendly reminder to all those well-meaning-people-who-like-to-voice-their-very-unhelpful-opinions, might be on order:

1. Don’t ask someone with a baby less than 6 months old if said baby is sleeping through the night. Chances are the answer is ‘No’. And if it isn’t, well you’ll be able to tell by the mere absence of blood shot, glazed-over, crazy eyes. So just don’t ask.

2. But you will ask so if their answer is ‘No’, don’t tell them they need to get that baby sleeping through the night. No shit, Sherlock. We sleepless moms already know this. We also have read up on the subject and have a better understanding of what ‘normal baby sleep’ looks like than you probably do. Unfortunately it looks like this: blood shot, glazed-over, crazy eyes. Apparently it gets better? Stop asking.

3. If we are breastfeeding, and you’re a dude, don’t push formula on us just because your mama used formula. There is no guarantee that formula will get that baby sleeping more. Let me do it my way: grumpy, angry, sleep-deprived, and constantly nursing… if I want to go the formula route, I will. Without you telling me to do so.

4. If you’re a stranger in general, don’t ask us if we are breastfeeding. Don’t tell us to just let our baby cry. Don’t be nosy and ask if we had  a natural birth. I don’t even know you! Get out of my face before I fall asleep on your shopping cart.

5. Oh! And don’t come over and say stuff like, “You can’t have coffee, right?” (while brewing yourself a pot) or “I wish we could just share a bottle of wine!” It makes those of us who drink caffeinated coffee everyday and have the occasional drink feel incredibly guilty. Especially when we’ve told you that we do both. Thanks for being passive aggressive and looking at me with judgment over your bifocals. Stop drinking my coconut coffee that I can only find at World Market 70 miles away…

Basically, don’t talk to me until I look like a sane human being again.

**And I know that The Hobbit will be more impressive on the big screen. I used to go to movies every weekend. I saw the entire LOTR trilogy on opening night (nerd alert!!). My not having seen this movie does not mean I don’t want to. If it is so paramount that I watch it so we can talk about it, you can come babysit for the 4 hours it will take me to make that happen.

Happy sleeping! The End.

I have so much respect for moms who:

– can jog without peeing themselves (or do zumba, laugh, sneeze…).

– can exclusively pump (you are magical and I hate and admire you at the same time).

– don’t lose their sh*t when their baby won’t sleep and all you need is a shower. A five minute shower. Alone. In silence.

– don’t feel like scratching their eyes out when those two strands of loose hair get trapped in the vice that is your sons tiny hand.

– can manage to be all sunshine and rainbows on a weekly average of four hours of sleep. Without poisoning their babies with caffeine…(as I drink my third cup of coffee).

– work. Either from the home or out of it. Holy crap, how do you do it?? I can’t even manage to blog on a weekly basis, no less bring home the bacon.

– don’t get bored watching your baby roll over. I mean, it’s completely awesome, don’t get me wrong. But all day? With the crying once he’s on his tummy because he can’t figure out how to get on his back again? And then when you roll him on his back he cries because he wants to be on his tummy? Ok, maybe I respect those who don’t get frustrated by that too… (I’m a bad mom).

– manage to sanitize all of the toys on a daily basis (cat hair builds up their immunity, right?).

– make dinner AND eat it while it’s hot (how??).

– formula feed.

– breast feed.

– can manage to do the dishes at least once a week. Or not.

– can find clean underwear and a spit-up free shirt. Occasionally.

– will swipe on some lip gloss while being covered in baby yuck and be ready to go out. And be ok with smelling like sour milk.

– know when to close the nursery door after a long bout of crying, scream in the bathroom, and return to that angry baby with a smile on your face. Or at least a little less tension. And some wine.

– make time for their husbands. So hard when you go to bed at 9:00…

– are doing their best. Even if it means they walk around like a zombie in dirty clothes, spit-up in their hair, and mismatched socks.

You are awesome! Keep loving that baby~

Keep on loving that baby!

Be thankful

Now that we are all slowly waking up from our turkey comas,  I thought I’d make a feeble attempt at profound thought. Here we go:

Yesterday as I drove home with a sleeping husband and fussy baby, I got the opportunity to think. I like to drive. I prefer to drive alone, as I did for so many years before I got married, but I’ll take whatever I can get at this point. Driving for me was always somewhat therapeutic. I would drive around when I was angry, I would drive when I was sad, and I would drive around on those perfect sunny summer days with bubble gum pop blaring over the stereo. Some of my best ideas and quiet moments have happened while I was in the car. While I am a fairly good defensive driver, I also get in “the zone” and enter into a world that is only accessed by the hypnotic passing of those broken yellow lines. These are my moments of self-reflection. These are my moments to cry, without shame, to the powerful lyrics of some obscure artist that I’ve popped into the player. These are moments meant just for me. When I have no technological distractions and no other looming responsibilities (well, I have my baby now, but before he arrived this was my mindset…). The car was my time to really listen to me. Or  listen to God. I’m a little ashamed to admit that I have religious beliefs since my previous posts are riddled with foul language, but this time of year makes me feel like sharing something that will likely get me harshly judged. Bring it on! We are all imperfect anyway, even the best of us 😉

But those moments in the car, they were treasured. Sometimes they were the only time I could find inspiration. Sometimes those quiet moments revealed huge truths to me. I miss those moments so when I had the opportunity to dwell in one, I did. There was a random 10 minutes where both my boys were asleep and it was heavenly. And it got me thinking about Thanksgiving. I find that there is something very convicting about this holiday. It’s one day where we are called to “give thanks” for our blessings and that makes me sad because it is only one day. One day where we consciously take time out of our menial lives to acknowledge that we might have something to be grateful for. No matter how bad things are for you, if you’re reading this, someone else has it worse. Someone else has no internet. Someone else has no heat. And someone else has no home.

One year ago, my sister lost her beloved husband, unexpectedly, at the age of 40. One week after I returned home from the funeral, I became pregnant. A true blessing in the midst of extreme tragedy. Last Thanksgiving we were all still in shock that this seemingly healthy man died of a heart attack. This year my sweet sisters wounds are as raw as ever. He is still gone. The holidays are still lonely. She still loves and misses him. This holiday season is a reminder that he is no longer here. And that hurts. It’s hard for her to be thankful.  But I can be thankful, and that makes me feel guilty. Thinking about her unimaginable loss makes me thankful that my husband is asleep in the seat next to me. It makes me thankful that, even if he died unexpectedly, I would have a small piece of him left that is bundled up and snoring behind him. And that realization makes me sad and happy and thankful and remorseful all at the same time. But most of all it makes me feel ashamed that I don’t realize, and seriously count, my blessings on a daily basis. I get over-tired because Little Bear decided to wake up crying every hour and then decided to be ready for the day a 4:30 AM. And this over-tiredness makes me cranky, rude, shutdown, and frustrated. Not only at the love of my life but also at the little bundle of innocence that he helped create. I allow this lack of sleep to mar my day and I use it as an excuse to be a bitch to anyone who dares to glance in my direction or cry in my face. This is not a life I want to live. This is a life of wasted opportunity, wasted time. And we all have limited time here, whether it’s 40 years or 80 years, that’s limited. And I want to be thankful everyday for what I have. And you can be thankful too.

I had a conversation with my dad on Wednesday. He’s had an…interesting life. Due to a life story that isn’t mine to tell, he is 60 years old and lives with his mother. He works a physically demanding, unappreciated job in the construction industry that could, at any moment, hurt his body and make him unemployed. That is his current worry. That his hernia will rupture and he will lose his one source of income that was so hard to come by. He’s been living with his mother for 7 years now, ever since he lost his steady, decent paying job that he had held for 14 years before. And he is sad about his life, which is natural for someone born into privilege. It isn’t what he had imagined. He didn’t think he would have three divorces under his belt and not have a home of his own at this age. He would have thought he would have a desk job that didn’t make him work outside in the cold and the rain when his knees ache and his back hurts. Life throws us curve balls. I didn’t think I would be living in the middle of nowhere with a baby and no career in sight, but here I am with a useless diploma hanging on the wall of my neglected music room. But I have something to be thankful for. Actually, I have loads of things to be thankful for if I would just take the time to open my eyes and see my blessings. My dad asked for prayers over the next year. He would like a different job opportunity. One that doesn’t threaten to send him to the unemployment office at the first wrong step and one that won’t make him count his pennies. I said I would pray for him, of course, but while he was getting a little lost in self-pity and recounting the things in his garage apartment, I reminded him that some people don’t even have that heater he was listing off. And since it’s been dipping into the 20’s at night, that is a big thing to be thankful for. And he may live in a shoddily converted garage but at least there’s real insulation and a roof over his head. He has his barest needs met: food, clothes, shelter. Not everyone has those simplest of necessities. And I have even more.

What do you have? Chances are, even if your marriage is on the rocks, even if you’re struggling with infertility, even if you’re pinching pennies and wondering where Decembers mortgage payment is going to come from, I bet you have something to be thankful for. Do you have a husband who loves you? Do you have a friend who will hold you while you cry? Do you have a pet that looks forward to your company everyday? Do you have a job? Do you have your health? Even in those moments when it seems like you have nothing, you have something. You are still here. Be thankful. Everyday that you have breath, be thankful.

I am zombie, hear me snore.

I have at least three other posts, already written, that I could pop up here. I tried to prepare ahead of time so I could be a bit more regular and not have 2 month gaps between my musings. Well, none of those are for today. Do you want to know why? Today is not a regular day. It’s not even day yet in my neck of the woods. We have over two hours till the sun deigns to make his appearance. But I’m up. And I have been up, roughly every hour, since 11:30. I’m exhausted.

Now Little Bear (let’s call him LB for the rest of this post) hasn’t liked sleeping since we moved past the newborn phase. Long gone are the days of constant napping. Yes, he woke every 2-3 hours at night to feed but he also slept the day away and I could kind of get things done. If I wasn’t too exhausted. Now I’m lucky if he naps for one whole hour at a time but, more often than not, we’re looking at 20 minute catnaps. Monday was the first time, ever, that he napped for over two hours straight. It was magical. Yesterday’s longest nap was 45 minutes. Which I’m still grateful for! We have had days where 20 minutes really was our max. But I’m not here to talk about naps. I’m hear because LB’s longest stretch of sleep last night was exactly two hours long, from 8-10. during that time I ate, read about normal infant sleep patterns and snuggled with my husband. LB woke up, I fed him, put him back down at 10:12 and he was up again for feeding #2 by 11:23 (I log all feedings and sleep so I can look for patterns, ha!). And every hour after that. Supposedly this still falls under ‘normal’ sleep patterns. After all, every baby is different. Which online mystery writers like to remind you of after they say a 3 month old should be sleeping for 4 hours at a time. Not cool. Our longest stretch of nighttime sleep in the past month has been, wait for it… 2 hours and 39 minutes. On October 16th. Since then, nothing longer than 2.5 and even more common is getting up after 1 hour and 45 minutes. Till tonight.

Anyway, I don’t really have any advice or witticisms on the topic, I am just effin’ tired. And I can hear Papa Bear snoring from the bedroom and that just pisses me off. Especially since he’s going to wake up at 9, wander around like a zombie for two hours, complain about how exhausted he is after he slept for 10 hours, and then fall asleep on the couch at noon. I think I’ll take our crying baby back in there and settle down in the covers with fervor. He’ll probably just snore right through it.

It really can get better

Well, it’s been over one month since my breastfeeding post and I’m here to tell you it gets better! Or at least it can. The day after Little Bear turned 8 weeks old I had plugged ducts again. By his two month check-up (4 days later) they were gone. And so were my wonderfully large breasts! Yes, they have caused me grief. They stretched, they hardened, they cried, (wait, that was me) but they sure knew how to fill out a shirt. And all of the enormous nursing bras I had bought.  Anyway, I woke up, stripped down for my shower and…deflation. I thought that I was drying up. I spent all of that week guzzling water, eating oatmeal and drinking Mother’s Milk tea. Turns out, it just took 2 months for my supply to regulate and realize that I’m not trying to feed twins (thank goodness). My little baby actually doesn’t need 8 oz of milk every two hours (who knew?). So, while I don’t fully retract my whole “breastfeeding is bullshit” idea, I suppose I should give in a little and say that it can become tolerable.

And after my sob story about my troubles, (poor pitiful me…) I do feel the need to clarify one thing: I believe breast milk is the best thing you can feed your little ones. I don’t want to scare anyone away from it or make them spend all nine months of their pregnancy in despair thinking that their life is over (ahem, it’s not the breastfeeding that does that by the way). Some people have no problems, some people have even more. And some simply don’t want to go that route! I am definitely not judging any formula mamas out there- you gotta do what you gotta do to feed that screaming bundle of joy and I really don’t care how you do that. You know, as long as he gets fed, you’re doing a great job! But I did want to express my honest opinion on the matter. For me, I wanted to breastfeed. Or at least I did before I tried it… moving on. My mother breastfed all four of us kids, my sister breastfed her boys, (her 18 month old still breastfeeds before bed) and I had a point to prove: I could do this (turns out I actually can). Now we still have latch issues (damn that adorable bottom lip) but we remedied the sore nipples by spending a week with nipple shields. They finally healed! And Little Bear got bigger. That alone made a huge difference and I believe it’s the reason we are still going strong at 12 weeks. Thank goodness for that slightly larger mouth! At this point I think we will be able to go the full 9 months (my personal goal and original plan). Anyway, that’s my two cents on the matter.

Now, I have a few more things to say and can’t figure out how to segue smoothly into them so here it goes. I think I scared my young sister-in-law away from breastfeeding for life. My blunt honesty and gruesome details may have been too much for an unmarried, 21 year-old with perky breasts…my bad. In my defense, after she stared at me in abject horror from one of my tales, I did encourage her to give it a solid whirl when the time comes. And if the whole concept of having a tiny  human latch onto your boob for dear life is too much to handle, I encourage you, just as I encouraged her, to at least pump the colostrum. You just can’t deny the benefits of those yummy anti-bodies. (Info is all over the web on the benefits of breastfeeding so I’m not going to give you any scientific evidence and references, you can find it on your own. It’s seriously everywhere.) Here comes my extremely disjointed, unfocused style of writing:  I think part of her fear of breastfeeding is/was due to some, er, cosmetic changes that occur.  Here are my thoughts on that (if you fall into the same category): your boobs will make milk whether you plan to use them or not. That engorgement and stretch marking that happened to me? Would have happened even if I said “No, I am not going to use you, enormous boobs!” So who knows if I’ve damaged her young psyche (or yours) by over sharing…certainly not my intention! I just wish someone had been brutally honest with me because, damn, I was not prepared.

So… good luck! It’s really not all bad (or rather, it won’t stay that way) and if you give it a try and find that it’s not for you, that’s totally fine too! Don’t let the La Leche League crew shame you into thinking that formula is detrimental to your babies development. Good grief, way to make a new mom feel guilty about one more thing! And remember, the 1950’s dawned an era of mainly formula fed babies (doctors said breast milk wasn’t good for the kids… because that makes sense…?). So, chances are one of your parents were formula fed, my dad was. And since the sparkling, witty creature that is me spawned from his loins (eww!), formula clearly isn’t that bad 😉

Breastfeeding is bullshit

Hello stranger, long time no see!

Obviously it’s been a while. I moved across the country the day after my last post and things haven’t really slowed down yet. We spent a few months remodeling our house (still not quite finished) and then about one month ago our baby arrived! I anticipate a very disjointed post (shocking) and numerous interruptions. But I figure I should take advantage of Little Bear’s nap time in his swing while I can. I’m multitasking today: Planning a house warming party that will take place in less than one month, attempting to drink a cup of coffee, posting, and hopefully I’ll be able to do at least one load of laundry before all hell breaks loose and my sweet tiny child awakens. Not the same type of productive list I used to make but it’s about all I can do. Since Little Bear’s arrival, my productivity has greatly decreased. It took me two days to wash all of the dishes in the sink and 4 hours to drink half of one cup of coffee last week. I’m already doing much better today as I am on my second cup. It’s a miracle!

But onto a more serious topic: Breastfeeding.

It’s the bane of my existence as a mother. As I sit here typing in the sunroom, my boobs are on full display. Covered in greasy lanolin, I’m praying that the A/C doesn’t kick on and deign to cause a breeze that might make my nipples ignite. It’s not pleasant. I went to the doctor yesterday hoping that we had contracted thrush so that there would be a medical reason for the burning and tenderness. Nope. Totally normal. There is no hope in sight. It’s been five weeks of this madness and amazingly, the first two weeks were pretty fine. Right when other blogs and lactation specialists tell you the soreness should start to subside, mine started. I’ll tell you a little story.

First of all, I went 9 months without getting any stretch marks on my stomach (relatively small baby + long torso) then after he came out I noticed there were some angry purple marks where my belly button ring used to be (I was 18 at the time, cut me some slack). Ok. Ugly, but ok. It’s a belly button, so whatever. We get to leave the hospital, I nurse my baby colostrum, he eats every hour for three days, loses 10 OZ, I never sleep again, and then my milk comes in. HOLY CRAP! That tore my boobs up. I mean, they are covered in purple stretch marks. And I say “they” loosely because my right boob is super lazy. Produces maybe half the milk (so half the angry tears). So my breasts are completely hideous. Purple, hard and engorged, and completely lopsided. Then we start to have latch issues. My right nipple on my lazy breast just isn’t up to par. Little Bear doesn’t like that nipple. So he gums it with his superhero jaw strength. It is, consequently, ruined. And looks like a chew toy. Oh joy! So, I nurse him less on that side, hoping for a reprieve. Time to heal. Left side gets even bigger. Beautiful nipple (huge now) and the milk flows like..well, milk. He loves this side so I keep producing more. There is easily an inch or two difference between these boobs. Anyway, moving on. So I think, hey, in October, I have a concert I want to go to, let’s see if I can pump. Horrible idea. Being an inexperienced first time mom, I don’t know how to use this thing. I turn the suction up too high and chafe my one good nipple. Now breastfeeding is painful on both sides and he has a growth spurt. No more hour or hour and a half between eating. Nope. Thirty minutes sounds about right. Goodbye hour of uninterrupted sleep, I will miss you dearly. So, I’ve hit that point in time where people tell you that breastfeeding gets better but it has gotten worse for me. I decide to go to the hospital and see their lactation consultant. The gal I want to see is delivering a baby (the nerve…) so I get another woman to “help” me. She is apparently in charge of  such things but I have never been helped less. The room was dark, they stripped my baby down (fine, whatever) and I proceeded to nurse him on my mangled nipple. Honestly, I don’t know if we had our latch down or not. She barely looked at my baby but didn’t have a problem talking to me about two inches from my face and rambling across the room to my mother. It was awkward. And not helpful. Fast forward two weeks later and I’ve had multiple days of engorgement, red, itchy, tender nipples and I just know my boobs are going to explode while my father-in-law is visiting. I have been in so much pain that I think I cried more than my painfully gassy child. “Latching” hurts, bras hurt, air hurts. And my rock hard boob (yes, just one got really bad) keep me from being able to raise my arm or even put it fully down to my side. It sucks. This is bullshit. I want to die. And not in a PPD, suicidal way. Just to no longer exist and have to be a human pacifier would be awesome.

So that’s the bulk of my breastfeeding story. No one told me that it would be this bad. And for some people, it isn’t. But for me, it’s been awful. It’s painful, it’s frustrating, it’s time consuming. Granted, I haven’t had an infection yet so I’m grateful for that. I’ve been able to nurse Little Bear through a couple of plugged ducts with minimal hysterics. The problem is that I still can’t get him to latch on correctly. Yesterday at the doc, when I was hoping something was actually wrong, she pointed out that he isn’t flaring his lips. I knew that his top lip would sometimes tuck under and I’d been working on popping that sucker out but I can’t see his bottom lip. Apparently he is sucking it completely into his mouth. Hence, my sore nipples. Poor latch. So we have been working on that today and failing. I don’t know how to 1) control his head 2) hold my boob in a “C” position 3) and pull his chin down. If I’m doing the math correctly, I need at least one other hand. And my husbands attempts to help simply frustrate me (that poor man). So I broke down and cried again this morning after about one dozen attempts to re-latch my little guy as he kept getting more and more frustrated by not getting to eat. So I gave in. Poor latch and all. Ground my teeth and sucked it up. My nipple is burning and he just woke up screaming. Maybe we’ll have better luck now??

So enjoy your breastfeeding journey!