I don't mean for this blog to become an all about breastfeeding blog but I wanted to give an update on how its going. Since last posting I stopped directly breastfeeding him, choosing to pump instead. Yesterday I had no spare milk and he was starving so I decided to nurse him. It went bad. We tried for 45 minutes and he screamed until his throat went hoarse. I guess this is what they call nipple confusion. I gave him to Jack who fed him formula and I ran upstairs and cried my eyes out in the dark. Today after a day of pumping and feeding I decided to try breastfeeding again. Again, he began screaming but Jack would take him away when he cried and soothe him and we'd try again. Finally he latched and though it took us a lot longer than it should he nursed successfully. And you know what? His eyes closed, his arms resting on my breast, it felt nice. When we got done he looked at me as though he was seeing me for the first time. He smiled at me and cooed and while I'm sure at this stage (three weeks) its probably gas like the books say, his little smile flew right into my heart and melted it completely. It gives me the strength to continue. I can't say the issue I've had with breastfeeding is over, after all, this is only a one time thing, but today I didn't cry instantly and I felt some hope. It also helped that Jack took a night feeding shift and my parents are visiting so I've actually managed to get more than four consecutive hours of sleep. When you feel more rested, things don't seem so dire.
It was hard to give formula. I wept and felt like such a failure. Then I read a passage from Momma Zen (seriously, if you're pregnant or parenting you must buy this book). She urges you to see food as food, to not look at it as representing failure or success. I've been fixated on breastfeeding = success and formula= failure that the feeding became way more than about the feeding, it become a matter of ego, a matter of me. This reminder helped me let go. Sometimes he will get formula- and its okay.
Another difficult issue about breastfeeding has been the time commitment. A feeling of being trapped (and I'm not alone in feeling this way). A lactation consultant told me law school required you to focus to get through it. Its hard but you did it because it was worth it. I'm trying to see it this way. Quitting law school tempted me countless times but I took it one day at a time and found my way through. Mama Zen talks about how parenting requires facing your ego (I swear she's not paying me to plug her!) I've lived thirty years and eight years of marriage on my own schedule. I'm not sure but perhaps this is playing a part here too.
I've heard at two months breastfeeding will get easier. Today I feel strong enough to get there. Maybe when I'm sleep deprived again I will feel differently- but I'm hanging on to this feeling today. I can't tell you how beautiful it felt for him to nurse on me and for there not to be instant tears springing to my eyes.