Thursday, March 06, 2008

The truth

The truth is, it still hurts.

The truth is, I don't love it yet.

The truth is that I wrote this post to remind myself that there was at least that one time that Bird was able to satiate himself to the point of bliss at my breast. Because it rarely happens.

I pump, trying to store away breastmilk for when I start working again in a week or so. I do this after I nurse him, but inevitably, he will wake up right after I'm done pumping and be hungry again. So I give him what I just pumped in a bottle and in turn, have nothing stored for him.

He and I aren't gelling. Our schedules are off somehow. I feel my biggest letdowns when we are out on a walk, or when he is sound asleep. When he is nursing, he gets fussy. He claws at my breast. He thrashes his head about. He pops on and off uncontrollably until my nipple feels as though it's been run through a cheese grater and I have to give up and go get a bottle.

Fixing those bottles makes me feel like the widow that Elijah visited. Her oil never ran out, remember? That's what my milk feels like. I always have just enough to give him, but no more. No extra for when I start teaching. And that has me stressed, unlike the widow who just took it as an opportunity to trust. Not me.

I wanted to be a mom who loved to breastfeed. And I refuse to quit until I've had a more positive experience, but damn. I need some positive reinforcement here.

I keep hearing different time frames.

"Just give it two weeks."

"At a month, you'll see a turn around."

"After six weeks, the two of you will have the hang of it."

"It took six months for my little one to finally get his latch right."

The thing is, I don't know if any of these will be our timetable. If I just knew that there really would be a time when he wouldn't seem to hate it, and I wouldn't be in constant pain, then it would be easier to tough it out. Not knowing though, is driving me crazy.

Days like yesterday and today have me beat. He cries, and so I cry. I cry because he's not happy. I cry because it hurts like hell. He cries because, well, I don't exactly know why.

Don't tell me anymore that "if you do it right, it doesn't hurt." I know that a bad latch will hurt, and I know how to get a good one. What I don't know is how to help Bird understand that if he rolls his tongue all around in his mouth and clamps down with his gums??? That it hurts me very badly.

This is why I haven't been blogging. Because this is all I think about. And it's got to be a boring read by now. But then again, I write because I need to. I need to get it all out.

One thing I didn't know before Bird was that a lot of moms combo feed. That means that they breastfeed and they use formula. I see this as where we are headed, and I'm trying to reassure myself that it's alright. I know that it is - there are women who have been hugely inspirational to me to keep going, and they are combo feeders.

But the stigma. I won't feel like I can put a little ticker under my signature that says how long I've been breastfeeding. I won't feel like I have a "Booby Baby." I wanted a "Booby Baby" so badly.

So we keep trying. And tonight when he is ravenous and I'm exhausted and the milk blister on my right nipple is bleeding again and my left one is as flat as a pancake still? Well, tonight just may be the night I join the ranks of the combo feeders. Giving my child as much breast milk as I possibly can, and then unashamedly giving him the formula he needs to break out of the 10% of weight.

Little skinny 10th percentile Bird. He's a cute little skinny Bird.

Man. I didn't think it would all be this hard.

And for the record? I'm wearing the same clothes now that I put on 48 hours ago to sleep in. Two nights and two days.