I can’t believe I’m not breastfeeding anymore.
My mother didn’t breastfeed us. She was always very clear about how she felt about it…it weirded her out. I thought it probably weirded me out too, but turns-out, it doesn’t. When I decided to get pregnant and started reading all of those things we inevitably read, I got the message…breastfeeding is better. (Side note, my brothers and I are some of the healthiest, tallest, strongest folks you’ll meet, so formula isn’t exactly gonna kill ya.) So, I decided to breastfeed. Besides I thought, it’s cheaper!
I did feel weird about the very first time. Who would be there? Would he “latch on” (breastfeeding terminology) correctly? Would it hurt? Turns out the answers were…whoever, sometimes yes and sometimes no, and YES A LOT but not right at first and then not later. When they brought the sweetest, smallest, newest most precious bundle of love into my room after I got out of recovery, it just felt like the most natural thing to do. After all, he had been connected to me for 10 months (it’s actually 10 ya know) and so he should still be connected to me now, at least some of the time.
Now, I ended-up loving breastfeeding, but we sure got a rough start. Only a couple of weeks after he was born, he started to scream, sometimes while he was eating, sometimes after he ate. Sometimes in the evening he would scream and cry and scratch me! My mom and I weren’t sure what was going on…maybe he was still hungry? So I’d feel awful and give him formula immedately after breastfeeding even though I wanted him to have only breast milk for as long as possible. (He did get some formula in the hospital because they guilted me into it but that’s another story.) I hated giving it to him…why couldn’t I give him what he needed? But of course I didn’t want him to be hungry, so I would. He still screamed.
Then another strange thing happened. Every single time we laid him down, whether he was awake, asleep, half-asleep, whether it was night or day, dark or light, he would wake-up within 5 minutes and start screaming. He would only sleep soundly for hours (as ALL newborns are supposedly supposed to do) if he was sleeping ON one of us. And so began the weeks of him only sleeping on somebody, even on me in my bed at night. Now if someone would have told me that at some point my baby would be sleeping with me in my bed I would have told them they were LOCO (or loca of course). In fact, I wanted him to be sleeping in his crib in his own room as soon as my mom left (when he was a month old). Yeah, that didn’t happen.
So finally we took him in for his one month check-up. “Your baby has reflux.” His stomach acid was coming up whenever we laid him down on his back (and if you know anything about tiny ones this is very important) and burning his throat. He loved sleeping on his tummy on our chests because it wasn’t as likely the acid would be able to work its way up. In fact, he learned to roll over very early and when he was eventually sleeping in his crib, as soon as I would put him down (on his back of course) he would roll over from his back to his tummy. It really freaked me out. Anyway, we got medicine for it and he just recently stopped taking it but still drinks anti-reflux formula.
So back to breastfeeding. After figuring out that he had reflux and that I had “overactive letdown” (more breastfeeding terminology) we started to get the hang of it. And when I started to relax about who might catch a glimpse of my boob we did even better. And then it just got nice. After I went back to work I stopped worrying about if I was getting enough when I pumped (I usually wasn’t) and he became a breastfed, bottlefed, breast milk, formula baby. And it worked.
And now, it’s all over.