**Warning: this post is a major vent session for me, and about a topic that has the possibility of being "controversial". If you choose to read it and your response is ugly or judgmental, please, for the sake of this tired mama's sanity and sense of worth, keep it to yourself.**
I know I haven't gotten around to writing out the birth story just yet, but we had our little boy 3 weeks ago. He was a biggun and all in all is a really good baby.
And golly, he's pretty. Just like his big sister. They are my greatest gifts and I love my babies dearly.
But can I just be honest about a couple of things? A couple of things I really don't like?
1. I really don't like (as in on the verge of using hate most of the time)...breastfeeding.
With Arabella, I only lasted 3 weeks. And honestly, I don't know how on earth I lasted as long as I did with her. I was sick (anemia, very low blood counts, irregular blood pressure, and a very destructive gall bladder) without really knowing the extent; so I was even more exhausted than newborn normal and I just never felt good at all. I also never produced enough milk for her, so she was very restless and fussy...because I was basically starving her. It became my strongest trigger for postpartum depression and things turned ugly quick. After some talking with my husband and sister to work through my feelings of guilt and failure, and talking to my nurse about what all was going on and how I was feeling, I found myself no longer breastfeeding (one of the biggest feelings of relief in my life) and on a nice little dose of anti-depressant. For me, it was the right decision.
After that experience, I really had no idea if I would even try to breastfeed again. I shocked a lot of people (myself included) when we got pregnant with Kaplan and I told them I wanted to try again. We're at the three mark right now, and I can honestly say things are going so much smoother with him. I'm producing, he's latching (usually) and growing, he's put himself on a pretty regular eating schedule. But guess what...I still hate it.
There are SO many pushes right now for breastfeeding. And while I think that's great because I really do know, understand, and believe the benefits of nursing...I also find them pretty judgmental and detrimental to those of us mamas who choose to or must use formula. I'm sure this post alone will get some feathers ruffled of those who are extremely passionate breastfeeders. But that's not my intention at all. I simply need an outlet and this is one of my best; plus I know there are other mamas who feel the same way I do, and I personally know how important it is to realize and recognize you aren't the only one who feels this way.
So why do I not like it? Let's see...
--I'm so tired of being sore. (plus, he has thrush, so that has made us both hurt and even more miserable.)
--I'm really tired of smelling all the time. It's gross. The combination of milk, saliva, lanolin, and just nastiness...it smells.
--Feeling helpless is exhausting and very lonely. I'm so tired of being the only one who can "fix" anything that he needs. I crave help...and I actually really enjoy (and miss) watching other people being able to feed my babies, especially their daddy.
--Having to sleep in a bra. And wear one 24/7. And they aren't cute or comfortable. Oh, and let's add wearing nursing pads to that.
--I don't like having to remember what I ate and wonder what ingredient "messed him up" or caused him any tummy troubles. I'm from Louisiana--I love spicy food. When crawfish fettuccine gave him tummy problems the whole next day, that right there was enough for me to consider calling it quits.
--I strongly dislike comfort nursing. That whole "strong bonding experience" that everyone claims comes with nursing--yeah, I've never felt that. I can't stand knowing that he's not hungry but just wants to be on me all the time.
--Figuring out something to wear is even more difficult now than when I was clothing my huge pregnant belly. I have to find a shirt that can easily be lifted and he fit under or can be pulled down in the front; and I run out of those quickly. Plus, it's starting to get cold and I really want to wear my hoodies and long sleeve t-shirts...those are so inconducive to nursing. And by golly, I really just want to wear clothes that fit!
--Feeding takes so long. He eats pretty much every three hours; sometimes he'll stretch it to four. Well that's every three hours from when he starts. And then he eats for 45 minutes at the least. 2 hour breaks...and that's assuming he doesn't comfort nurse in between (which unless he is absolutely sound asleep doesn't happen).
--Convenient? SO many people tell me all the time how much more convenient breastfeeding is that bottle feeding. Well, in my opinion, that is definitely not the case. Sure, it's nice to not have to wash bottles or pack them in the diaper bag. However, having to plan everything I do around when he eats; having him melt down in the middle of a store or dinner because he's hungry; making sure I'm accessible all the time in case he gets hungry or has one of those needs for a blasted comfort feed...that's not convenient. Being able to give him a bottle whenever and wherever we are--and that someone else can feed him if I'm doing something else (including taking care of or playing with my other child...)--that is convenience to me.
--It makes me frustrated with my kid, and that's not cool.
--I just really don't like it.
So why have I not stopped? Let's see...
--everything is working and I feel really guilty and like a complete failure to quit (refer back to all of those pushes for breastfeeding over formula... not to mention hormones).
--I do know the benefits (trying to decide how my mental and emotional states suffering compares to the benefits).
We're just over 3 weeks with Kaplan (apparently that's my threshold...) I haven't decided yet how long we'll last. I am somewhat starting the weaning process because I know it will happen at some point. And since it needs to go so slowly, I really need it to start now before I lose my mind. Who knows, maybe in the next couple of weeks I won't mind it as much or may even start to like it. But even so, I'd be ok with at least a couple-few feedings be by bottle. We'll see what happens.
While I'm ruffling feathers and being honest, let me tell you what else I'm not a huge fan of.
2. The newborn stage.
Now, before you go condemning me and gasping in horror, let me clarify that I love newborns. But it is a completely different beast when you are having to be the life source for one of those tiny critters versus getting to be a good snuggle buddy and then parting ways.
When they're sleeping, there is nothing better than a newborn. They're tiny and they smell good and they snuggle so well. But the problem is, they wake up and they wake up POed. And they wake up a lot. Especially at night when all you want to do is not wake up. And they cry a lot. And they poop all the time and spit up quite a bit.
I went to the Dollar Store by myself the other night to pick up a late night treat (really wanted some ice cream...) Our Dollar General has an entrance drive in our neighborhood, so it is literally right up the road and I was only gone about 10 minutes. But as soon as I got in the car and pulled out of my driveway, I was completely overwhelmed with a sense of freedom. It was completely unexpected and it flooded me. I had no idea how "trapped" I truly felt until I was able to just be me and just be alone. Even if it was only for a 10 minute trip to the dollar store.
Call me crazy, but I much prefer about 3 months on up. When they start to figure things out, gain some personality...when my hormones balance back out...
The really weird thing is that I know I'll miss the newborn stage, even though I really don't like it all that much while I'm in it. It won't happen immediately, but this tiny, helpless being who is absolutely exhausting will have me missing this phase. However, those well-intentioned tips to "enjoy every minute"...yeah, that's crap. I will miss the tiny snuggles and the cooing and the weaker cry (vs. the all out scream fest an older child can produce...weak may not be the right word, but the cry of a newborn is softer and more delicate); I will miss the innocence and the wonder. But I won't miss the exhaustion and unpredictability...and frankly, those aren't "minutes" I enjoy.
Hate them. And I am SO over this one that my boy is working.
So there ya have it. Little Kaplan and I will keep trudging along, figuring each other out and what works best for both of us. Right now though, we're going to take a nap :)
PS--I really am ok (after my issues last time, my people start to worry when I get frustrated...). We get along most of the time and everything is working as well as it's supposed to with a new baby. Fret not family and friends...I promise I'm not going crazy this time.