Sunday, February 27, 2011

Things That Drive Me Crazy

This is a rather graphic post about breastfeeding.

I try not to judge other moms. Mostly because, since my son had to have formula, I got judged. A lot.

I have touched on this previously, but I thought that I would expound on what happened with me and breastfeeding now because I have been thinking a lot about it as we make the switch to cow's milk (which, by the way, is going GREAT. I am so relieved!).

So, I had always intended to breastfeed, and immediately tried to do it after Bug was born. And it was fine, but...I was really uncomfortable. It got worse after I went home from the hospital with bleeding nipples (and a jaundiced baby), and I spent all sorts of money on lactation consultants. And it wasn't just a little bit of blood. Like, clumps of my skin FELL OFF. It was rather traumatic for me, to be honest. But I kept at it, because I wanted the best for my son, which I knew was breastmilk

So anyway, I figured out how to get the baby latched on right, but...I developed mastitis. And THEN I got thrush, and that was the beginning of the end of breastfeeding for me.

Thrush is a yeast infection that you get on your nipples. And it's horrifically painful. Every time Bug latched on I would have tears in my eyes, but I would tell myself that I was doing the best thing for my baby so I should suck it up. And forget about pumping! Breastfeeding nazis will tell you that you can pump exclusively, but I couldn't because I didn't respond well to pumping. I tried three different pumps--a hospital one, my electric one, and a manual hand pump--and the most I ever got was two ounces after pumping for twenty minutes. And that definitely didn't satisfy my little Bug.

I have had all sorts of people--ones I know and ones who just randomly felt the need to tell me what I was doing wrong with my child--say rather nasty things to me about this. I've heard all the accusations. Yes, I did know how to use my pump--I had two lactation consultants watch me do it. I took all sorts of supplements to enhance my milk supply, but supply wasn't the problem. The problem was my body was smart enough to know that the pump wasn't my baby. When Bug nursed, he could get four ounces (we measured this at the lactation consultant office)--but pumping barely yielded half of that. I've been told that I didn't try hard enough, but let me just say that I didn't get rid of that thrush infection until Bug was seven months--and I stopped nursing him at three months and stopped pumping at five.

So anyway, for me, there was no other option: I had to supplement him with formula. So he had breast milk until he was five months in some fashion, but after that, I had a formula fed baby. And let me just say this: I truly believe breastfeeding is best. But I would be a bad mother if I didn't feed my baby, not for giving him formula. (And yes, I know you can get milk from a milk bank, but (a) that's even more pricey than formula and (b) I don't feel comfortable with that).

Anyway, I have an extremely healthy, happy one year old, who says seven words, is close to walking, and is NOT overweight in any way. And I punished myself for a long time about not being able to nurse him, but now I know that I did the best I could for my son, and he and I have a great relationship. I don't think I missed out on the bonding experience--we're closer than a lot of people I know and their breastfed babies. I do wish I had been able to nurse him longer, but one of the most valuable lessons I have learned as a mom is that you do what you can--and then you move on.

So ANYWAY...that was long:) The whole point of this was I wanted to share that I have had a rather intense experience of being judged by other mothers (one woman at the mall one day who saw me giving my son a bottle told me I was poisoning him), so I try not to judge others.


Sometimes, the lack of common sense when it comes to children absolutely floors me. So here are my top 5 pet peeves:

1) Improper use of carseat carriers. Look, I know it's hard when you have a teeny tiny little one, but the carseat carrier is NOT meant to be used in the basket of a shopping cart. Your kid could fall, and die. Either get a regular carrier (sling, Ergo, etc), or take your stroller. But don't do that.

2) Improper use of baby carriers. I have seen women with their Baby Bjorns hanging down to their waist; I have seen babies that can only be a few weeks old with their heads incorrectly supported--ugh! I shudder. Find a babywearing group--a great resource is take a moment and read the directions of your carrier. You should be able to kiss your child's head when they are in the carrier--I believe the Bjorn slogan is "Close enough to kiss." Also, carriers are not infallible--you are responsible for making sure that your child is getting enough air.

3) Parents who do not tend to their crying babies. Until your kid is verbal, his or her only way of communicating with you is crying. Children don't cry to manipulate; they cry to communicate. (Now, when your kid is, say, Bug's age, sometimes they do cry to manipulate--but you will know the difference by that point!). So if your two month old is screaming his or her head off in the carseat carrier, for the love of God, pick them up! You are that child's only source of security in this world; let them know you are there.

So that's my sermon for today.

1 comment:

  1. Where are the other two of your five pet peeves?

    No judging from me! :)