Thursday, June 07, 2007

Breastfeeding sucks!

I know that is a bad pun. But anyway, this is one of the things I've learned from motherhood -- things that are supposed to be natural and beautiful rarely are. Nursing, especially. It's not easy.

Emiko was six weeks early, so I had to pump to get my milk started, and she was fed through a bottle. Then once we were home with her (after two agonizing weeks in the NICU), we found out she has a weak suck. Which we hope will not impact her later in life!

So she's all kinds of confused. I try to nurse her each time she's hungry, and then if she's still hungry, I give her a bottle of either pumped milk or formula. And then I try to pump as much as possible. Fun!

Many people would have given up by now, but I'm determined to keep with it. It's become somewhat obsessive. And people judge you by whether or not you breastfeed. I shouldn't care, but I do.

Todd and I took Emiko to church a couple of weeks ago and while there, Emiko was hungry. So I made her a bottle. I was so worried someone would notice that I was mixing up formula and not giving her breast milk. How crazy is that?

But I do it too. I take Emiko to our clinic fairly regularly, because on Mondays and Wednesdays you can bring your baby in and they will weigh her and answer any questions, help with nursing, etc. It's really nice, because Emiko had trouble gaining weight at first (when I was exclusively breastfeeding -- we found out we have to supplement with formula).

So a couple of weeks ago I'm there waiting for our turn, and another mom I'd met before was there, too. She is from Wisconsin, and seems a little trashy. But not in the Southern white trash tradition. Wisconsin white trash seems far less entertaining.

At any rate, this mom had her baby in an infant carrier, and had him drinking formula from a bottle that was just propped up against the side of the carrier. We discusses nursing some and she said she was having trouble, blah blah.

I was totally thinking that it was awful that she was not only not nursing, but not even actually feeding her baby -- just letting the baby feed himself, basically.

Then this dad comes by with his baby in his Baby Bjorn, and he starts talking to us. He asks us about nursing and goes on and on about how important it is to breastfeed. And we're looking at him like -- what do you know about it? If you can't lactate, you can't give me a hard time!

I've heard that having children can make you realize how selfish you are. I don't think that's true. For me, it's made me realize how inadequate I am!

But when Emiko finally latches on and looks so content, then I get it. It just takes awhile to get there.

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