Saturday, July 24, 2010

Love in a bottle

Can I start this post with a pun? .

How about “I suck at breastfeeding.”

Please don’t refer (or report) me to La Leche League. It does no good.

I’m on my second baby now, and second month of it. Mostly her luscious, wonderful, nutrient and antibody-filled elixir is delivered from a bottle.

I can hear the tsk, tsks of those judgey moms who seem to have been born to breastfeed.

Sometimes I’m actually pumping while bottle feeding her and it seems like some kind of strange Rube Goldberg contraption.

Why pump?

Why pump when I could simply do what nature intended and offer up my breast and share a quiet, warm and wonderful feeding session with my baby. We’d both relax and I’d stare at her while she coos and the stars in the sky would smile down on us, right?

I blame two things: our modern, too-busy lifestyle, and my uptight, control-freak personality.

When I was in the hospital with her, the nurses hardly ever found me without her attached to my breast.

The most powerful urge a new mother has is to keep her baby alive, which means keep it fed. (and don’t drop it.)

So the moment she would wake, I brought her to me and let her take as much of that colostrum as she could handle.

We did have those wonderful, quiet, dark nursing moments. But uh, you are only in the hospital for two days.

When I came home and was inevitably engorged to porn star proportions, the breastfeeding issues began.

I pumped for some relief and stored away all the extra in the freezer. Maddie nursed like a freak, gobbling and gulping and gasping. She’d choke and sputter and vomit a lot. I’d worry and wish it were easier.

After consulting Mother Google, I figured out I have overactive ta ta’s. Adding even more complexity to this very “natural process,” each of my breasts has a separate personality. My left one, Big Bertha, does most of the work but she’s too aggressive; fills up too full, comes out too fast. My right one, Lazy Suzy, takes too long to let down, doesn’t make as much milk and generally doesn’t care.

Maddie doesn’t have time to deal with all that boobie drama, so she just gets irritated and feedings become stressful for both of us.

So back to me being a control freak.

With a bottle, Maddie gets the milk delivered in a consistent flow.

There is a perfect 4 oz marker right there on the plastic so I can see how much she eats.

If I make too much milk (which I do), I can guarantee there is always plenty stored away for whatever might come up.

I’m honestly not up to the task of learning the “art” of breastfeeding.

I wish I was one of those amazing babywearing, co-sleeping, pre-natal yoga doing, kashi eating moms who could somehow breastfeed and lead a modern life, too.

Maybe all those breastfed babies who fall asleep listening to their mother’s heart beating go to Harvard or something?

My Maddie, who is lulled to sleep by the rhythmic mechanical sound of my electric pump, will at least make it to technical school.

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