Showing posts with label Nursing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nursing. Show all posts

Monday, July 24, 2006

From Tupperware to Dried Up Raisins

I have to start by saying that with both of my children I was committed to nursing.

I mean COMMITTED.

C-O-M-M-I-T-T-E-D.


I planned to nurse each of them for at least a year.

When my first child was born, he nursed constantly and I'm not speaking metaphorically here. I'm talking about great four hour stretches of time that were consecutive, like six of them in a row, every day.

Despite his great latch and powerful suck, my milk did not come in for twelve days.

Twelve!


That is a very high number.


Particularly when I explain that for all 288
of those hours (TWO HUNDRED AND EIGHTY EIGHT!!!), my husband and I had to work together to strap a complex little catheter thingy onto my (left and then right and then left and then right...) breast so that The Mayor would receive a slow drip of formula while he nursed, yet still nurse long enough to stimulate milk production.

I drank Fenugreek tea, I took Fenugreek supplements, consumed every form of "Mommy's Milk Enhancer," put cabbage leaves in my nursing bra, took hot showers that turned my uncooperative vessels into glowing red orbs and finally resorted to taking a prescription drug - one that has nothing to do with lactation, but had a side effect of stimulating breast milk.

Keep in mind that I did all of this for the twelve days immediately following -- giving birth -- for the first time -- to a TEN POUND child -- who passed THROUGH MY HOO HOO -- after THIRTY some odd hours of labor.

So I want things to be CLEAR between us...

I was, as I have mentioned, committed to nursing.


Once my milk finally did come in, I exclusively nursed The Mayor. I didn't give him formula.

Though he gained weight well, I never had great milk flow and always felt like I wasn't producing enough. When I went back to work and had to start pumping I pumped far more frequently than he would have nursed just to keep up with his needs. (Did I mention he started life at ten pounds? Ten pounds! Can you say "VORACIOUS APPETITE?")

When The Mayor was six months old, the vessels formerly known as "My Boobs," performing daily under the name "My Tupperware" at the time, announced that they were through, finished, kaput, DONE. My breast milk dried up completely. Just like that.

My Tupperware announced that they would hence forth be known as "The Raisinettes."

Wrinkled.

Dry.

As it turned out, I was already pregnant with Rooster Girl at the time so I decided to let it go. I knew that some women nursed while pregnant, but figured my body was trying to tell me something and that I would listen.
The Mayor drank formula from the age of six months to one year.

With Rooster, the milk came in relatively normally, but I never had a very strong supply. Again I had to fight to produce enough for her. I DID fight and I fed her breast milk exclusively for the first six months of her life.

And then...

MY MILK DRIED UP.


Period.

Same as before.

The End.

It was gone, just as it had been with The Mayor.

So Rooster Girl began drinking formula at six months of age just like her brother.

I know breast milk is better for the child, that it is easier (no packing or cleaning of bottles, etc.) and it's free. I know all of this.

Which is why I get awfully tired of being told so when women see me giving Rooster a bottle or hear that I use formula.

If I could still be nursing, I WOULD still be nursing.

What is important, and really meaningful, is that I am feeding my daughter. I am sustaining her life.

My boobs did not want to continue to participate no matter how much I smacked them around. Or threatened them. Or counted to three.

They were resolute. "Sorry. We are the artists FORMERLY known as Tupperware."


I wish women would all be kinder to one another on this subject recognizing that not all actions are choices and that no one needs any help feeling disappointed, guilty or more like a failure.