Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Let the Public Flogging Begin.

I have a confession to make. Last night, I washed out all the bottles I got as shower gifts. And began using them.

And people? The relief was instantaneous. Not just because it makes feeding easier (which it does, by 10,000 percent), but because the decision was made. I'd chosen to take my place among the Bad Mommies of the world, public opinion be damned.

Before the screaming becomes too loud, though, let me assure you that my relatiionship with the Mooing Machine remains as strong as ever. I fully intend to keep pumping milk for my little one for as long as I can (although if I have to use formula sometimes, I'm not going to beat myself up about it).

So she'll still be getting the hallowed breast milk that everyone insists is not just the best, but the only option for mommies who really care about their babies.  She just won't be getting it from my boob. And I think we'll both be happier that way.

Don't believe me? Then maybe you should come sit in the nursery with me and watch as my sweet, even-tempered baby becomes the demon child from hell when faced with the prospect of eating from my breast.

There's only so many times a person can take that kind of total rejection before it starts to get to you—in a soul searing, spirit crushing kind of way.

Of course, I feel insanely guilty about making this choice. I feel selfish. Inadequate. Like a failure. If there's one thing I hate, it's quitters, and by golly, giving up breastfeeding places me firmly among the quitters of the world.

But you know what? Today I've been able to really enjoy her for the very first time. I'm not busy worrying about what the next feeding will bring. Or how much I can pump. Or how I can trick her into taking a few more sips before pulling out the syringe.

Instead, I can focus on her expressions as she sucks, scrunching up her little face and making what I swear are happy cooing noises.  I can cuddle her close to my heart, play with her perfect little fingers and toes, and thank God for bringing this miraculous little creation into my life.

In short, I can love her wholeheartedly, without the pain and despair I've been carrying with me since she was born.

And isn't that what babies need more than anything else?

4 comments:

  1. Hi Amber,
    I've finally gotten a chance to read your writings about the baby. You are certainly a gifted and entertaining writer. When are you going to write your book? I'm happy that you gave breast feeding a chance, but was cheering for you when you decided it wasn't going to work for you. I remember when I had my first one,Michael (with both my boys I lived away from home and had very little help). I felt very much the way you've described some of your feelings. I did breast feed for 6 months, made all of his baby food, and tried to do everything "by the book" and copied everything and older friend told me to do. I made it through...and then when Danny was born 4 and 1/2 years later, I decided to bottle feed, used Gerbers, was more relaxed and made it through as well. I have to agree that becoming a mother was the most wonderful experience in my life. It still is. (Although being a Grandma is awesome!!) I'm sure your will be a wonderful mother. Congratulations. Can't wait to see your little sweetie. Ray and I need to give your Mom and Dad a call soon. Love you, Aunt Ruthie

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  2. Bad mom??? Whatever. Don't let ANYONE tell you that. You are doing what you need to do to make sure that your beautiful little girl gets the nourishment she needs. That makes you a great mom. As long as she is healthy and growing you shouldn't feel like a failure. You are making a choice based on what she needs, and that is what good parents do. YOU ARE DOING A GREAT JOB!!!!!

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  3. Hunny I'm proud of you!! You needed to do the best thing for you and your baby!! Great Job for giving it a go! But YES breastfeeding is a SKILL - there's nothing "natural" or "instinctual" about it... I breastfed both my boys because it is what worked for me -- You are the one who knows best for your baby - don't let anyone tell you otherwise!!!

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