Wednesday, September 29, 2010

On the subject of Breastfeeding

So, I have to rescind my harsh commentary about "Psycho Breastfeeding Moms." The truth is, breastfeeding does kind of make you crazy. First of all, it's a lot of work. Well, in some ways it's easier, but it puts all the work on the mom. Second of all, it is truly a wonderful experience. Isla never has been one to fall asleep in our arms (it rarely happens), but if I can nurse her to sleep, voila- baby sleeping in my arms. Just like I imagined motherhood would be- holding my sleeping baby in the rocking chair. I want all the other new moms I know to try and succeed at breastfeeding. If you do, it will become your new "happy place."

So, I wasn't planning on going all the way (to the 1 year mark when cow's milk can be introduced). But, here's what happened. Back in June I experimentally got out one of our free-sample cans of formula, just to see what would happen. Would Isla drink this stuff? Maybe she'd like it more. I shook up the bottle, and gave it a whiff. The smell of the stuff made me gag. Then I tried a tini-tiny bit. Awful. Well, I thought there must be something wrong. Maybe this is the yucky brand. Offered it to Isla- rejected. The smell of the formula gave me "smell flashbacks." I felt like I still smelled it in the bottle after several cleanings.

So, I trucked on... at 6 months I decided to open up free-sample can #2, a different brand. It smelled and tasted equally as gross. Oh no! I didn't sign up for a whole year of this. Formula does not smell or taste like anything anyone should ever consume. Why did I not know this?! Is this just something people don't talk about? If I can't handle tasting it- I can't give it to my baby. Why isn't there a middle ground of some kind of semi-good tasting formula out there? But, the truth is all the brands are pretty much the same, and gross. Breast milk tasks like really sweet cow's milk- it is nummy. Isla's used to the good stuff, and she's a picky little baby. There's no way I'm going to be able to ever get her to drink that stuff. Plus, I'd rather stick my head in her diaper pail for 10 minutes than make a bottle of formula. And if she drinks that smelly stuff, she'll spit up, and then I'll have to smell it on her clothes, and her, and me, not to mention the diapers. Then, I'd lose my sweet-smelling baby. NOT WORTH IT!

Insert disclaimer: I think formula is a wonderful invention to any and all mothers who need to use it for whatever the reason- sleep, sanity, etc. There can occur many complications when attempting to breastfeed, and formula is a great back-up. Especially for moms who go back to work.

But, I am a stay-at-homer. And it's working for us. And as we add solids, it gets to be less and less "all on me."

The thing that makes you a little bit crazy, is that breastfeeding your baby is one of those things you do, but nobody really rewards you for it, or really even acknowledges it. Nobody really cares whether or not you give your baby breastmilk or formula. Nobody tells me "good job," and every day I work hard at it- pumping 2x, feeding the baby, sanitizing all the equipment. Well, Isla thanks me in a way. Jason thanked me a couple times, but only because I asked him to. I thought at her 6 month doctor's appointment, maybe the Doctor would burst into the room and exclaim, "Wow! That's the healthiest baby I've ever seen." If I had a boss for this job I call "mom," I imagine my semi-annual review would go something like this: "Amanda, I know you had some rough times there in the beginning, but you toughed it out. Now you've really gone above and beyond- Breastfeeding your daughter for more than 6 months! Impressive! You get a 10% raise!"

Sometimes I feel like a need a breastfeeding cheerleader. So, here's what I like to do when I need a cheer, and a smile. I imagine all my breastfeeding mommy friends- Maria, Molly, Jen, Liz, Heather. But, I picture them Thumbalina size- about 3 inches tall, and in cheerleading uniforms. They're all standing on the side table next to me cheering me on. They wave their pom poms. They do high kicks. One of them will do that weird cheerleader thing where she quickly straightens her arm above her head while taking a step forward. Thanks for cheering me on my tiny imaginary friends. See, I told you breastfeeding makes you crazy.

1 comment:

Heather Gayle Holdridge said...

I'm the one doing the weird arm-kick move! Go, Amanda, go! Seriously though -- I am very impressed with your 100% breastfeeding record. You should be very proud of yourself and I THANK YOU for doing it. Thinking about your achievement helps me push through the hard feeding times!