Saturday, October 16, 2010

my struggle with nursing.

I told you how sweet my first weeks with Owen were. How sweet, and yet difficult, too. Feeding a baby every 3 hours is exhausting. And draining; in every sense of the word - literally, physically, emotionally. But I had the adrenaline of this brand new baby boy that was mine-all-mine to get me through those couple of weeks. And my momma.

Well, momma went back to Indiana. And the sleep deprivation started to catch up with me. And the whole feeding a baby every 3 hours stopped working as it should. Every 3 hours became every 1-2. Hunger was a constant state for my baby. He was my hungry baby bird, with his sweet little beak rooting for food all the time. This was sometimes comical and charming, but mostly frustrating. We were at his 1 month checkup when we concluded he wasn't getting enough milk from me, and was very much underweight.

After a couple of weeks of herbal supplements that smelled horrid (and consequently, so did i - that stuff seeps from your pores, man.) and a rigorous regimen that I never wish to revisit, I threw in the towel. I nursed for 15-20 minutes on each side. I made a formula bottle and supplemented for the remainder of his feeding. And I pumped for another 10 on each side. By time this process was complete, I had approximately 28 seconds of rest before I started the whole thing again.

At the conclusion of those 2 miserable weeks, came my husband and I's 3rd anniversary, which was also my first time being more than a room away from Owen. The night was bittersweet. It was on our way to dinner that I allowed myself to grieve my inability to provide for my child. (Obviously formula feeding IS an option, but in that moment I felt so helpless and defeated.) And I missed him. For those few hours that I was out, I ached to be with him.

Our dinner was truly lovely. We spent most of it talking about our new son, our new roles as parents, our new life together as a family of 3. And I thoroughly enjoyed my first glass of wine (or two) in 10 months.

I continued to nurse for every feeding, while also supplementing with formula for another 5-6 weeks, until I finally decided to end what was inevitably not going to work when I had to go back to work myself.

Life went on. And although not immediately, I did become alright with it.

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