Friday, August 12, 2011

Update "The Ugly: Breast Feeding and Mother Guilt"

*Warning: Grown-up Language*

A number of people asked how we are doing with the feeding challenges that PJ and I have experienced. Thank you for caring so much about us; for sharing your stories and experiences; and for encouraging us to find what is right for us (and not trying to force one decision over another). I’ve learned a lot about myself in this first month of parenthood; one thing is how incredible my global community is. Thank you.

The long version of the story is too long for this blog, so here are the highlights.

Two Tuesdays ago was the artificial deadline I set for us. I had the chance to get some professional help with breast feeding and I told myself if it worked a little bit that I would continue trying to breast feed. If not, we would move to complete formula feeding. I felt good about the decision and moved towards it with some level of confidence.

Long story short: the professional help didn’t help - instead I left feeling more insecure and upset than I was when I arrived - but that person did send me along to another professional who did help. By listening. By being calm. By not touching me but instead by encouraging me to do what felt natural to PJ and I.

And suddenly it worked with tenderness but no pain. It was during that feed that I silently said ‘Fuck Off’ to all the professionals and the non-professionals who I had been trying to listen to instead of listening to myself. Looking down at PJ as he (very excitedly) drank from my breast and slowly slipped into a light sleep, I also said ‘Fuck Off’ to the hours of pumping.

Afterwards as I walked to the car I darn near chanted and then sang ‘Fuck Off’. When I got into the car I got even louder and happier. Not because it suddenly worked with breast feeding but because I felt good about listening to myself. Since then we’ve been slowly building up the breast feeding and slowly toning down the bottles. PJ seems pleased to be back on my breast - getting it from the “tap” as the Mr. says - but still gets quite fussy and gets one bottle in the evening. He is gaining weight and dirtying his diapers like a pro. I am pleased that PJ and I have a feeding solution that we both feel good about and am very interested in how we our relationship will grow and change over the coming days, weeks, and months.

Most importantly, I learned to listen to my heart and my intuition - and to trust PJ and his intuition and reflexes - just a little more. 

Now off to the challenges of sleep! But aint he cute when he does sleep??

1 comment:

Heather Marie : mommy & wife said...

I wish it could have worked out for my guy and I also. We had similar struggles. We never quite got it right and I ended up stopping pumping because it was assuming way too much of my time and it all just felt so unnatural. I am sad, because now my breasts aren't producing anymore and I'd love to take another shot at it, but then again I just started back at work 2 weeks ago, so I don't know if we'd be able to really be successful. Too bad, but very happy to hear that you and your LO have made such great progress. Congrats on that :)

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