Thursday, April 23, 2009

The post I didn't want to write

The strike goes on. It's been a full week, and Lion will only nurse in the middle of the night. Every other attempt is met with polite refusal, a response that rapidly escalates to wailing and flailing if I persist.

So, bottles it is. I've been pumping like a fiend to keep up with him, and for a week, I've been able to do it. But in preparing two bottles for daycare tomorrow, I had to defrost four bags of frozen breastmilk. There simply wasn't enough pumped milk left in the fridge, and I am tired. I'm tired of smelling like maple syrup from all the fenugreek I've been stuffing down my throat. I'm tired of pumping every two or three hours to make enough. I want to spend real time with my son when I'm home with him, not sit there on the couch, waving my feet at him and making my socks talk so I can entertain him while I milk myself.

There are only a few bags of my precious frozen stash left, which I'll use to supplement what I pump, but I'm guessing it will only last another few days. Soon, unless the strike suddenly ends, I'll have to supplement with formula.

Typing "I'll have to supplement with formula" makes me cringe a little, because I know there's nothing at all wrong with using formula, whether out of necessity or simple desire, and I never want another parent to think I'd judge. But my personal goal was to breastfeed exclusively for one year, and anyone who's been reading this site since Lion was born knows it hasn't been an easy goal to meet. I remember making it to two months and feeling immensely proud, and in the next moment realizing I'd have to go six times that to make it to a year. And while I'd be lying if I said I didn't die a little inside, I bucked up and kept going because that was what I wanted to do. That was my choice.

Ah, but there's the rub. It's always been my choice. And now, it's not.

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Blogger His suzy said...

Aw, Liz. I honestly wish I had some advice or words of wisdom for you. Who knows, maybe Lion will get started on that formula and then realize the boob is way better!

8:55 PM  
Blogger BabelBabe said...

breastmilk is sweet and formula isn't. he'll be sorry!

oh, Liz - I am sorry.

10:18 PM  
Anonymous Frema said...

Do you remember the e-mail you sent me a couple of months ago? Please take your own words to heart. You have been amazing in your nursing efforts, and you should be proud of all that you did to continue that relationship with Lion. The Internet is certainly proud of you. :)

11:14 PM  
Blogger Caffeinated Librarian said...

*sigh* I hope this won't come off as a bitchy, childless woman comment...

...But honey, if you keep beating yourself up over goals YOU set for him and yourself that you can't reach because he has no interest in getting onboard with your program, you are going to have a hard time of it over the next 18 years (and beyond).

Good for you for having convictions and a goal that you're willing to work on for the good of your child. Good for you for suffering what you've suffered to make it this far. And, no, I personally don't get the whole breastfeeding angst, but I don't have to get it - I get that you get it and you're his mom so that's the end of that.

But I'm quite sure this will only be the tip of the iceberg of things he has different ideas on than you. It's time, in my humble opinion, for you to come up with a plan for how you're going to handle THAT and then stick to THAT plan with the same level of dedication that you've given to breastfeeding. 'Cause otherwise you're going to give yourself a coronary before you're 40. And I say that with nothing but love...

9:40 PM  
Anonymous Betsy said...

Well, this sucks. Pun not intended.

10:04 PM  
Anonymous Frema said...

Caffinated Librarian, I agree with your basic concept, but not that it applies to Liz. Breastfeeding is extremely important to her, and I think it's OK for her to mourn that loss without basically being to get over it. We all have goals for our kids and families, and it's OK to be emotionally invested in them, and it's OK to be sad when they don't work out. Also, it's not like Liz has been rambling on for months about Lion's nursing strike. It's still very new, and it's natural for her to feel so upset after she worked so hard keep nursing him.

I mean no disrespect, but I'm a relatively new mother myself and can completely identify with being upset when a particular parenting strategy doesn't work out. It doesn't mean we haven't developed a thick enough skin.

10:14 PM  
Blogger Caffeinated Librarian said...

Frema - Fair enough and no disrespect read into it at all. I'm not a mom, so I'm going to have a different view on these things than a lot of you will. That's understandable.

But life rarely goes as planned, so why should kids be any different? And why should moms be so hard on themselves when the criteria that they're measuring themselves against are of their own making? Are those really such earth-shattering statements? I kinda think not.

It's fine to mourn things that are important to you when you realize that they aren't going to happen - we all do that, moms or not. But it seems to me that when you come upon parts of life that you find difficult, what you need is a variety of perspectives not just sympathy. Many times a swift kick to the butt (metaphorically speaking) from MY mom has been what has helped me through something that I was struggling with.

So by all means, Frema, you and all the other moms keep giving your sympathy - I have no doubt she's going to need that. In the meanwhile, I'll keep giving my perspective. If Liz gets tired of it she can tell me to shut up and go away and I'll respectfully do so.

12:16 AM  
Blogger Liz said...

No no, there's no need for anyone to shut up and go away.

In my last post, I said myself that before having a baby, I didn't get the angst over breastfeeding, either. If it works out and you want to do it, great. If not, well, that's what formula is for. But if you're able to, and choose to, it can be a very emotional bonding experience. It's also a very natural part of caring for an infant. It's not like I came up with some crazy agenda that I expected him to follow, just because.

The truth is that it's unusual for a baby this young to self-wean (if that's what's happening), so I wasn't prepared for it.

Breastfeeding is the first thing we did together after he was born, and we've spent hours and hours doing it ever since. I'm simply mourning the loss of something special that he and I have shared for the past 8 months.

12:56 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

Also, CL- you ask why moms should be so hard on themselves while in the same breath recommending a metaphorical kick in the butt. The world is so full of conflicting opinions and advice on everything related to mothering that you're damned if you do, damned if you don't, damned if you do and THEN don't.

Yes, we should go easy on ourselves, and on each other.

1:06 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

and different perspectives shared respectfully are always welcome here. I have appreciated your thoughts, Frema and CL.

1:11 PM  
Blogger Caffeinated Librarian said...

I'm not saying you came up with a crazy agenda - you had good, solid reasons for the choices you've made, both motivated by concerns for his health and your desire to bond and share with him.

I'm saying I worry about you Liz. I'm not worried about Lion - you have shown throughout your experience with breastfeeding that you are a good parent. You have the strength and the willingness to do what ever it takes to do the best for your son.

I'm just worried about the toll that's going to take on you. Because if you're dying a little inside about breastfeeding, something that you had choices in and options for, what happens when you don't have choices, when there are no good options?

Is that really an unrealistic fear?

1:27 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

I appreciate the concern, but you don't need to worry. What I write here is only a small part of myself and my life.

I'm heading out to enjoy the sunshine, everyone- have a good weekend!

2:17 PM  
Anonymous Betsy said...

enjoy that sunshine!!!

8:35 PM  
Blogger kj said...

well! this is quite a discourse!

is it inappropriate to say it kind of made me chuckle? okay, actually, laugh. just a little. not for long.

liz, my daughter hated breastfeeding mr. ryan. she pumped more than she fed. i was sad about it. but now, with three week old mr. drew, she is content and forthcoming. moral of the story: it's okay whatever it is. you are a terrific mother and that's that, breast or bottle, eith way!


12:48 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Oh, goodness. I feel for you - it's so hard to have great intentions but no real control.

I'm due in August, and planning to nurse, at least while I'm on maternity leave, and then decide. But this is such a good reminder that you just don't know what will happen and how it will go. I know what *I* think I want, but that doesn't mean that my body or the baby will cooperate.

1:40 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

kj- yes- it's ok whatever it is. Mr. Drew is adorable.

Lisa- true that. Make a plan, do your best, and hold on tight. Good luck to you!

10:50 AM  

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