Sunday, November 01, 2009

It's only natural

Happy Daylight Savings Time! Unfortunately babies don't know about clocks so we were up at 6am today. Which isn't entirely a bad thing since the Chublet went to bed last night around 9 and didn't get up to eat in the middle of the night. This has been going on for 3 nights in a row now so I feel like a normal person who gets to sleep at night. Woo hoo!

And speaking of eating, I am proud to say I have made it to 6 weeks of breastfeeding the Chublet. My first goal was a month. Well, actually, it was a week, then a month. My next goal is to make it to 2 months. (When I think about the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation of a year, it makes me want to crawl into bed and not come out.)

Even though the Great Breastfeeding Propaganda Machine doesn't ever mention the sheer suckitude of it, I had enough honest friends to know that it was going to be rough. And fortunately, for us it wasn't as bad as other people have had it. But it still sucked (pun intended). And honestly, I still don't love it.

It's not that beautiful soft-focus bonding moment between baby and mama. It's boring. It takes a long time, several times a day (and sometimes at night). At first, I was spending 4 hours a day feeding her. Now we're down to 2-2.5 hours. And I know this because I keep track. So I know whether I have time to shower/eat/nap before the next time Angry Chublet demands food.

Chublet usually has her eyes closed so it's not like I can gaze lovingly at her while she eats. Plus, did I mention it's boring? On the bright side, my Internet-connected iPod Touch has saved me. I am up to date on everyone on Facebook, I can Tweet, and I have the complete New York Times electronically. So I'm more or less up on current events. That NYT app is phenomenal. And free. I've watched the first 2 seasons of The West Wing on DVD. And the first season of Gilmore Girls (I know, guilty pleasure.)

I guess what annoys me most is the major propaganda. Starting when I was pregnant, complete strangers would ask if I planned to breastfeed. As if it was their business. If you read any of the "helpful" websites, which admittedly I have consulted with questions, they all beat you over the head about how amazing it is, and how it is the BEST way. And that pacifiers are the devil and will screw everything up. As will feeding from a bottle, even if it is breast milk. And of course, formula is like poison. And the answer to nearly every question is "nurse more often". Which doesn't always work, especially in the early weeks when you JUST CAN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE and your baby is doing that horrific screaming that just rips your heart out.

Reading all that has a nice way of making sleep-deprived new mamas a little crazy and a lot guilty for doing any of the above to maintain peace/sanity/baby weight in their house. I HATE this. Nearly as much as I hate the sites/books that tell you that it's bad for your baby if you opt for drugs during childbirth. As per my previous post on baby care/parenting books, is it really so hard to provide information without being preachy?? And if I hear the phrase "nature's perfect food" again, I'm going to slap that person too.

I am happy to say I no longer dread feeding time. Chublet has obviously figured out how to make it work for her, since she gained 3 lbs in her first month. And it doesn't hurt anymore, mostly. But it's still weird, having to chop my day into 2.5-3 hour intervals. And figuring out what I can wear to easily feed her in the middle of said fragmented day. And don't even ask about the weirdness involved in using the pump to store milk for bottle feedings. Though convenient, it's just strange.

I know, I'm a horrible mother for not loving this. And when she's 16 and we're waiting up for her to come home from an evening out, I'll look back fondly at the time when my baby was with me 24/7.

Of course, when my baby wins a Nobel Prize, I'll be glad, because of course, it was the breastfeeding that was responsible for that. *snicker*


  1. I never loved it with Sam. I struggled a long time. Sometimes all that kept me going was looking at how expensive formula is.

    It is better this time (she's a more alert nurser, so I don't feel like we are struggling), but I can't say I love it.

    BTW, we use pacifiers and bottles with no problems. ;)

  2. Congrats on making it to 6 weeks! At that point for me, the worst was pretty much over, so I hope you find it the same.

    Right now (Henry's 6 months), I like breastfeeding because when I'm putting Henry down for a nap the older boys know to stay away and I get to nap too. :) I find it's pretty easy to breastfeed wearing a slightly baggy tee shirt, so my wardrobe consists pretty much that and jeans. Good thing I'm not into fashion!

  3. Heh, it's nice to know I'm not alone in the not particularly enjoying it.

    And the Soothie paci is one of my new best friends. Chublet will go to town on that and it soothes her like nothing else, including trying to bf her. (so there, kellymom website!)

    Stephanie - sounds like you have your boys well trained ;) The thing I don't like about T-shirts is having to pull them up and then your midriff is hanging out (and it's cold here already!). But I only have a handful of "nursing tops" and I don't think I can wear them for the next 5 months straight (or longer!)

  4. I didn't love it either, and frankly I was so babied-out that it was nice to not have a baby touching me. Then there was the whole Nate was breastfeeding thing but Alex's sucking reflex was too weak to breastfeed thing, so I exclusively pumped bc I could not be the twin mom who breastfed one and not the other.

    I pretty much found the first five months to be insanely busy but insanely mentally boring. I had a tough time with that at first but now I just realize I would rather pay people who love being around kids all day to be with my kids all day!

  5. Laura - I think with 2 babies, my head would explode :D I can see how you'd be "babied-out".

    Even though it's not very mentally stimulating, I really like hanging out with babies, even now when T doesn't do much of anything (but she smiles at us now - yay!). It's toddlers I'm afraid of and would pay other people to hang out with them :D

  6. I agree it's very boring. I end up doing a lot of thinking. I like the daytime feedings more than the night, not only because I'm not gritting my teeth about how I'd rather be sleeping, but because I can watch TV without worrying about making either one of us too awake to go back to bed. I'm still pissed that I don't have a good solution for reading while feeding, what with the one-handedness and the little feet kicking my book. I'm thinking I might get a Kindle for Christmas because I bitch about it so much.

    I breastfed my first for 15 months, although towards the end it was mostly because he spent so much time eating real food--he was a HUGE eater--that I didn't have the stamina to prepare and clean up snacks as well, so milk it was. I was never very romantic about it.

    The second is different; she's so much more mellow and so long-awaited that I feel a huge affection for her and realize just how fast she's growing and how soon she won't be my "tiny," cuddly baby anymore. So I find myself being more "mindful" with her--really enjoying how she feels as I hold her, looking at all the details of her, and experiencing the moment...not the feeding in particular, but being with her and making her happy. It's a very different experience from the first...with him, I was basically always in the survival mode of "just make him stop crying."

    By the way, I found the toddler years even MORE boring than infancy, because you have to play with them, and toddler play is absolutely mind-numbing and tedious. I wanted to run out of my house screaming every day.

  7. Pumping is working well for us. I'll often take the 11:30 pm feedings (and the 7:30/8 am feeding on weekends). We're at the point where Mikaela can down a 9 oz bottle in under 7 minutes -- much faster than breastfeeding directly. However, the pump doesn't trigger Tam's letdown quite as well (which is somewhat common, from what I understand).

    I enjoy doing the 11:30 feeding; sleeping baby in my arms == bliss.

    But, yes -- the overall process is tedious and largely absent of intellectual stimulation. My day isn't as chopped up into small timeslices, obviously, but those slack times when I could read, browse the web, read a friend's blog :-), etc., are much less frequent.

  8. Oh, I've now done it with both of my kids. DD was nursed until 10 months, and DS is going on 9 months.

    I never really LOVED it, but it gets a LOT easier, promise. The babies get super efficient at the boob, and your nursing sessions will be done in 10-15 minutes. And then when they start solids, you'll only need to do that 4 times a day.

    The first few weeks are HELL, I totally agree.

    I am enjoying it much more with DS, probably because I know it'll be my last time doing it, and it'll be over soon.

    Congrats on making it to the six-week mark! It's all smooth sailing from here.

  9. The propaganda over most things baby is insanely irritating. I would say just ignore it, but how can anyone ignore it when it's everywhere and in your face?

    Motherhood can be rewarding without being a big fuzzy rapturous dream. I like moms who swear, tell the truth about motherhood, and can remain rational people.

    I met my closest friend when we were both taking a natal nautics class and all these women were over the moon loving being pregnant and saying stuff like "I never felt so beautiful as I do now that I'm pregnant" and I was like "Are you serious? Even with those giant swelling ankles?" My friend was the only other pregnant lady who was grumpy, feeling like crap, and wishing the damn baby would come already. I loved her instantly.

    Anyway, I love reading your posts about all this baby stuff. Your kid is going to appreciate your candor some day. Believe it or not, mine does.

  10. @Sonya - thanks for the comment. We have the occasional short nursing session, and I can definitely see the progess towards getting faster, so that's good. Plus she sometimes sleeps through the night so YAY!

    @DAC and @Laura- I've toyed with the idea of pumping exclusively, but that seems like so much more work in some ways because I have to pump *and* then feed her. So we do 1-2 bottles a day that TJ can feed her and that gives me a bit of a break.

    @Rachel - I'll be curious to see if the Kindle works for you. It seems pretty big but I guess if you can set it on a table next to you and still read it, that would work. My tiny little ebook reader on my iPhone works pretty well, except when T is distracted and kicking/grabbing me.

    @Angelina - I totally agree about feeling the pressure about it being so "beautiful" and "amazing". Though I will say, I really liked that when I was pregnant, I didn't stress about the weight gain. Except for the massively swollen ankles and feet, I did feel like my body was doing what it was supposed to. Now, not so much :D

  11. Sounds pretty normal - I don't think anyone loves it at first and if they say they do they may be lying :). But by ~3 months you'll see she gets much faster & efficient and you'll start think it at least doesn't suck.

    And btw, do not fear toddlerhood. I LOVED the toddler years best of all with my kids. Babies are great but really they don't do much. At age 1-2 the personality comes out, they talk, play, sing and dance and amaze you daily with the new and clever things they say. And your life is easier by far - they eat normal food and they sleep normal hours. I'd keep Zoe age 2 forever if I could.

    Sending sleep vibes to you :)


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