Positive Breastfeeding Experiences

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Okay, Lil G is almost 9 weeks old, and I’ve got to say, I’ve been eating my words. While I don’t LOVE breastfeeding, I am growing, again, to appreciate the little noises he makes as he suckles happily. The way his little arm flails around as he tries desperately to get as much milk as he can as quickly as he can. And the little sleepy smile he gives when he is finally satisfied.

I’ve got to say that I’ve never had any particularly negative public breastfeeding experiences, but on Monday I had a sweetly positive one while quietly drinking coffee at a French bakery near Potamus’ daycare. There were these two older couples there, the first old man was cooing over Lil G, and I could tell it was genuine in his affection. Lil G was hungry, so I began feeding him under my nursing cover (something I do sometimes, but not all the time), when the second man came up with their order of pastries. We were all chatting and then he asked, “are you breastfeeding?” “Yes,” I said, smiling, and he gave me a big thumbs up as he bit into his croissant.

It was one of those happy little moments of acknowledgment that makes me happy in a world full of negative breastfeeding stories.

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Brotherly Love

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At 7.5 weeks, I feel like we’ve begun settling into a sweet little family routine. And the love between these two (well, it’s one sided from Potamus to Lil G at this point, right?) is so sweet.

Yesterday I took Lil G down to Olympia to hang out with my bestie. When I came back it was late afternoon, and so we spent some time outside looking at the trees blowing in the wind and feeling the sunshine on our faces. Of course Potamus wanted to snuggle his baby brother and I captured this sweet shot. Be still my heart.

These moments are why people say they’re glad they have two or more kids.

I Hate Breastfeeding: 2nd Baby Confession

12496528_10100828356823473_3734553706941214189_oWhen Potamus was born, I struggled for the first 7 weeks to get breastfeeding down. I had overactive letdown, oversupply, and there’s a picture that will never make it to the internet where my areola was bigger than his face. It was a struggle, including one 8 hour sleeping stint leaving him too weak to nurse, even with the nipple shield, where I was sobbing and spoon feeding milk into his mouth while Boof was on the phone with La Leche league. Rough.

And then, when I went back to work, he reverse cycled. And until he self-weaned the night before he turned two, I nursed him all.night.long. It was rough. But I enjoyed it, for the most part. It was what made me a MOM, and I fully recognize that all of my obsession with bonding and attachment were due to my own adoption trauma and while I sometimes resented that I was the only one who could feed him, I was also glad that I was the only one who could feed him. I was mom. Nobody else could take that role.

Now, with Lil G, I’m struggling. It feels very reminiscent of the pregnancy, where, with Potamus it was all glowy and mama goddess, and then with #2 I hated it. Having had mastitis, which left me feeling like shit and ramped up my anxiety to almost agoraphobic levels, paired with nipple trauma, a clipped tongue and lip tie, disorganized suck, on top of parenting a 4 year old who is struggling with the loss of his Universe/Mama to the demands of his new brother, I am thisclose to throwing in the towel on breastfeeding. I had already resigned myself to weaning or partially weaning around 6 months when I go back to work, because I loathe pumping, but part of me feels like the women who allow themselves the option of pain meds during labor and then request them 5 minutes in.

Because, you see, breastfeeding the first go round was for me. I was recently talking to my sister-in-law, who’s exclusively pumping for my niece after a rough start breastfeeding, about how I think that is the hardest route to go. And that if I had to pump I would just use formula, because for me breastfeeding was about the ease and the bonding, not about the nutrition. I nursed for me, not for my baby. Maybe that’s selfish to admit, but it’s true. I needed to feel the bond. I needed to be needed in that way. I needed to nurse to make me a mother the first go round.

But now I am a mother. Now, when Lil Go was born, and I stared into his sweet face, I felt the deep love that I knew nothing could replace. I AM his mom. Nothing will make me anything less than his mom. Nothing will take away my deep love for him. And so I stare at the two free cans of formula on the top of my fridge and think…what if…what if?

It’s only been 4.5 weeks with this little guy, and a struggle, so I don’t want to make a decision out of difficulty. I know I will give it more time, but I also want to enjoy my baby, enjoy time with Potamus, and not dread every feeding. I don’t want to plug my ears when he starts his 5th fussing of the night, pretending for just 5 more minutes that he doesn’t need my barely healing nipples. And the thought of someone else in the future being able to feed him, while I’m a bridesmaid in a wedding, or out at a yoga class, feels so refreshing that I want to skip around in the sunshine. Does that make me a terrible person?

Perhaps in 5 months, when I’m truly weaning (currently my goal is to give formula at daycare, and nurse on off hours), I’ll feel nostalgic and sad that I didn’t extend breastfeeding like with Potamus. Or maybe I’ll feel relief. Can I do something completely different with Baby #2 and still be a rockin’ awesome mom? I think so. I love all the moments with this baby…except when he’s attached to my boob…

Precious Moments

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This picture is how I want to remember Lil G’s infancy. I look at this picture and already want to cry from nostalgia, and I’m still in the thick of sore nipples and sleepless nights and too many crying spells (me). This moment, though. This is precious.

12239279_10100819158676633_6853731273726244885_oThere’s something about a warm baby on my chest that makes me want to write¬†down everything, but the moments and memories from even just one week are already floating away like clouds.

The adjustment to life with two has been much easier than I thought, which makes me afraid for the other shoe to drop and us to spiral into a world of increasing difficulty. I try to push those thoughts away in order to simply be, but the nagging is there, heightened by the fact that at 5 weeks postpartum last time I crashed and developed post partum depression/anxiety/ocd which left me feeling crazy and needing to be medicated.

So far the newest, who we call Lil G, is a much easier baby than his big brother. He sleeps well (enough for a newborn), and is so far handling nursing with my overactive letdown like a champ. Some pain and nipple cracking is happening, and yesterday after his doctor appointment when he was in pain the nursing was really painful, but overall I’d say we’re in a really good place for week 1. I’m nervous about next week, though, when I am tasked with getting both boys ready and out the door to get Potamus to his daycare/school that’s 30 minutes away. I feel like I’m in for a challenge, though Potamus has adjusted quite well to being a big boy and having responsibilities like getting himself dressed in the morning.

But right now, I’m just snuggling with Lil G on my chest, trying to soak in all the newness of this moment.

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4th Birthday Love

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On December 20th, Potamus turned 4. We had celebrated his birthday earlier in the month, but with grandparents and aunties in various locations around the state, really this kid is getting birthday month (um, as it should be? Speaking as another December baby for a minute here…).

Four years. I have so many thoughts about these last four years. I used to tell people that when you move to a new place it takes four years to settle in. I really believe that about places, but I also believe that about parenting. I have felt an amazing connection to motherhood in the past four years, but what I have noticed lately, is my distinct lack of angst about getting him yet another peanut butter cracker/glass of orange juice/etc. What used to feel like having competing Internet Explorer browsers open, now feels a little bit more like a humming program running in the background, while the internet browser is open to whatever tab I want it to be.

I know that in 8 weeks this will change with the birth of my second kid, but it feels like year 4 with little dude is in a really good place.

And look at how sweet he is in that picture? So big. So big that Boof said, “I barely recognize him in those pictures from his first year.” I know. It’s crazy.

Happy 4 Years Buddy. I’ll leave you with this recent quote of his:

“Before you were born, I was just a lady. And you made me a mommy.”

“Yeah! And you made me a [Potamus] and I made daddy a daddy. We all made each other.”

WE ALL MADE EACH OTHER.

Wisdom from a 4 year old.

 

Will it be like this forever?

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The chiropractor has helped with the pain, though it’s November and I’m eating like a pregnant bear and going to bed at 7pm, which is reminiscent of those days I used to be depressed. I’m not (depressed that is), though when I’m thinking of my bed from the moment I wake up until I crawl in at “night” (is 7pm night?), I wonder if I’m not depressed, somewhat.

Yesterday I visited the Urgent Care clinic, after my right ear was so painful that I almost threw up. Turns out I have sinusitis (duh, always this time of year), and because it’s not bad enough yet + I’m pregnant, they prescribed me saline nose spray ($3 at CVS) and Tylenol. Yippee.

I might have gone to the store and bought some hippie essential oils, because fuck it, I can’t just muscle through a sinus infection without a little something, even if it’s just the placebo effect.

So maybe that sinus infection explains the early bedtimes. Or maybe it’s 25 weeks pregnant and it’s dark at 4pm and I’m parenting an almost 4 year old with a strong will like his mama.

All of this complaining to say, I’ve been trying to use the mantra ‘this is my last’ when it comes to this pregnancy. And so far it’s not really working. I’m not appreciating these little moments, full of peeing pants, and carb cravings (yes, I did eat 3 croissants on Friday, why do you ask?), and hips that feel like they’re going to crumble into 1,000 pieces when I walk. I’m just not. And I’m really struggling with that. The comparison.

And I never thought I’d say it, but thank God for Kim Kardashian. Because I still think she looks good even though she’s announced her 52lb weight gain and how she hates feeling pregnant. My last pregnancy I would have despised her for those words, but this time around, I’m taking comfort.

Because I have anxiety, and like to future-think rather than always ruminate in the present moment, I am worried that this is the way it’s going to be forever. I don’t mean forever forever, but in relation to Baby #2. I worry that I will hate breastfeeding from the start, and think ‘if only this were over already,’ like I’m doing with this pregnancy. I worry that I’ll resent the endless diapers and the tantrums of my 4 year old at the same time. It’s those things of even when it was hard the first time around, I had a naivete, and I honestly feel like I did a really great job of living in the moment. Not 100% of the time. But a good 85-90% I’d say, which is pretty dang good for a first time mom.

But I worry about this next time. I know that it’s irrational to think that I won’t love this baby. It’s not even that I’m worried about. It’s that I am putting a pressure on myself to enjoy the moments because they will be my last moments, and it’s hard to fucking enjoy being pregnant in pain even if it will be my last pregnancy. So I worry that will carry forward. Does that make even one bit of sense?