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…

Lactation Consultant….Formula Consultant?

Potamus has had formula¬†1 time, in the pediatrician’s office when he was less than 2 weeks old. The doctor was concerned that he wasn’t quite up to birth weight yet and was showing us how to do a supplemental feeding tube system just in case we needed it. He proceeded to feed my child formula in about 12.5 seconds without even asking our permission. I was more in shock than anything in the moment, and it all happened so quickly I couldn’t even find words to say, ‘um, please don’t do that.” He’s a father of 4 and all of them were breastfed, and as he was giving my baby formula he stated, “formula can be really helpful, it’s not poison like so many think.”

I don’t think formula is poison. But, I would like to choose whether I give my baby formula. When I was struggling early on, and seeing a lactation consultant, I contemplated just making the switch for both physical and emotional reasons. But I persevered and 9 months later we’re still exclusively breastfeeding. Though that might change in 1 week when I am away from him for 10 hours a day for 4 days a week… we will see. I’m not morally opposed to the whole idea, but if I DO use formula, I would like to be as informed as possible.

So I was intrigued when I came across this article on Huffington Post about the idea of Formula Consultants. While in many ways I agree that hospitals shouldn’t peddle formula, the idea of a consultant, like a nutritionist, that could explain what all the different types of formula are, would be SO HELPFUL! I know that I got aproximately 765 samples of formula before Potamus was born. When I was thinking about switching, I initially grabbed the orange can of Similac because it stated it was for sensitive tummies. I was HORRIFIED when I saw that the FIRST ingredient was CORN SYRUP. Jesus Christ, was the formula actually “better” for baby’s tummies, or was it that the sugar simply numbed the pain much like sugar water did for Potamus’s circumcision? I couldn’t believe it. While I knew that sugar was in formula, it being the first ingredient was horrifying, shocking, revolting.

But how many exhausted mamas grab something labeled sensitive thinking that it is the best choice for them, without knowing all the facts? Sure you can call up Gerber or Similac and get info on formula, but it’s not unbiased…so maybe the idea of a formula consultant is a good one…for those who can’t breastfeed or for those who choose to.

What do you think?