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Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Breast Feeding Blues

I don’t like breast feeding.  There, I said it.  I feel a little less maternal now but it’s true!  I DON’T LIKE BREAST FEEDING.  I know, I know.  No need to shout.

I’m not a prude.  I have nothing against breasts and babies coming together.  I completely support women who breast feed (if that is what works for their families of course).

I breast fed my son until he self-weaned a few days before his first birthday.  My son was awesome at it.  He was so large during those first six months that people would say: He’s a formula-fed baby, right? (I know.  Who says that?  No one dared touch my baby or baby bump, but I just couldn’t stare down the weird comments.)  Nope.  It was MY breast milk that put him in the 99th percentile (even though he was born at a mere 7 pounds 13 ounces).  My doula said: Some of us are meat cows and some of us are milk cows.  You, my friend, are a milk cow.

But even with all this positive feedback, I didn’t like breast feeding.  Maybe it’s because I’m not a touchy-feely person and you kind of have someone attached to your body every 2-4 hours AROUND THE CLOCK.  Maybe it’s because I don’t like being needed so much.  Maybe I’m weird.  You know what?  WHO CARES?  Facts are facts.  And I REALLY don’t enjoy breast feeding.

So along came number two.  And we breast feed.  Heck, she latched on while we were still in the operation room gets my uterus sown up (TMI?).  Great!  Or as great as it is when you are doing something you don’t like every two hours around the clock.  But between check-ups at two and four months, she did not grow enough.  She was definitely breast feeding.  But not for long enough.  I had just chalked it up to her being a snacker, but I guess the triple-threat of being a snacker, me chasing around a toddler, and her laid back nature, meant that she was not eating enough.  So we got the lactation consultant and the breast pump and the emotional support and the boobs and the baby on board.  And we got her weight stable.  Yay!

Except I now continuously worry that she is hungry.  She’s crying?  Hungry.  She’s reaching for me?  Hungry.  She’s sleeping?  Hungry. 

So not only do I not enjoy breast feeding, but now I cannot trust the process.  I get frustrated and anxious.  I wonder, deep down, are we really bonding over this process?  Or is my determination to breast feed her as long as her brother (that’s a whole different guilt trip, oh I mean blog post) or as long as the AAP recommends (I’m not even going near the WHO recs -- I could not do anything I dislike for two years.  Please don’t ask.) driving a wedge between us?  Because I don’t feel loving and cuddly when we breast feed.  She’s nine months old now and I’m still watching the clock and her latch and my positioning and getting upset when she stops every few minutes and wishing I could weigh her afterwards.  Is it worth it?  Or are my breasts just getting in the way of our cuddling?


This post is written by Alex Iwashyna, a happily married (seriously!) mom with a BA in Philosophy and a Medical Degree and the drive to become neither.  She is hopeful this writing thing will pan out.  Follow her rants on and on but be prepared for baby poop and liberal bias.

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