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[personal profile] magharabi
.... Wait. >.>

So. Had the baby, that was fun, now what? Obviously we go home to our magical apartment that somehow stays picked up, where dinner magically makes itself and I get to spend my days sharing goo goo eyes with my beautiful son while he breastfeeds and Husby can focus on his writing, right?


First of all, dishes, dinner and vacuuming don't do themselves. And Morphberry doesn't magically sleep long enough for me to do much more than start on a household project like laundry or clearing off the table. My house, right now, is a complete and utter wreck. And I'm oddly unashamed. This is where we are and how it looks. If people wanna come over and see it that's their deal. (Though it is kind of aggravating for ME to look at it all while I'm sitting on the couch for three hours wishing the boy would not be fussy long enough for me to do something about it and feel just a little less useless. Heh.)

Secondly, breastfeeding is hard, y'all. All the pamphlets and magazines and lactation consultants talk about breastfeeding in absolutes. In some ways, it is. Breastfeeding is absolutely the best food for the baby. It is absolutely the healthiest alternative for the well being of the mother. Breast feeding helps prevent cancer of various natures, helps you lose weight, helps baby grow up smarter and better adjusted, creates peace in the Middle East and makes the poopy diapers smell less like nuclear fallout. Most of which is true. I'm dubious about the diaper claim, though. Breastfeeding is the method nature intended for babies to get sustenance. I recently read that breastmilk is nature's most perfect food for a baby, and that babies' bodies are perfectly set up to receive and process it, and that mothers' bodies are perfectly set up to create it.

That is, to borrow a term from my dear British friends, bollocks. Funny thing about nature- it ain't PERFECT.

But that doesn't stop people from saying it. Printing it. Passing it off as an absolute fact. So when breastfeeding isn't perfect, a new mom feels pretty crummy. Inferior, even. Naturally.

Morphberry is almost 6 weeks old and I still can't produce enough milk to satisfy him. At first, I didn't know there was anything amiss. Babies cry a lot, yanno? So mine crying hourly 24/7 is just par for the course. Or so I tried to convince myself while we were in the hospital. The nurses asked if they could give Morphberry a bottle of formula one night, just to tide him over so I could get some sleep and I flipped my lid. How could they suggest such a thing? Did they not read all of the breastfeeding books and articles that said if you wanted to breastfeed successfully, don't you dare let a bottle or a pacifier anywhere near your child or they're ruined forever?

By the day after we'd come home from the hospital, Morphberry had lost a full pound. Babies do lose weight in their first days of life. But a full pound is a little too much. Thankfully he had a pound to lose (so I ended up with an almost 8 lb baby instead of an almost 9 lb baby). But my pediatrician made it quite clear that I simply wasn't cutting it, and unless I began supplementing with formula he was going to be heading right back to the hospital.


Turns out, you can actually give your kid a bottle AND still breastfeed. Trufax. You can give them a pacifier, too. And actually, if used the right ways, both of those things can actually help the baby be a better breastfeeder. By teaching Morphberry how to keep a pacifier in his mouth, he's actually become a better sucker (ha!) which means he gets more milk from me.

Of course, this is something we only realize after we go through a whole series of meetings with a lactation consultant who ultimately- after hooking me up to like, a formula IV for my nipple and a whole host of other equally entertaining rituals and contraptions featuring my boobs- told me that basically because I wasn't spraying the walls with milky goodness and wringing out my breast pads before tossing them in the garbage I was a lost cause. I could, if I really wanted to, contact my OB and have him run a whole bunch of hormone tests to see which one nature had shorted me on. Wow. Glad we got that cleared up. I know, I'm different, Granny reminded me when I was pregnant, thanks.

Needless to say, I was pretty much a complete wreck after that. Every time I tried to breastfeed I felt like a failure. Every time I fed Morphberry a bottle I couldn't stop crying, wishing I had the ability to provide for him. I was dooming him to a lower IQ, dooming both of us to death by cancer, and the Middle East would continue to see war for years- and famine and pestilence and plague to boot. Honestly, they talk about postpartum depression? Yeah. I think I got my whole dose of it in like, two days. It was bad.

So I decided to just see how I was doing. Take a full day and just pump every two hours and let Morphberry have nothing but bottles. I was surprised at how much I actually was producing. No, it wasn't enough. But it certainly wasn't nothing, either.

My mom finally found the right words to convey to me that when she had me, her supply didn't come in full force until well after six weeks had passed. But eventually it did come in and she was able to breastfeed me exclusively until I started eating solid foods. And even then, she continued to breastfeed me. Apparently until I was two, and she got pregnant with my brother and had to wean me cold turkey. This did not please little me and I threw many tantrums. In my defense, I remember nothing.

I still don't produce quite enough milk for Morphberry. But we're down to only two 4 oz bottles some days. Other days I feel more like we're bottle feeding and supplementing with breastmilk. I'm hopeful still that I'll get a good supply in. Slowly, it's beginning to happen.

Apparently I'm not alone in my experience. In fact, I'm beginning to think a majority of first time moms have supply issues- especially if they've been induced or had a c-section. My sister-in-law? Twins. Supply issues. Eventually breastfed them both exclusively. If she can do it, my one little guy shouldn't be too big a stretch, eh?


Sadly, poor Husby still doesn't get much attention from me. I'm working on that. He's being so very patient. In fact, I'mma go snuggle him right now.
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October 2015

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