Is breastfeeding really always best? I was reading, my friend, Jennifer Brandt’s blog Perfectly Disheveled tonight and was reminded of something that I had buried deep within the recesses of my mind…BREASTFEEDING! Oh how it sucked! No pun intended. It was one of the most awful things I have experienced thus far in motherhood. I know its not PC to admit that breastfeeding sucked for me but hey, that’s how I roll. I am honest to a fault. I always thought that breastfeeding would be something beautiful and magical; a sacred bond between mother and baby. And it was but it was also something else. It was what most Hollywood actresses look like without their hair and makeup done, no stylist standing by, no PR person to spin their words into weaved gold. It was raw, it was painful , it was ugly and, on most days, it hurt me deeply. Breastfeeding kicked my ass physically and emotionally. Worse than that, it was humbling. From the beginning, breastfeeding made me feel like the world’s biggest freaking loser Mommy! Amen. I’m divulging the truth that it was for me.
I remember coming home on that first day, driving 15 miles an hour with our blinkers on trying our best not to damage or mess up this most perfect being that we had just been given. We cooked this baby good and read all the books but when it came down to it, we couldn’t believe these people were going to let us take the baby out of the hospital. After all, what the hell were they thinking? We didn’t know what to do. We could barely keep one another alive, plants were dying all over the house, I’d lost a dog but these assholes wanted me to keep an entire human being alive! WHAT?? Panic set in but there was no turning back. We were going to hold onto this halo/fog of new baby splendor as long as we possibly could. The key was to keep the baby in tact.
We arrive home. Hello baby! This is your new house. The whole world, in its entirety, will be forever changed. You will be the sun and we will rotate around you forevermore. Time for a nap. Gently we place the baby into the bassinet and then its time to turn off the lights, pull the room darkening shades and SLEEP. But wait. That won’t work. If the lights are off we can’t see if she’s breathing. If we can’t see that she’s breathing..maybe she’s not. No! Sorry this plan will not work. Abort mission. Abort mission! Turning off the lights won’t do. Instead, we collapsed in exhaustion laying across the bed, with our heads half in the bassinet, with the ceiling fan light turned all the way on! Just about the time my brain and heart gave way and allowed my eyes to close, the baby woke up..starving. Let the breastfeeding commence. No lactation nurse, no holds barred. Let’s do this.
To my teet I drew my baby. She suckled. She didn’t latch very well. I knew that my milk hadn’t come in yet, as the lactation nurse had already informed me of my ineptitude before I had even left the hospital. She, also, had set me up with a medieval contraption known as an SNS. Not familiar with this? Oh, aren’t you the lucky girl? SNS stands for Supplemental Nursing System which is basically today’s scarlet letter for you are a fucking loser who doesn’t have the capability of feeding your own offspring. That’s right, there are broads in the world breastfeeding their boobie nectar to chihuahuas and I can’t keep my own human alive. Fuck. It was the Chia pet all over again. I was panicked that I was going to have to be dependent on a breast pump that is electric. I was popping Fenugreek like they were the last tic tacs in the world. Anyways, those were my choices…Fenugreek and SNS…until my milk dropped. What does that even mean? It’s not like a gallon of formula is going to come spilling out of me. I pumped..barely a taste for my infant. So, I grudgingly hook myself up to the SNS. Picture, if you will, some sort of human type version of what is used on cows. Basically, it was a small container that you filled with formula, that hung around your neck. There was a very small tube attached to that which was then taped to the top of your breast and down at the nipple.For me, that meant atop the nipple shield. It was a pretty hostile site. Poor baby Bella. Why couldn’t her Mommy just produce like all the other Mommies? I don’t know baby. These fucking D boobs apparently are for fun and not function.ARGH! The humiliation.
Why had breastfeeding forsaken me? What had I done wrong?
As I sat there, her looking up at me, questioning what wrong she had done in a previous life to be saddled with such a worthless mom, was enough to break my heart. But I soldiered on because I wasn’t stopping until that milk gave in and came in. I was going to breastfeed this baby if it killed me or broke me. Oh, don’t you worry…it almost did. I called the nurse and she barked at me to only do the SNS every other feeding and only an ounce so that it forced the baby to suckle harder and force my milk to drop. I listened because, quite frankly, this is her job and I didn’t know what the hell I was doing. Then in that first 24 hour period, Bella fed every 1/2 hour. Do you know what that means? She was literally off my tit for about 5 minutes every hour for 24 hours. She was crying, out of starvation. I was crying out of frustration, humiliation and guilt. I felt like the biggest piece of shit Mother to EVER walk the earth..even lower than those broads who drove their kids off a bridge. By the next morning, constant crying ( on both our parts) and no sleep, I was at my most vulnerable. And the baby was looking pretty much like an Oompa Loompa. I’m not going to lie to you, I lost my ever loving mind when I realized I had broken the baby. The perfect little baby.
I called the doctor and he said to bring her to the hospital. I was raw. OMG. I was the most exhausted, vulnerable, crazed lunatic on the maternity ward. Oh yes, they made me return to the scene of the crime. The nursery. Immediately, they took one look at our Willie Wonka cast member and told us that our baby had jaundice caused by my malfunctioning bossoms! It was as if someone kicked me in my hemorrhaging crotch, smacked me in my sore raw nipples and yanked my heart out through my chest all while laughing at me. I left the room and ugly cried hysterically…uncontrollably. The Big Guy was freaked out, his baby was orange and his wife was out of her mind. The nurses knew it was hormones. They tried to soothe my fears but it was impossible.
The moral of the story is even after all this, I continued to nurse for 3 months…with the SNS system because I NEVER produced enough milk to sustain my child. NEVER! But that damn lactation nurse kept telling me to keep taking the Fenugreek, it will come in. Then she told me to withhold formula, then I lost her number. I have never felt like such a failure. To this day, it still makes me hang my head to know that I couldn’t just breastfeed. It’s like being 30 and still riding a bike with training wheels. If you’re expecting a child, I would suggest you prepare for your breastfeeding journey. You may search for a breast pump covered by insurance along with other equipment and supplements you’ll need.
But because I would have been ridiculed by everyone I knew and scowled at for not trying my damnest, I did it again with my second child and again we ended up in the hospital with jaundice. Breastfeeding isn’t for everybody…no matter what people say. If I could have, I would have done it for longer. I did love the bond we formed during that breastfeeding time but if you pan out in the pictures, you can clearly see that I was strapped to that SNS contraption which was neither sweet or bond conducive. So, I say to you…for me…BREASTFEEDING SUCKED!
Did you breastfeed? For how long? Was it easy? Was it hard? Did you use an SNS? Would lengths would you go to succeed at breastfeeding your baby?