Monday, August 24, 2009

the state of things

I feel like this blog has become awfully complain-y (when it isn’t being neglected to within an inch of its life, that is) for being written by the mother of the world’s most adorable baby*. So please indulge me in the following 60-second rant and then I will suck it up and act appropriately grateful for my seat on the mommy train.

Oh my god I hate breastfeeding. It isn’t the act of breastfeeding I hate these days - it’s rarely painful anymore, thankfully. It’s the assault that my feeble performance unleashes upon any last threads of faith I had in my body. I can’t say there were many that made it through the infertility/c-section gauntlet, but I guess there were a few survivors because the sting is coming from somewhere. To my credit, I’ve persevered despite all challenges. I currently spend an average of 1.5 hours of my workday pumping and I net roughly six ounces, which my linebacker of a son devours in a single feeding at daycare the next day. I’m at a loss to describe how soul-depleting this exercise has become. I feel like a jerk for even going through the motions of combining my two little bottles after a pumping session. Sometimes there’s only an ounce and a half between the two. Seriously. An ounce and a half. Why am I bothering? I’ll tell you why. I’m bothering because I drank the “breastmilk is liquid gold” kool-aid and I’m determined to provide as much of it as I can, even if it is next to nothing. That said, I gotta admit that I’m really feeling the futility of it these days. I’m not nursing enough to get any benefit from it myself (my post-baby pooch continues to hang out in all of its glory and AF is making regular visits again, every 31 days to the hour, thank you very much) so I can’t imagine the pitiful amount of milk he’s getting is making much of a difference on his end. I think the biggest issue is that, against all reason, I am clinging to breastfeeding because it’s my body’s last chance to come through on something I want it to do; my last ticket into the “good mom” club (my own invention, read: not based in reality). I used to think it was the only thing that was ultimately in my control – I couldn’t make myself get pregnant, I couldn’t make myself have a natural birth, but damn it, I’ll torture all three of us for as long as I have to in order to breastfeed because NO ONE can take that away from me. I sound crazy, don’t I? It isn’t even true, not anymore. My supply is dwindling before my eyes and no amount of feeding, pumping, nutritional supplement-ing or shaking my fists at the heavens is halting the decline. I’ve promised myself I’ll continue until he is six months old (I’ve gotten myself this far by committing to a month at a time) so I guess I’ll reevaluate in a couple of weeks. P.S. Elliot can’t tolerate any dairy in my diet so it’s been a long, hot summer without ice cream. Or pizza. Boo.

I think that was more than 60 seconds. Oh well. I’m not going to beat myself up for that on top of everything else.

So, on to happier topics:

Elliot is sitting up on his own very well these days. We stay nearby because if he reaches for something with any gusto, it’s likely his whole body is going to go along, but our rescues are becoming fewer and farther between.

I brought home a second-hand jumparoo and Elliot thinks it’s the most fantastic thing ever. He’s content to hang out in it for long enough for us to fold a load of laundry or have a quick dinner together, so we think it’s pretty darn fantastic, too.

We planned to wait until he was 6-months old for his next professional photos but I caved and took him last week. It’s hopelessly cliché for me to gush about how cute he is, right? I mean, even if I admit my bias? Eh, I’ll just show you some of the pics and you can be your own judge:

He’s got spoon-feeding down and he’s loving rice cereal and oatmeal. I guess we should add something a little more exciting soon. He’s also teething, which isn’t so fun, but I agreed not to talk about anything else negative in this post so we’ll table that discussion for now.

He’s so ready to start moving himself around but he can’t figure out the logistics just yet. He can get his butt in the air (adorable), or he can push up on his arms, but not both together. If we hold his hands and help him to walk around the house, he squeals with delight.

He’s been “talking” for a few months now but within the last week or so, he’s found his volume dial and now wants to talk REALLY, REALLY LOUDLY all of the time. I think it’s pretty cute, but I’m hoping it doesn’t last long because he and I have a long flight to take in less than three weeks and I’d prefer the other passengers not wish us dead.

He’s growing out of clothes as quickly as I can buy them so I’ve started haunting garage sales on a weekly basis. I’m finding I actually enjoy the treasure hunt nature of it and it’s nice to have stumbled into a cheap and useful hobby.

I really think he may smile more than any baby I’ve known. He lights up when anyone talks to him and making him laugh is the highlight of my day.

All in all, things are pretty good. I could use a little more sleep, but who couldn’t, really? I can’t believe we’re almost halfway through his first year already. The mind boggles…

*Internet nieces and nephews excluded, of course.


SupersammyG said...

Have you read the article in the Atlantic called the case against breast feeding It is actually really interesting and talks about some of the limitations of the breast milk is gold theory. It isn't antibreast feeding (actually written by a breast feeding mom)it may make you feel better about not being in love with breastfeeding. Pumping is hell that is all I have to say on that. Oh and I am commenting while tethered to my fucking pump! Hope it gets better

Emily said...

I love the linebacker comment - he DOES have the looks of it! What a gorgeous baby!

Two Moms, Two Monkeys said...

He is adorable! I agree pumping is no fun! I imagine once I go back to work I will have the same issue trying to keep up with the demands of our twin boys...Breastfeeding is also the only thing I've got going for me so I am hoping to do it as long as possible too, so I feel your pain.

veeandjay said...

Aww, he's looking great - what a beautiful smile!

I'm sorry the breastfeeding thing hasn't proved to be such a great experience for you, and that the culture surrounding it is idgging at your self-worth. It's hard for me to imagine, as great swathes of the UK still think breastfeeding is more than a little weird. You've done a sterling job getting Elliot 5 months down the line and it sounds like he's happily making the transition to solids very well.

I know so well what you mean about them outgrowing their wardrobe on what feels like a daily basis! Happy bargain hunting!

anofferingoflove said...

oh, my. elliot is georgeous! that smile just melts my heart! :)

sorry to read about the frustration you are having with breastfeeding. i have no advice (obviously), just offering support for what a wonderful job you are doing despite the difficulty.

nutella said...

I share many of your feelings about breastfeeding. 6 months is my goal as well. I have additional pressure because my father is a child nutrition expert and breast feeding advocate. Of course, he's not the one attached to the pump for hours!

Elliot is a cutie, love that gleeful diaper only shot!

Meegs said...

What a gorgeous chunky monkey you have there! His smile is heartbreaking. :-)

CD and SP said...

I've been in your exact shoes. It feels good to know it's not only you! Month at a time. Ours is now 1 and it already feels so long ago. Know that by wanting to do best for your child, you are doing best.

He's a doll!