Solved and Shriveled

Breastfeeding Ana has been like venturing into uncharted waters for me. With my first baby, Shelby, I spent 4 long, agonizing months attempting to enjoy this "beautiful, natural experience" that made me cry at every feeding and grind my teeth until she had gotten her fill. From the hormones to the latching on, my first attempts at breastfeeding resulted in little milk and lots of frustration. My second child latched on the second after she took her first breath in the delivery room. We've never looked back since that first "beautiful, natural experience" I finally had with Ana. When Ana reached 6 months we haphazardly approached the science of feeding her solids. It has been hit and miss, rice cereal, a few cheerios, a Ritz cracker at a party, certainly not anywhere near the amount of effort, research and time we put into our first child's introduction to food. Ana is now 7 and a half months old (that would be 30 weeks for you truly attentive mothers) and mowing the food like nobody's business. She demands her regular rice cereal for breakfast, the occasional jar of fruit (I haven't taken the time to blend it up myself...yet) or a teething biscuit while we eat our lunch, and then a montage of grabable items for dinner and a half jar of vegetable mash. This has gone on for about two weeks and for the last 12 days or so she has slept until midnight every night. And then the entire household is awake every hour or two because she's squawking and refuses to return to sleep. I finally gave in to sleeping with her in our bed the last few nights, where she attached herself to my right nipple and refused to let go in exchange for peace and quiet. FINE! Well, now that I have accepted my new position as Lead Zombie, I've begun exploring the reasons behind this horrible sleep regiment. Was it gas? Teething? Could it be congestion? Allergies? And then, I looked down at my milk machines (way down there), and I realized they had sunk to an all time low, those perky pillows of Ana's early milk months were now just wrinkled flapjacks offering little more than a couple of elasticized nipples. Where'd all the milk go? No wonder we're not getting any sleep, momma's milk has gone a missin'! Auuughhh! Shortly thereafter, I found myself wandering the grocery store aisles in search of a suitable supplement. Boy oh boy have the formula choices changed since Shelby was a baby! Three years ago there were 3 choices of formula, Enfamil for the price of an arm and a leg, Similac for the price of an arm and a leg, and the Generic for the price of an arm and maybe your baby would grow an extra leg. I stood there with my mouth open reading all the fine print on each jar advertising things like "For Brain Development" or 100% Organic (Do I have to choose between a baby with a brain or a "Green" idiot?), "For Babies with Gas and Fussiness" (Doesn't everyone have that? Not only is my baby, so am I!). I closed my eyes and left Ana's dire future of intellect and political good fortune up to chance. Bingo, Similac Lactose-Free for reduced Gas & Fussiness. Perfect. Well, last night she powered 4 oz. before her usual dinner and then sucked down her evening mommy milk, and we all slept for at least 4 hours before she powered another 3 ouncer to sleep out the rest of the morning until 7! And my nipples didn't feel like they'd been through a meat grinder! Amen! This may be the official changing of the guard for me and Ana. These little pancakes may have met their match. My beautiful experience may be coming to a close as I come to grips with my solution to Ana's growing demands. But I've weighed my options and analyzed the outcome, I have chosen to sacrifice perky boobs with chewed up nipples attached to a half sane, sleep-deprived body for $30 formula, a well nourished baby, and rest. So long breastfeeding, hello sanity.


JO said...

I know only too well what you are going through...at least you made it 7 months. For kid #1 I was still working, so I figured that was why my milk started drying up at 5 months and we squeeked out at least one nursing a day until I finally gave it up at 6 months. Now with kid #2 at 4.5 months here we go again...and I am not working! So why do I feel even more guilty this time??? Crazy. I think I am in denial about it, but I also think we are pretty much done. We use Similac Organic...they keep sending me coupons, so I keep using them!

Gabrielle said...

I have taken up pumping in my spare time. It sucks. All that slurping and sucking and sitting for a measley measured 2 ounces. Auughhhh! I've set a personal goal for 8 months. I refuse to let these floppy pancakes fail me now. Two more weeks...I hope. G