We are halfway to baby boy #2, which means halfway to breastfeeding . . . again! Oh, but do I have to?!
One of the many questions a first-time mother is asked before having her first child is, “Are you going to breastfeed?” My answer (over three years ago) was that I was going to give it a solid try, truly hoping it would work for me/us. However, I always followed up by saying that I wasn’t going to the ends of the earth to make sure I checked that box on the SUPERMOM resume. Dear cloth diapering, I was totally cool with keeping your box blank from day one!
If nursing didn’t work for us (for whatever reason), I was prepared to go the formula route. At that point, I had seen nursing work swimmingly for some mom-friends and miserably for others. I did not judge those mommies’ overall mommy success (“mommabilities” if you will) on the nursing yay or nay. With all the vulnerability, hormones, and learning that goes on during the first season of motherhood, we mommies just do our very best!
My son and I struggled with his latch at first. I had about a month of severe pain that was only relieved by extreme amounts of Lansinoh HPA Lanolin (no other brands worked) and time. I kicked my feet in pain on every latch for that month and almost threw in the towel a handful (ahem, maybe more like 100) of times. My husband supported me either way, but my stubborn self persisted, and luckily it paid off.
After that month, breastfeeding life was wonderful. I adored that downtime with my baby, away from it all. We bonded, I stared and memorized that precious face, and cried from happiness . . . a lot.
Then this annoying thing called work crept back into my life and the dream came to an end. Instead of holding this sweet baby in my arms, I had to hook myself up to a pump and it all sort of fell apart.
I made it a little over four months exclusively breastfeeding, went back to work, and almost immediately had to start supplementing with formula. Truth? I sucked at pumping. I never got the amount that I should have; I stressed about it constantly, was in pain, and I felt ridiculous during every single pump. It felt extremely unnatural and I just could not fake it.
My son and I completed eight months of nursing, four of which were part-time, before we called it quits. I feel we would’ve made it longer and with little to no formula if I were able to stay home with him. Pumping was the enemy and I will meet that beast again come this Spring. So as much as I am thrilled to bond with and nourish baby boy #2 through breastfeeding, I am already dreading the pump.
I raise my fist at you, breast pump (and maybe a particular finger):
All the parts, the stupid bra, the pain, the noise, THE CLEANING — Everything! Curse it all. Until we meet again . . . Or will we?