Lactation Lamentation

30 Jun

Breastfeeding is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, hands down.  Never have I heard so much advice and theorizing from well-meaning people.  Who knew my chest would ever be the topic of such heated discussion?

Seabass has never been a champ at the breast.  First he was too sleepy, which diminished my milk supply.  So the lactation consultants got us into a regimen of putting him on the breast as much as possible before eventually pumping and bottle-feeding the remains while simultaneously taking a milk-supply-enhancing herb supplement that made me smell like maple syrup.  Exhausting.  I was like a sleep-walking pancake breakfast.

And oh, the shame!  Not only was I spending up to 90 minutes feeding my baby before starting again an hour later, but I felt less than a woman for not holding up my end of the baby/mommy feeding agreement.  I envied – and still do envy – those for whom it all comes naturally.

Then Seabass woke up and started eating more, all of his own accord.  Yay!  At the same time, he also started screaming bloody murder between feedings, sometimes to the point where he couldn’t calm down enough to eat.  Boo.  Lactation consultants:  “It has to be something you’re eating that’s irritating him.  How about you go off of corn, wheat, dairy, soy, nuts, chocolate, caffeine and most fruits and vegetables?  And if that doesn’t work, we’ll try taking you off water and oxygen next week.”  Me: “Youbetcha, that sounds perfectly reasonable!”

And alas, it isn’t anything I’m eating that’s making him the fuss monkey, colicky baby he is anyway.  It’s just him. It’s not my diet.  Not the detergent we use.  Not his sleep schedule.  Not the weather.  Not the stress I’m under or the way we SHUSH and SWADDLE and SWING this little guy.

When he is eating well, I love love love nursing.  I’ve never had a symbiotic relationship like this before, and it truly is a gift from God…when it works.  It’s beautiful to stroke C’s little neck, rock back and forth and sing little weird made-up songs to him while he chows down.  It feels ancient and pure.  And I guess it makes up for all the times that he is a tomato-red howling banshee coming on or off the breast, sending me into tears and tempting Jake to fetch a pen and the adoption papers.

No, in this new economy of parenthood, whatever’s best for C is worth the trouble.

11 Responses to “Lactation Lamentation”

  1. Megan June 30, 2010 at 5:48 pm #

    Onto my blogroll you go! Your mother told me to read you, she thinks you are the best writer in the world; my mother thinks the same of me, so we’ll let them duke it out…In the meantime, I will tsk tsk along with you… 🙂 and ps: the highest high, you have already experienced, except perhaps the high that is the amazing capacity of love to morph when another child enters your life (The old line ‘How could I ever love another child this much’ is answered in a heartbeat, and is an amazing amazing cataclysm.) but the lows? oh, honey…you have NO idea! 😉 Soldier on mama. 🙂 Love to you!

  2. Rachael VanDorn June 30, 2010 at 9:16 pm #

    I love the blog guys! I have been there too. Elijah (first one) was the same way. The great thing is that they grow up fast! I would love to get together sometime to meet the little man.

  3. geiska July 1, 2010 at 1:59 am #

    I love your writing! So entertaining. dont ever stp. am writing with one hand as usual these days. thank you J

    • Bayle October 14, 2013 at 9:09 am #

      Posts like this brethgin up my day. Thanks for taking the time.

  4. Gretchen July 1, 2010 at 6:46 pm #

    I’m incredibly nervous about breastfeeding when the time comes. I went to my first La Leche League meeting today and have a good support network through the hospital and military lactation consultants so fingers crossed Liam and I can figure it out!

  5. Mira July 2, 2010 at 11:19 pm #

    Jaime – you’re doing great! I too smell of maple syrup…every time Brian kisses my forehead he says “mmm…waffles.”

  6. WeeOnesSaid July 22, 2010 at 3:58 pm #

    I’m really enjoying your blog…great writing…you keep it real…
    My first boy never latch on, and it wasn’t until 2 weeks after he was born that we found out that his collar bone was broken during birth (c-section) and that’s why he was always crying bloody murder when I try to feed him. And I agree with you, I do envy them too:)


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