9/27/09: Welcome Carnival of Breastfeeding Readers! Thanks for taking the time to read my story here. This was originally published 2/19/09; please see postscript at the bottom for more of our story.
This post is going to be mind-numbingly honest, so I hope you’re OK with that.
I’d always hoped to breastfeed. Before I got pregnant, though, my standard thought was that if it didn’t work for me, I would be OK with it. But after Libbie was conceived and as her due date grew closer, I became more and more apprehensive about it. I wanted so badly for her to get that nutrition, to have the closeness of nursing, to not have to PAY for formula. I told many people it would just HAVE to work, because we could afford either diapers or formula.
And I was so blessed to never have any problems with it. After a midnight session with two nurses helping me, I was able to get her to latch on properly. She didn’t have any formula in the hospital. She hasn’t had one drop of formula yet. I’ve just not had any supply issues. When I came back to work I was pumping twice as much as she was eating.
And then, last week happened. I was sick and took two decongestants without thinking about it. Libbie was three months old and that is the time of a major growth spurt. I had started taking birth control pills two weeks earlier. And all of a sudden, I wasn’t pumping as much as she was eating.
I spent most of last week and the beginning of this week at work crying in my office, trying to get out more–using an electric pump, a hand pump, hand expressing, pumping every half an hour. I’ve wasted so much time I needed to be working and frustrated myself beyond belief. I quit the Pill. I ate oatmeal. But mostly, I felt deeply depressed and angry with myself.
On Tuesday, I had the privilege of talking this through with a good friend and with my husband. I was absolutely torn up at the idea of giving Libbie any formula at all. And I had to ask myself, WHY?
The resounding answer in my heart was pride.
I wanted to be able to tell people that I breastfed exclusively for six months. That she’d never had a drop of formula because that is the way God intended it to be. That I was the Queen of Crunchy, an exclusively breastfeeding, cloth-diapering mama.
And that is not a good reason at all. My mind kept coming back to darling MckMama‘s “About Me” on her blog:
I used to think I was defined by my cloth diapering, babywearing, organic eating, acrylic painting, woods dwelling, fast talking, vaccination delaying, color obsessing, amateur gardening, baby food making, photograph taking, faraway traveling, baby making, tattoo designing, non-circumcising, lakeside living, small government believing, pro-life advocating, television abandoning, extended breastfeeding, German speaking, deep thinking, former art teaching and baby cosleeping ways.Now, although I may choose to still do those things, I will simply be MckMama, a sinner saved by the King’s grace, wife to my Prince, mother of Many Small Children.
Pride has no place in the life of a King’s daughter. Which is why I’m mellowing out. Accepted that I might have to supplement a little bit. No one ever tells you how difficult pumping is; that you don’t get as much as the baby get out by herself; that it takes up so much time you’re consumed by guilt; that you will feel very much like a farm animal locked away in your office.
I feel like a giant weight has been lifted from me. No longer crushed by pride, I can just be me. A mama, doing the best I can do, loving my little girl insanely.
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Postscript: Thankfully, I was able to go back to pumping what she needed after a month of supplementing and maintained that for another four months. So grateful to be able to provide her with God’s perfect food–mother’s milk!
Carnival of Breastfeeding Posts [Topic: Working and Breastfeeding]:
Breastfeeding at My Family Daycare
A Job Where Everyone Breastfeeds
Sorry, Facilities Guy
Taking Your Working Boobs to Work
Working and Breastfeeding a Toddler
Working and Pumping
Breastfeeding and Working Is Possible, and You Can Make It Work
Do You Really Need a Pump?
What about Breastfeeding When I Go Back to Work?
Breastfeeding and Working in the UK
Tips for Breastfeeding and Working
My Breast Pump and I Didn’t Get Along
Ask an LC: What About Pumping?
The 5 Biggest Mistakes a Working and Pumping Mom Makes
Beating the Employment Booby Trap
This is a Breastfeeding Office
Nursing Mothers Need Workplace Support