I can not stop singing the following ditty in my head, over and over, to the tune of Beauty School Dropout from Grease:
No more lactation days for you
Boobs like a porn star that leak, too
Except instead of the ladies with all the curlers piled on top of their heads dancing around, there are gnomes with nipple hats who are giving you the finger and farting in your general direction.
(I reread this and I know I am weird. I'd blame lack of sleep but that isn't really a good enough excuse.)
OH MY GOD YOU GUYS. My milk is in, and my boobs look like I had a serious upgrade. You know, on Dr. 90210? When they show them waking the person up after a boob job surgery, and their boobs are like basketballs with little pixels over the nipples and you think Dear Sweet Baby Jesus I would never do that to myself?
That is what my boobs look like, except instead of pixels, I have really disgusting bloody nipples that got HUGE overnight. HUGE! And they leak! Like a faucet! I had to stand with toilet paper over my nipples for 15 minutes after my shower. And I can't raise my arms above my shoulders because it hurts and also because I would create milky spray wall art with the milk stored in these BOULDERS.
And also? My right boob is bigger than my left on a normal day. Today? My right boob is like Texas, and my left is like Rhode Island. It makes for a really interesting uniboob in my sports bra, that's for sure! (And if anyone has tips on how to get rid of all this fucking milk, PLEASE post them! Please!)
So. Engorged. Because, listen: Breastfeeding was just not working for us.
And I know, I know, my GOD I KNOW that breastfeeding strikes a nerve with the internets sometimes, and that some people are really judgy about choosing not to breastfeed. And obviously I wouldn't write a blog post about it if I didn't feel at least a bit guilty for quitting.
The first problem was the jaundice. (Which, by the way, seems to have cleared up - no more doctor visits until her 1 month visit.) I was able to attempt breastfeeding just a couple times before her test results came back and she was taken to the nursery to be put under the bilirubin lights. After that, she was brought to me for a limit of 20 minutes to try to nurse. And seriously - it took her 20 minutes to calm her down after being taken from her easy bake cradle to my Alaska-like recovery room.
I pumped what colostrum I could, and it was given to her by syringe. I did meet with two lactation consultants who were very helpful, but we still couldn't get it all done in the 20 minutes. Finally we just gave into skin-to-skin contact and let them just go with the formula. I pumped for 15 minutes after every visit.
After coming home, I tried really, really hard to breastfeed. It would take about a 45 minutes to get a good latch that lasted more than 30 seconds, and by that time, Olivia was crying and frustrated, as was I, and she would nurse for 5 minutes and fall asleep. Finally, I'd just give her the formula supplement, change her diaper, pump for 15 minutes, and that would leave me with an hour to start it all again.
So stop me if you've heard this one:
That first night at home was hard. Harder than I ever ever imagined.
HAHA! I know - a very unique experience for a first-time mom, right?
The next day, we found out that Olivia might have to go back to the hospital, and all I could do is cry and wish for her that she would just be OK and would just get to stay home with us. I just felt like she wasn't mine yet, or like she was just on loan to us. The very little sleep I got was crappy - I kept thinking that the baby was in the bed, and I woke up a few times digging in the blankets to find her.
In other words: Bitch was going crazy.
Two bilirubin checks later, her jaundice is clearing up. I decided that I just could not breastfeed. My major problem with quitting was hurt pride; I said I was going to breastfeed and damnit, I was going to breastfeed. I wanted to lose weight and save money and if I'm being honest with you, the benefits for the baby had nothing to do with my choice.
So we have Olivia. Hungry, tired, completely frustrated, and only satisfied when she got her formula after an hour of fighting the breast. And we have me - determined to torture my daughter to get skinny and to be able to buy more clothes?
Yesterday was the first full day of the breast boycott. It was a good day.
I remember reading that every day that you breastfeed is a precious gift for your baby. And I guess I generally think that breastfeeding is the better option. I see the benefit in feeding the baby milk that was made especially for her, and being able to bond, and all of the other fantastic perks of breastfeeding. I get it. I also know that I could've tried more - gotten less sleep to work on the latch; seen lactation consultants; pumped more until she got the hang of it; tried different positioning; learned ways to keep her awake.
But instead, I gave up. And you know what? Olivia is satisfied. She is getting healthy.
She is getting to know her mommy and daddy.
And I think that is also a precious gift.