Monday, April 27, 2009

The Breast, or not The Breast?

Daily Specs:

Attainable Goal: Send out birth announcements. Done.
Grievance: My house is a little bit atrocious, yet I have zero motivation to straighten. Cest la vie.
Celebration: I got a nap today! And I got to take that nap curled up with Baby Love.

Nothing is more enjoyable than a good nap. But there are other things about being not-pregnant that are also very enjoyable. Perhaps there are enough things to warrant making a list!

- The ability to sleep without waking up periodically in the middle of the night in severe pain
- Using the restroom once every few hours, not every few minutes
- Wear cuter clothes
- Having a glass of wine with dinner or a cocktail afterward
- One word. Sushi.
- Sitting in hot tubs
- Workouts to the point where I feel like I worked out
- Confidence in appearance skyrockets
- Not having to go to the doc and be put on a scale EVERY WEEK
- And of course the #1 thing, being able to have my Baby Love in my arms.

There is, however, one great disadvantage to the first months postpartum that was not an issue in pregnancy: breastfeeding.

Whenever I get a nap or a few hours rest in the night time, I wake up with the awful feeling in my breasts that can only mean one thing. Time for baby to eat. Now, of course, when I am ready to feed him, he is NOT ready to be fed. He is either sleeping (there is NO way I will wake him up from a dead sleep to eat like the nurses told me to. That is just craziness), buzzing happily away in his chair, or playing with Daddy.

So in the first few days of finding a breastfeeding routine, I had decided that I will pump 100% of the time and store milk in bottles for convenient feedings. This has been the most superb idea I have had in all of my born days. Now, I can empty myself whenever I feel I need to or whenever we are about to leave the house for an extended amount of time (no need to pack a pump, hooray!). Not only that, but Baby Love can be fed by any person at any time! He is getting very used to feeding from a bottle, which will be wonderful when he starts eating solid foods, and he is willing to take a feeding from anyone, including Boy Love or any grandparent coming to visit. This is where I pat myself on the back for making such a learned and wise decision regarding breastfeeding.

However, as my stash of frozen breast milk continues to grow in our tiny freezer, I keep finding myself reminiscing of a better day. A day when I didn't constantly have to keep tabs on the quantity of milk I am producing. I yearn for the times of yester-month where I didn't have to worry about soaking my bra pads, or keeping my nursing camis laundered, or the constant tenderness I feel at the drop of a hat. I long to be one bra size, not one size at 1:00 after I have finished emptying the tank, and another size at 4:00 when the reserves have come whooshing in again. I want to be able to go on a date with Big Love, order a cocktail (or two?) and not have to wait an hour (or two?) before I am able to pump again.

Don't get me wrong, I love the benefits of breastfeeding. I love that I am giving Baby Love what he needs. I love that I am using my breasts in the way that God has intended. I love that breast milk is free. And I REALLY love the extra 500 calories per day that I burn. However, I find breastfeeding to be time consuming, uncomfortable, and pretty aggravating. I get frustrated that I have to do it, and it makes me feel as if I am shooting unhappy juice into each bottle. So then begs the question: The Breast, or not The Breast?

I know that I could switch to formula at any given time. We have quite a stash of formula that we have received for free in the mail (thank you, Similac), and I would have zero issues using it up. However, after that is emptied, then comes the financial terrors of purchasing $25 cardboard cannisters of formula that will only last a week and a half. The amount of breast milk I ma pumping exceeds the amount he is eating, so I have been able to stash away quite a bit of the overkill in the freezer. As I peer into the growing supply, I have these happy delusions of being able to freeze enough to supplement feedings for as long as he needs, and I can stop pumping cold turkey while he continues to get his nutrients. When I mentioned this to Big Love, he was practical enough to inform me that I would have to pump hundreds and hundreds of ounces of milk to be able to accomplish this. That sounds even more depressing. I am imagining gallon jugs of frozen breast milk that we periodically thaw in the fridge, stashed right next to regular 2% cow milk, but with the label "Boob Juice" hand-written messily on the side with a Sharpie.

So what do I do? Do I stop breastfeeding because I don't like it? Do I continue to suffer through, because there really isn't a super good reason to quit? I need a solution, even if it one that I don't particularly care for.


  1. Sorry - I remember the feelings of the first few months, the thought of "I don't know how much longer I can do this." But, I promise, you'll be glad later. One of the often overlooked advantages to breastfeeding is the requirement for you to sit and hold your baby. It is a sweet time of rest for both of you. Besides, once he starts with the cereal, he'll require less milk from you and he'll nurse more efficiently by then too.

  2. Will I be glad later? As I look back on the months that Boy Love was breastfeeding, I would have been A-okay if he was eating strictly formula. I can remember being in class or bartending and desperately wishing that my boobs weren't so full/I wasn't soaking so many bra pads/I wasn't trying desperately to find time to pump. Will I be just as uncomfortable this time around?