Thursday, April 29, 2010

Job opening

The other day I saw an opening for a "Breastfeeding peer counselor."  It was only fifteen hours a week and most of it was from home on the phone.  Besides the fact that having an intelligible conversation during daylight hours is next to impossible, I was quite interested.  I thought the extra little income would be fun and what was fifteen hours?  Anyway, I began to read the requirements...and then my little extra income fantasy was shot.
The main requirement was to be excited about breast feeding.
Before I had the twins I dreamed about having my little babies and providing them with "God's perfect food" and the bonding experience that it would be.  I was so excited to nurse them.  Then they were born.  Then I had two babies attached to me eleven hours (at least) a day, plus a pump the other hours it seemed so I could have a break from them once in awhile.  I was a milk cow.  Then God showed me mercy and allowed them to get thrush at nine weeks and gave me a great excuse (at least in my own opinion) as to why I should quit.  So I did.  And look!  They are almost four years old and they have survived.  And as far as I can tell, I think their IQ scores are just fine and I don't think they have any resentment towards me for offering them Enfamil instead of breast milk - or for having a c-section for that matter (seriously people, some think kids can harbor resentment for not being born naturally...hmmmm)
Then there was Lily.  I had all the best intentions with her.  Nursing one baby would be easy.  Then I hemorrhaged after her - and secretly blamed her for at least the first bit of her life for my excruciating pain (I know, I am a horrible human being) but I still powered through all of that.  Then we moved to Montana when she was two months old.  I powered through that.  Then my husband got sick, she got thrush and I had two very needy and confused twins hanging on me.  I was done.  At nine weeks.  And as far as I can tell, she is just fine as well - but I guess we can never know until they are adults and at that time I will blame all their dysfunction on not nursing them until they were a year old.
So, then I had Will.  I counted, even anxiously waited for nine weeks when he would get thrush as well and I could quit nursing him.  But nine weeks came and went and life was pretty tame and so I continued nursing.  I thought to myself that if I could make it to six months then I would be happy and we would go to a bottle and live happily ever after.  Six months came and went.  Now we hit nine months and he gets thrush.  Are you kidding me?  NINE WEEKS WILL - NOT MONTHS!!!  Apparently he did not read the memo correctly.
So here we are.  I can't nurse anymore because I'm a wimp, I hate nursing, and as I see it, we are seven months past due for quitting.
But he won't let me.  He won't take a bottle - no matter what is in it.  He won't take a sippy cup.  He won't take a regular cup.  I am going to do a medicine syringe today and shoot it into his mouth so he can get some liquid and nutrition.  I have been so frustrated in the last week (this is only after almost a month of trying to wean him) that I have found myself in tears wrestling with a baby who is remarkably strong.
But the best part?  Women, who I'm sure feel that they are helping in providing their opinion, who tell me that breast milk is best and I can just power through thrush and teething because otherwise I'm taking away from my son.  SERIOUSLY???  I get the guilt trip at nine weeks (not really, but I will say it to keep all angry comments at bay) but at nine months?  Really?  Based on his crying and the anger that comes with it, he is more upset when I am nursing and I pull away in pain then when I offer him a bottle.  I don't frustrated.
Ok, I can't leave it alone.  Guilt trips at nine weeks even really get me furious.  There are moms who just can't do it.  Formula is there for a reason.  Breast feeding is wonderful but formula is ok too.  It is not the cure all for everything like weight loss to magic immunity...sometimes, breast feeding is such an incredible toll on the family that it's not worth it!  I have a friend (and friend, you know who you are but I won't say your name so you won't get barraged with emails telling you how wrong you are) who had a baby and has been trying her darndest to continue offering breast milk to her baby.  It's just not working.  And for almost three months she has struggled and exhausted herself to nurse while her baby has lost weight, been sick, gotten infections...but she continues to nurse because of the guilt that so many people "out of concern" have laid on her.  COME ON WOMEN!!!  Do you really think it's supportive when you guilt a mom so much or even better yet, put nursing next to godliness?  SERIOUSLY?  I don't know, call me crazy, but I think that maybe, just maybe, loving your kid while giving them a bottle full of Similac is probably more beneficial than resenting your kid or the situation while breast feeding.
Ok, just a little frustrated.  Excuse my hostility.  And you can comment about the wonderful joys of nursing and the horrors of formula if you feel necessary.  I understand.  But really, don't you think it's more important to encourage other mom's to just love their kids than to breast feed? 
So, no - I'm not going to apply for the job as peer counselor because I think I would be counter productive to what they are trying to accomplish.  And now I'm going to go get the dropper ready to feed my son who won't take anything but the boob.  I'm so excited to be a mom today, I can hardly contain myself.  Hooray.


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