Something I haven’t discussed yet on my blog, but that is near and dear to my heart is breastfeeding.
Confession: I didn’t start out with great plans to breastfeed my children. I am not militant about breastfeeding the way some women are. I had planned to nurse Melanie for the 3 months I had off before returning to work, then she would get formula. I was raised on formula and turned out, well, perhaps a little left of center, but I hardly think the formula is to blame. But I digress.
As with most of my child-rearing ideas, my plan did not survive initial contact with the actual child.
Melanie was probably 9 weeks old when Adam and I figured we should start getting her used to the bottle. She wanted none of it. We tried different styles of bottle and different types of nipples. Melanie screamed at them all. We couldn’t get her to even attempt to latch on to the bottle – she just screamed around it. Loud and long she wailed.
It was a week before I was supposed to start back at work when we decided to get serious. She had to take a bottle. Adam said, “Leave me the baby and a bottle and don’t come back for 2 hours.” We made sure it was feeding time and I left.
Two hours later I got out of my car and could hear Melanie wailing from the driveway. I was halfway up the porch stairs when Adam threw open the front door and walked to meet me, wailing baby in his arms. Before I could say a word he thrust Mel at me.
“I’ve tried everything. EVERYTHING. She just won’t take it.” In 17 years of marriage I can count on one hand the number of times that I have seen Adam cry. (Even then, it’s a tear or two. He is nothing like his wife who blubbers over everything.) This was one of those times. Not going to lie, it motivated me far more than listening to Melanie cry.
We hustled into the house, I whipped off my shirt and unclipped my nursing bra in one deft move. Melanie went in for the kill and then there was blessed silence. Until my over-producing forceful-letdown breast tried to drown our daughter with milk. Then there were the usual gasping noises from the baby and a quick hustle while Adam grabbed 2 hand towels – one to mop up the baby who now had milk in her hair and up her nose from when she jerked her head off and the milk continued to flow. The other towel was for me to shove in my bra on the other side. No mere nursing pad could contain the amount of leaking that inevitably issued forth from The Other Breast.
But the main crisis was averted. Melanie was again full. Adam was not panicked. And all we had to do was sit down and figure out how to reorder the cosmos so we could afford for me to not go back to work. Easy peasy, right? Adam said then and still says now, it was completely worth it so that he wouldn’t have to feel that helpless again.
Did I start out planning to breast feed Melanie until she was a year old? Nope. But it happened anyway and I couldn’t be more grateful.