I think the fact that 2012 was an all time personal best for me has been made quite clear. To be honest it’s going to take a lot for another year to top it - but here’s to trying!
Amidst all the triumphant and joyous events, I did have a few not so shining moments. I feel the need to mention it now because as I reflected on everything, I realized that it hadn’t occurred to me what was going on until that moment of reflection.
I touched briefly in a earlier post about how I was ready to jump to the next thing on my checklist instead of basking in the moment. I attribute my premature cessation of breastfeeding as a direct result of my unsettled mentality.
The thing is I counted the big events as huge triumphs in my life but I did not necessarily see how much it all affected me until now. Prior to moving, we’d lived in our home for 3 years. It was a starter home but definitely very cozy. We made that place home and it felt like it. I wasn’t necessarily heartbroken to leave the house but I do feel that had I brought my baby home to that home I would have benefited from the feeling of being settled. I say that because though I was happy to move and living with my mother was a huge help, I didn’t feel settled. I was anxious about the what, when, and where of our new house. I was overly concerned about trying to get that settled feeling back. I think that contributed to what I will call my lack of due diligence in breast feeding.
Breastfeeding was relatively easy for me, it wasn’t necessarily my favorite thing to do but I enjoyed that I was able to do it and I knew my baby was getting vital nutrients. That’s all I really cared about. However, some days I felt extremely isolated. Again I attribute that to not being settled in our own home. If I was in my home with my things organized the way I wanted them where I wanted them, having to whip out the boob in the middle of the living room would not have felt so awkward. I did it any way at my mom’s house and it wasn't uncomfortable per se, but it wasn’t always the most comfortable thing for me.
Well the real issue came when my baby started to teeth early. I was an early teether so I was not shocked to find out my baby was too. However, when the teething mania started at 4 weeks old, I wasn’t necessarily prepared. In the early stages the breast soothed her and it wasn’t an issue. By three months just before the bottom teeth finally cut through we started to have some serious issues. Ava started to refuse the boob. She would scream, kick, and pull her hair. She would lay in bed and thrash about. I had no idea what to do. She refused to even look at the boob. I thought it was bizarre, as it seemed it happened over night. So I started to pump for all of her meals. Once she started using the bottle she definitely did not want anything to do with the breast.
For a while I missed her nightly feedings where she would fall into a deep breast milk induced slumber. The bottle didn’t seem to have the same effect. She would be full but wide awake. Everything I read in her age range didn’t give me any solutions. So I just gave up. I figured if she wanted the breast she’d take it. I pumped for a few weeks but my supply quickly dwindled. After the small supply I had stored in the fridge was finished she was strictly a formula fed baby. I can’t say that I was happy about it, but a part of me did feel a sense of relief ONLY because now my husband would finally be able to actively assist me with more than diaper changes. Once the formula started there was definitely a difference in her. She became hard to soothe, we dealt with constipation, and probably more troubling of all she developed eczema. She may have already been predestined to have sensitive skin but I just felt like had I continued with breast feeding it would not have developed.
Any way I blame all this on my inability to live in the moment and appreciate what I had as opposed to fixating on what I didn’t. Had I spent less time researching employers, builders, furniture stores, etc.; I would have had more time to research my baby’s issue and I would’ve found out that babies that are teething often refuse the breast because it hurts their gums and their mouths. This can be alleviated by massaging the breast prior to feeding to aid in the flow of the milk. The massage is supposed to alleviate the need for the baby to forcefully suck to bring the milk down. Now I know but unfortunately it’s too late.
I don’t beat myself up over it as much as I used to but hindsight is 20/20 and reflection is good for the soul.
Just thought I’d share.