Breastfeeding Judgement

Over Memorial Day weekend, we went to my in-laws for dinner and to hang out with family.  Our original plan was to hang out there during the day and then for the boys to spend the night there, and for J and I to have some nice adult time together that evening.

In all of our haste to get out the door on time, we forgot to pack the cooler of breast milk for Benjamin.  So, J ended up driving 45 minutes home to pack it up, and then driving 45 minutes back to his parent’s house.  When we realized we forgot it, several people tried to tell us that Benjamin didn’t need it, and we shouldn’t worry about.  J and I ignored those comments, and J headed home to get the milk.

During the time that he was gone I was asked by 5 different people (mother-in-law, father-in-law, paternal grandfather and grandmother in-law, maternal grandmother-in-law) how long I was going to breastfeed Benjamin.  Each time, I gave the same answer: “well, I nursed Henry until he was two, so I think I’ll try to do the same thing for Ben.”  Each time I’d get a “harrumph” in response.

A little while later, while J was still gone, I overheard my FIL, and GFIL talking about how it’s wrong of me to continue to breastfeed my son this long.  That it’s gross, that I should get over myself and just stop.  That I’m doing it more for me than for my son.   They even went so far to say that I was having a “junior moment,” whatever that means.  Best I can tell, I think they meant that my arrogance and shortsightedness are getting in the way of me seeing what the “right” choice is.  They were talking about me and my choices across the table from me, and never once thought to include me in the discussion.  I knew that if I piped in, that it would only end up in an argument.  But as I sat there, feeling ostracized and judged, I seriously thought about packing both my boys up and leaving.  If J and the car had been there, I might have.

I comprehend that they don’t understand my choice, but they damn well should respect it, and me.  I don’t understand why they can’t see how well Henry is doing, and how healthy and strong he is.  I’m not saying it’s all from breastfeeding, but I think it played a part.  Why can’t they see how well Benjamin is doing, and factor the same things in?  Why can’t they do a modicum of research to see that breastfeeding can make a difference in Crohn’s Disease, which runs rampant on that side of my family.  Why do they continue to judge me and find my decisions lacking?

Hypocrite 

Yesterday on facebook I shared an article from Scary Mommy about the reality of a working and breastfeeding mom and how that reality is at best difficult, and at worst fucking awful. It hit very close to home for me. I’ve worked full time with both of my boys and I’ve had to pump milk for both of them while I’ve been at work. Having to worry because you’re sitting next to doors that don’t lock and anyone could come and open it and see you pumping in a storage closet. It’s so hard for me to relax enough to get my milk to let down when I’m constantly hearing door knobs rattle, while I loudly shout “occupied!”
Anyway, back with my first kid, I had to drive 5 minutes down the road to another building to pump milk for my son. So, what should have taken my 30 minutes (set up, 20 minutes to pump, and break down), ended up taking closer to 45 because of traveling, and I had to do that 3 times a day (one of those was my lunch break though). Anyway, my employers – WHO WERE MY INLAWS didn’t like how much time time it was taking away from my desk (despite the fact that I got my work done anyway) and they wanted me to either stay late, or come in on Saturdays to make up the time I spent pumping during the week.  

I was already working from 8-5 anyway, and had to leave no later than 5:30 because Henry’s daycare closed at 6:00. Which meant that I needed to spend half my Saturday at work – away from my kid – who I then had to pump for…..the cycle was endless and it caused major tension between my inlaws and myself – still to this day.

Anyway, back to the article I posted, my MIL had the nerve to comment “I admire how strong you are about this. I wish I had your strength!”  

I saw that comment and my blood started to boil. The rage that I felt was instantaneous. How dare you say that after the absolute hell you put me though when I was trying to feed your grandson! You only think it’s admirable when it doesn’t affect you! The moment you were the slightlest bit inconvenienced you wanted me to stop because you think breastfeeding is gross and a waste of time, and that I should have just gotten over myself and formula fed.

How hypocritical can you be?

I want to delete the comment, but I know it would only cause tensions to become worse. Even though it’s been just about 4 years since I’ve stopped pumping for Henry, I’m still angry, sore, upset, and hurt over how they treated me. And situations like this don’t help me get over it any faster.

Mastitis…

I think I’ve had my first case of mastitis. I noticed at work yesterday that I had a plugged duct, so I knew that I’d need to nurse Ben a little more to help get it unclogged. However, around noonish, my body was really starting to hurt. I was having major aches and pains, chills, followed by body sweats. At one point I literally had sweat running down my back and the entire underside of my hair was drenched.
I barely made it to the end of the day, but I went home and put a heating pad on my lower back, which felt really good. I tried to nurse Ben a few times on the affected side (right side), and each time it helped.  

Around dinner time, I hit a major fever. My body felt unbelievably hot, I don’t think I’ve ever felt that hot before. I skipped dinner, because I just couldn’t eat, and instead napped on the sofa with my heating pad.  

Somehow I found the strength to make it up stairs and was able to lie down. I kept oscillating between sweating profusely and freezing.    

I managed to nurse Ben for bedtime, which helped my breast feel so much better. I managed to take 3 ibuprofen, took my temp which was 103.4 and then I went and passed out in bed. 

Ben woke up a little while later, which is abnormal for him, and when he woke up, I got up to go to the bathroom, and I noticed that I had completely sweated through my clothes, as in tank top and flannel pants stuck to me. My sheets and pillow were also soaked through. My hair was completely wet and plastered to my head. Ben managed to put himself back to sleep, and I dried myself off as best I could. And, then I went back to bed.  

Ben woke up again at 12:20, and I got up to nurse him, and again I felt better afterward.  

While pumping at work today, I only got half of what I usually do out of my breast, and I noticed that I have red marks and spots that look almost like bruises. I called my midwife’s office to ask their opinion and they’re calling in a round of antibiotics for me. I’m really hoping that it starts to work soon…This shit is beyond painful.

Pity Party

I feel so unmotivated. Mostly because even when I do stick to my workout goals and calorie restriction, it doesn’t do any good.
I didn’t post a Weekly Weigh-In Thursday last week because I gained weight. And, I was so upset and felt defeated that I couldn’t even bring myself to record it. I still feel defeated. I need to come up with a fitness plan, and meal plan that fits my life, and I’m STRUGGLING with that.

I hate the weight I am right now. I feel ugly, fat and uncomfortable in my own skin. I hate looking at pictures of myself because I think I look like a blob, a blob with 3 chins. I don’t want to take pictures with my kids/husband because they always show (incredibly accurately) how fat I am.

As a working mother of two, I do not have time to exercise more than 3-4 times a week. But, all of the fitness programs that I like are 6 day a week programs(T25, Insanity, Piyo). So, when I fall behind because I literally got less than 3 hours of sleep, or had to take my baby to the emergency room, or have a 4 year old who’s crying because he wants me to spend time with him and not go upstairs to uselessly jump around, I feel guilty for missing those stupid workouts. I feel like a failure, because I should be able to devote 30 minutes a day to me, but it doesn’t ever happen. In my household, I always come last.

And on top of that breastfeeding makes me HUNGRY! I want to continually stuff my face because I feel like I’m starving. I’m not, but I feel like I am. So, when we have leftover cupcakes from baking for Henry’s class, I eat them, and then want to cry because I stuffed my face once again. Showing once again just how much of a failure I am.  

I feel defeated. I feel ugly. I feel fat. And, I don’t know how to fix it.

Month 7

Dear Benjamin,
You are now 7 months old! I can hardly believe how big you are and how much you’re growing. Babyhood really does fly by, and while I’m a teensy bit sad that time is flying by so much, I’m also amazed at the little boy you’re becoming. You’re one incredible little boy. You smile, talk, laugh, and chuckle all the time. You really are a very happy baby. That’s not to say that you never cry, you do. You have a really solid pair of lungs on you, and you know how to use them. You have three big triggers for crying: 1. Being tired, 2: being hungry, and 3: tummy time. Of course you cry at other times, but these are the biggies.


You are doing so well on solid foods! You will pick up and eat just about anything we put on your mat. The other night you had refried beans and avocado – we were all eating tacos/taco salads, and you just dived in, and you looked adorable with refried beans smeared all over your sweet little face. You love crackers and pretzels, and we’ve noticed that if you’re getting antsy and bored, if we give you food to suck/chew on, you’ll be a happy camper for a solid 5 minutes. You dad keeps saying that you’re very food motivated.     


This past month you got your first major sickness. On Sunday, January 1, you developed a lot of congestion – like a lot, and it seemed like it came out of nowhere. On Monday, you developed a fever, and on Tuesday morning you were crying, unhappy and not nursing well, so your Gram took you to the doctor. I was thinking that you had signs of an ear infection, but the Doc said that your ears were clear and it just looked like a virus. So, you came home, and we treated your symptoms (saline, suction and fever reducer) and just tried to make you more comfortable. As the days wore on, you just seemed to get worse and worse. Your fever was hovering at over 103 without a fever reducer, and only came down around 101 with one. You became so lethargic, and were just pitiful looking, and by Wednesday night I decided you were going back to the peds the very next day.


I was literally in tears in the waiting room because I was sure they were going to send us to the emergency room with you. Your breathing was labored because of your severe congestion, you weren’t nursing well at all anymore, and I was having to pump to keep my supply up, and you looked like a rag doll with how lethargic you were…I was so worried about you. We were at that doctor’s office for over 3 hours. They tested you for RSV (which came back positive), they tested your pulse ox (which was around 94), they tested your white count (28,000). They gave you tylenol in the office. Then the Doctor came in and thoroughly looked you over. For most of the exam you were in my arms asleep, and the doctor was kind enough to keep you there while she listened to your lungs and heart, and peeked in your ears (and of course you had a double ear infection). They decided that they were going to give you two shots of an antibiotic, one in each leg, and then have you come back the next day to see how you were doing. I got a phone call from the doctor that night to make sure you were doing fine. She was also kind enough to give us a print out of everything they did and results in case you needed to go to the ER over the night. 

By the next day, you had perked up a lot. You were still pretty sick, but you had moments of your happy self that was shining through. You were then started on a 10 day course of a strong antibiotic for your ears. I can’t tell you how relieved I am that you’re better. I hate it when you’re sick. 


Your Dad and I have started to sleep train you…at least we’re trying. We need to be more consistent with it, but consistency is really hard to do at 3:00 in the morning. The good news is that we pretty much (knock on wood) have it so that we can lay you down and walk away at night. I’ll nurse you to sleep, but you usually always wake up from transitioning you from the rocking chair to the crib. But now we can lay you down, cover you with your blankets and walk away, and you’ll put yourself to sleep. Middle of the night doesn’t go so smoothly. I’m hoping that you will learn to sleep completely through the night soon….


You’re sitting up really well, and you’re getting better at tummy time every day. You’re tolerating it more and more, and I have seen you start to try to get your knees up under you too, which is awesome! You still haven’t rolled over from your back to your tummy yet, and I’m hoping that it’s just around the corner. Your pediatrician did say that if you haven’t done it by your nine month appointment they’ll look into getting you physical therapy like your brother had.


I think that you are one amazing little boy. I love every moment that I get to snuggle and cuddle you and hold you close. You are my light, my love and I’m so happy that I get to watch you grow up. You mean the world to me, and you always will.


Love,

Momma  

Month 6

Dear Benjamin,

You are now 6 months old!  Holy crap where has the time gone!  My brain is literally having trouble coming to terms that you are already half of a year old.  I just can’t fathom it, it really doesn’t want to compute….

A lot of has happened this month.  You celebrated your first Christmas and Hanukkah this year!  Christmas this year was kind of a let down.  Our whole family (me, dad, Henry, Gram, Bubby, Aunt Jenn and Aunt Jess) all got a horrible stomach bug, and were unable to open gifts or do much of anything except run to the bathroom to throw up, or…yeah.  Dude, taking care of a baby while having a vicious stomach bug is seriously hard.  I think your Dad and I deserve Parent Merit Badges for it.  We took 1.5 hour shifts, so while one was sleeping for 1.5 hours, the other would be taking care of you.  Thankfully, it was relatively short lived, and we were mostly able to open gifts on Christmas evening.  You don’t really comprehend this whole gift thing yet, but I’m sure it’ll be no time before you’re ready to dive into your presents.  Right now you seem to be having more fun playing with the paper than the actual gift inside…sigh.  But, you do look super cute in your yarmulke!

You’ve officially started to say “mama” and “dada.”  Your dad and I can’t be sure if you’re saying just a bunch of random syllables, or if you actually know the meaning behind those sounds, so we’re not ready yet to say they’re first words.  I do love hearing you say “mama” though, it melts my heart.

You officially have your first tooth!  It’s barely poking through your bottom gum right now, but it’s there, shiny and white and sharp as can be.  Seriously, I feel like I blink and you’re reaching another milestone and getting older!  Slow down!  I can’t keep up!

We’ve introduced you to solid foods, and you are loving it!  We’ve delved right into table food, just like we did with your brother.   The other night you had some blueberry french toast, minus the syrup (meant for Christmas morning, but we were too sick to eat it) and my goodness you gobbled it down!  Last night you ate some penne pasta for dinner and really seemed to like that as well.  So, we’ll just keep going like we’re going!

Nursing has been a lot smoother since you’ve had your tongue tie and lip tie revision.  You’re not chewing as your nurse anymore (thank goodness), and we’re not having near as many latch issues as we use to.  You’ve also started to become more and more efficient.  What use to take you 45+ minutes now only seems to take you 15-30 or so, which is awesome!  The one thing that hasn’t changed is that you still take a while to nurse to sleep at night.  I’ll usually start at 7:45, and lately it’s taken us until after 10:00 for you to go to sleep.  You fight sleep at every turn.

We went clothes shopping for you the other day.  We can no longer put you in Henry’s hand-me-downs because you’re in 9-12 month clothes, and all of Henry’s old clothes that size are for spring and summer.  So, we went and stocked you up on jammies, and cute little outfits that will keep you warm this winter.  You’re going to be one stylish little man.

As far as sleep is concerned, I wish I could say that you slept as well as you did when you were a newborn, but you don’t.  You wake up at least once a night, and up to 3 or 4 times a night.  We haven’t done any sleep training with you like we did with Henry, but unless things start to improve soon, it’s coming.  I’m hoping the more solids you eat, the longer you’ll sleep.  But, eventually we’ll need to cut out your middle of the night nursing session.  For now, it’s just the easiest way to get you to go back to sleep.

You’re usually such a happy little guy, full of smiles and you’re quick to chuckle.  You love to snuggle, but you’re also perfectly fine to play on your own.  I love watching discover everything.  The older you get the more you become desensitized to life, but watching you take such just in watching trees out the car window, or be enamored with a stalk of broccoli, it brings the wonder of the world back to me as well.

I love you so much Benjamin.  You are my light, my reason and my joy.  I hope your keep that wonder as long as possible, and I’ll try my best to help you.

Momma