Sunday, November 11, 2012

Milk, it's not what's for dinner...

Isobel and I are in weaning mode. It broke my heart a little bit to do it. Actually a lot.  I probably wouldn't have done it but for the fact of a) she is a horrible eater and I think that her snacking on milk all day was not helping her appetite for food b) I am getting ready for an FET early next year and i need to get a mammogram sometime in December, and be ready to take meds in January and finally c) Isobel has seven cavities in her teeth and we are on a mission to get them taken care of and not exacerbate the problem.

When I had PPD I clung to my nursing relationship with Isobel. When my OB told me that I could consider take stronger and different meds for the depression / anxiety which would mean  stopping nursing and giving a bottle I was horrified. As a very new mother I felt that nursing was one of my only tools. It was something that I could do and do well. I was so determined not to take that away from Isobel or me. I know, I know that many of us have not been able to nurse or have chosen not to. If I had not been able to nurse I know I would have been okay eventually and I am sure Isobel would too. But I could. It was my secret weapon. It was my super bonding technique. It kept me sane and feeling useful and able to nurture. It was a big part of my connection. Between the horrible thoughts and anxieties of PPD,  nursing kept me sane. I did not change meds. I think I upped them a little with the help of my shrink. I organized round the clock attendants for when Susan had to be away from us and I gradually weaned myself off them when I felt stronger and more able to cope.

A couple of things really really irritated upset me about midwives and doctors and advice givers when I was pregnant / very new to motherhood. One was when people said that it didn't matter how the baby was born as long as she was born healthy. In saying that I felt that they were robbing me of my grief about not being able to do a nice sloshy water birth at home, or even an unmedicated birth at the hospital. Even though I really really wanted a c section after I realized how many complications there were, I did not want someone else to glibly take away my reaction to not having that experience. I wanted it acknowledged that it was a loss and something I had to say goodbye to. Now, after having Isobel and thanking my own intuition for avoiding something I don't want to even consider could have happened, I REALLY don't care how any baby is born to me.  What I mean by that is, that I really don't need a VBAC and would not consider one ever. I don't care. I don't want to wait 40 or 42 weeks for the baby to bake ( if we get lucky enough to have another). I would rather she / he comes at 37 or 38 weeks than starts to malinger in there when I will probably have GD or something else like that big fat fibroid that is in the same place it was before. I would never say to a new mom "oh, it doesn't matter how the baby comes, as long as it is healthy, " which is what I now think and believe. But I would never tell a mom she has to push if she doesn't want to. Pushing would not have got Isobel out, I believe that. Science got her in and science got her out. Wouldn't have worked 50 years ago but works now. In another life, I could have had an Ina May birth. Just not in this one. And I am fine with that.

The second issue is when people who don't even know you or your circumstances tell you that it's no big deal to give your baby formula. We agonized about giving Isobel a bottle when she was a day or so old and not pooping. We agreed to it. It was no big deal. I don't feel bad about it anymore at all.  i did for a while.  I would do it again if I had to. I know all about the mommy wars and the breast feeding and formula wars. But no one should make you feel bad for not wanting to give your baby formula if you don't have to. We had nurses pushing it on us night and day. Why? Not because they were worried about our baby's health. I don't think so, anyway. Because they wanted a quick fix to a problem that didn't exist. Shut the baby up, stop it crying. The baby is hungry. Give it a shot of vitamin Enfamil. Mama is tired, you sleep, I'll feed the baby and keep her away from you in the nursery. Don't worry mama, get some sleep. Are you kidding me? I went through all this to have a baby to love and nurture and you are talking about taking that baby away from me when I JUST MET HER?!!!! Which happened to us by the way. They kept Isobel in the nursery and gave a few pathetic excuses and she was up there by herself for about 2 or 3 hours shortly after she was born even when we kept asking for her. If there is a next time I will tell Susan to go into the nursery and demand the baby. This time we just kept asking the bossy nurse ( who wanted to feed her formula) what was going on and she kept fobbing us off. So no, please don't tell me that it's okay to feed my baby formula. I know it's ok. But you don't get to decide so you can feel better about yourself.

So here I am starting to wean Isobel. It was going to be a  very gradual thing until we found out about the cavities on Tuesday. We started with cutting down to nap-time ( or when I get home from work), bed-time and morning-time. Then we freaked out about the bed time nursing ( courtesy of cavity begetting night time milky mouth). So now we are still on that schedule but when I come to bed and Isobel gets in with us, I wake her for a teeth cleaning and do not offer her the boob. Except the other night, Susan woke me to say, "is Isobel nursing?" and I realized the clever girl had got on by stealth and was happily sucking away.

Nursing has been our constant for two years. Eating has not been a big success especially recently. So of course I worry that she is going to starve and / or I won't be able to soothe her. I have to admit she has been pretty game about it so far and not complained too bitterly or for too long when I have reminded her she can't have booby till bedtime or whenever the next scheduled suckling is. Except today when she wouldn't nap, or tonight when she had a melt down at a friends' house and I was caught parenting in public and not strong enough to endure a full tantrum so I gave in.

I want to give her the opportunity to be self directed and to make choices when she can. I also need to be in charge. It's hard for me to say no to her. Not when it's about safety or expedience ( like, getting into her car seat or crossing the road), but when it's about enjoyment or fun or comfort.
I feel ever so slight  relief as I leave for work so I don't have to be there to refuse her. I am on edge when I am home in the evenings, waiting for her to ask me for booby. The edge is getting less. I am focusing on helping her understand if she is hungry  and needs some food or if she wants comfort and can have  a hug. There is a lot of "kissing it better" for owies. And verbalizing. And reminding. And giving her things to look forward to that may or may not be to do with booby. And I will never ever call it booby to any baby number two. What was I thinking? That she would not mimic me and she would not cry booby booby booby in any public place she sees fit to?

So yes,  I am in a bit of a mourning phase. I am trying my best. I know it needs to be done. Maybe I will have to trade in my 2 extra cup sizes and 4  extra inches of width once I stop. Who knows. It is the least of my worries. That and my double chin that is here to stay.