Monthly Archives: January 2015

Reframing

Back at work and beginning to realized I’m going to need to seriously reframe the way that I look at my home time. Before, I looked at chores not as something that I enjoyed doing, but something that I needed to get done before I could enjoy other things. I couldn’t sit down to read a book unless I’d loaded the dishwasher, moved the laundry, tidied up a bit, things like that.

Last night, I got home from a grad school class that ran extra late around 9:30. I hadn’t pumped since 5pm, so I needed to get that set up. Before seeing myself as “unavailable” and hooked up to a breast pump for 30 minutes, I washed some dishes, started a load of laundry, took out the trash. Mostly because they needed to get done (the laundry was baby girl’s cloth diapers and she was out of clean diaper shells), but also because if I didn’t, the knowledge that I hadn’t was going to dig away at me while I pumped, like an itch I couldn’t reach. I’ve been that way since forever. I can’t sit and read on the weekends without thinking about what I have to do – I’ll typically get them done and then let myself enjoy free time. (Though, unrelatedly, free time is about to vanish)

It’s not the same with a baby. I mean, of course, no shit, right? But something about sitting on the couch, playing with a baby or rocking her in the rock ‘n’ play… in my weird brain, it feels like wasting time. Like I should be accomplishing those household tasks that are yelling at me from the edges of my brain to get accomplished. Go make some burritos for lunch this week, go clean off the counter, go take out the trash, etc… Don’t be present. Don’t make your baby walk on your stomach, don’t sing to her, go do your work.

That’s not OK for me. That not how I want to be with her, that she’s an afterthought, that I get to enjoy once chores are done. And yes, you can plop the baby in the carrier and do some work, but only if the work can be done with T-Rex arms and doesn’t involve reaching across yourself or bending over.¬†These days are precious and fast, even when they feel tedious and slow. This is even more important now that I’m back at work (ugh). I need to make keep myself present and engaged and remind myself that the things I “need” to do… I just want to get them out of the way, but doing so is prioritizing them over the baby.

And, you know, there’s plenty of time to do the dishes when the baby’s asleep.

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I’m still here.

My baby girl is twelve weeks old today. That is incredibly amazing to me. I go back to work in a week and I’m terrified. But that’s not entirely why I’m writing today. I’m writing to explain why there’s been radio silences for the past three months.

See, things have been a shitshow.

I knew parenting would be harder than I thought it would be, but it’s one of those where the abstract does not and cannot match up to practical experience. I’ve never been this tired and my heart has never been so full. But I’ve been able to cope with and work through all of that. Except for one major problem.

Nursing.

We have had issues since day 1 with getting this kid on my tits. I haven’t wanted to write anything about this because I wanted to write it with a happy ending. As it turns out, I don’t think I’m getting it. I have low supply and a daughter with flow preference for bottles who refuses to nurse. (I’ll go into all that later) I’ve spent more trying to get her to nurse and up my supply than my bill for delivery. Despite all that, it looks like I’m going to have to exclusively pump for the foreseeable future. Frankly, I’m heartbroken, but continuing to try has been hurting my relationship with my daughter and putting unneeded strain on my marriage.

I can’t help feeling like I’ve wasted all this money and all of my maternity leave to try to get her to do something she doesn’t really want to do but should be the most natural thing in the world. I’m a pretty stubborn person and I think that’s been a real problem here. It’s also entirely probable that I transferred a lot of worries about parenting to getting a solid breastfeeding relationship.

I can’t quite let it go yet. I thought we’d be able to get her solely on breastmilk in November and I had to let that go. I’m just starting to realize that this month long nursing strike may be permanent and that I just wasted even more money on a supplemental nursing system that will never get used. But maybe not. An online support group I joined talked about children who refused to nurse who suddenly want to comfort nurse at 6 months. Maybe that will happen and we can ditch formula when we introduce solid foods, I don’t know.

But yeah. Radio silence because I’ve been avoiding confronting these issues. They are messy and painful and I have cried more in the past three months than I have in the past five years. But I’m still here, my daughter is happy and healthy and I might as well start talking to the internet about things again.

So we’re going to restart posting,¬†including some of the stuff I wrote in the interim and some stuff going into the future. Because there’s a way through, even if it’s not the way I wanted to go. (parenting!)

I love all of you, but I am really not interested in your advice to get the baby to nurse, to increase my supply, about how exclusive pumping may not be that great, or how formula is the devil. Because a) take off your judgey pants, b) I have read every website on the planet about this and c) I’ve spent a lot of money on professionals to work on this. Trust me, I’ve tried it. Oatmeal? Fenugreek? Just nursing the baby? I HAVE TRIED IT. Thanks but, no, seriously, fuck off.