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.
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.