Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Getting it off my Breast... err.. Chest

Sometimes I feel like having a baby makes your private life no longer private. And I don't mean the fact that the baby is with you all the time. Sure, that makes for a challenge with the intimacy, but that's really okay with me. I can meet challenges.

What I don't like is the fact that other people, strangers, suddenly feel that because they can assume you've had sex (by the fact that you're pregnant, a parent, etc) they now have the right to intrude on your whole life.

It starts with the pregnancy. People feel like they have the right to touch a woman's pregnant belly as if it were public property. I literally had to tell a man to "back off" my belly. And of course, everyone has to ask what you're having. And if you don't tell them, then they tell you. (Just for the record, everyone told me I was having a boy.)

You'd hope that they'd quit once the belly is gone, but no... they find new ways to intrude. First, they touch the baby without permission, sometimes with dirty hands, sometimes while smoking. I try to keep Kinneret away from smokers... Oh, and you gotta love the people who want to touch her while she's sleeping! Hello? Would you like it if someone decided to prod you in your sleep? She's a baby, not a puppy, for heaven's sake!
spectra breast pump
The other way that they intrude is the ever-present question of "Are you breastfeeding?"

Here's the answer: "Sorta"

Usually, I try to keep my private business, well, private, or at least off of this blog. But the situation has gotten out of hand. I'm attacked with the question so often that it just drives me bonkers.

Here's the story.

When I was in the hospital after an excellent delivery, I had little success latching Kinneret on. I tried and tried, but I never heard a swallow. Right before I was released, the lactation consultant at the hospital tried to help me, and we were able to get Kinneret on, but she didn't swallow, indicating that she didn't get any milk. The consultant told me to get a pump and pump 6-8 times a day to bring in a supply.

I tried with no success. Two nights later, I got Kinneret on, got a latch, heard a swallow, and then Kinneret started screaming so I gave her a bottle. When I got up, I saw that I was sitting in a puddle of blood. The bleeding got so bad that I went to the ER that night, and my mom and I spent the whole night there so that the doctors could stop the hemorrhage.

When I tried to nurse again, there was nothing.

Since then, I've been working with a lactation consultant, and pumping to increase the supply, but the most I've pumped in a single session is 20ml. Just for reference, Kinneret generally eats 120-160 ml of milk at a feeding. I'm still working at it, but it's just not going great.

Usually her first feeding in the morning starts with some time on me, but then she'll eat a whole feeding from a bottle after that... so go figure.

Anyway, my point is, I'm sick of people telling me all sorts of stuff about breastfeeding, because I'm sure it's wonderful if you have a body that cooperates and doesn't try to bleed itself to death and all that, but when the body just won't do the job, the whole thing is so depressing.

I comfort myself with the fact that my four older siblings were all bottle-fed back when formula wasn't nearly as well formulated and they're all doing fine. I also comfort myself with the fact that Kinneret is eating some breast milk each day.

And, when I need additional comfort, I think about the people who stick their nose in my business, and I imagine smashing my fist right into their obtrusive nose.

Ahhhh... that's better.


RaggedyMom said...

People really do have to back off when it comes to your business. But, as you are no doubt finding, it's only the beginning. You'll get comments about the things she's doing for years to come!

You're such a trooper for sticking with it to the extent that you have. I can't emphasize enough that it's remarkable that you're still trying - I doubt I would be in your place. The key is that she's eating, thriving, growing - you should have no qualms and no guilt about however things go in the future.

Kol Hakavod.

Diana said...

Sometimes instead of telling someone hands off, you can just rub there belly, and when they are confused, PUNCH THEM! That will teach them to leave you alone!

Scott Seltzer said...

Obviously we can't fault you for not trying. I know how hard you've worked and you've certainly exceeded my expectations. I can't imagine continuing so long without success.

I look forward to seeing ya'll tonight!

RR said...

Welcome to parenting in Israel, where no subject is too private or too sacred to keep strangers from meddling.

When my eldest was a baby, he was asleep in his carriage at a wedding. Suddenly, a woman I've never even met (turns out she's a friend of my in-laws) grabs the handle and tips the carriage up on 2 wheels so she can get a better look at him (luckily he didn't wake up)!

When I protested, she just smiled at me like I was an idiot. "Motek, I've got 6 children and 20 grandchildren," (or something like that). "I know from babies!"


I also got sick and tired of people asking me if I was breast-feeding. Good luck with it all!

SephardiLady said...

Goodluck with this new phase of life and hang in there.