Lucien is six months old, yay! But this post is about my boobs.
Six months was my outset goal for breastfeeding. Oh my god, you guys. I heard all the things that any mom-to-be hears — mama’s milk is best, it doesn’t work out for everyone, don’t beat yourself up but you’re a bad mother if you don’t even try. I wanted to try, go with the flow, and if it didn’t flow, we’d figure it out. I had this quaint notion that I’d be nursing on leave and start pumping when I went to work, with the exception of building my stash — as an inveterate overachiever I would have an awe-inspiring stockpile of frozen milk for my perfect baby from my powerful boobs.
With Lucien premature, I didn’t have a golden hour of snuggles and adorable baby bird first sips. I had about 10 seconds of him against my heart before he struggled to breathe and was whisked away. With him in the NICU — and me banned from seeing him due to a cold — I didn’t start nursing till several days in. Five hours after giving birth, I was on the pump — and I was on that pump every three hours, day and night, for months. For all I read about breastfeeding, I’d never heard of triple feeding — where you nurse, follow it up with a bottle of expressed milk, and then pump to produce the bottle for the next feeding. With Louie not on the WHO weight chart till two months old (and needing all the calories he could get), triple feeding became my (miserable) life.
I will spare you the gory details of a crap latch, clogged ducts and the hallucinatory fractured sleep of the first few months. I had milk to spare — to freeze — I think only six times, barely a day’s supply. The rest went immediately into my voracious kid, and I struggled for months to keep up.
Now, things are… fine.
We occasionally supplement with formula and that’s also fine. Overall I’ve been amazed at how my body adjusts to demand. My return to work in February almost vanquished nursing — pumping at work sucked, man — but then C-19 happened and I’ve been teleworking for months, happily nursing and pumping at home.
Well, “happily” is an overstatement. Pumping is a major pain. I will be thrilled to drop kick that torture device into a dumpster. As it is, Lucien is cutting his first tooth. He’ll be starting big boy food this week. Over the coming months, mama’s milk will take a backseat to sweet potatoes, avocado, peaches and beans, oh my!
My heart swells with how far he’s come… and me, too. I did it. I DID IT.
I had no idea what I was getting into, and it was hard as hell, and I did it.
I can’t separate the glow and bond of being a mom from whatever glorious, complicated layer nursing adds on. But it’s some powerful, primal stuff — months of moments I will never forget, the way he looks at me when snuggled so close.
I don’t know if I have another six months in me. Doesn’t matter. I made it. I made HIM, from the moment of conception to this morning’s feed. And I am so so proud of us.
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