My failure as a mammal*

Warning: This post is mostly about breasts and non-sexy breast related topics.

The breast nazis who inhabit maternity wards make it very clear that the way to bond with your child is to put him to your breast early and often, skin to skin, staring deeply into his eyes while doing so. If you do not do this, and do it the moment he's born, there's every chance it will take much longer to fall in love with your baby. Also, he'll get too many ear infections, get fat later in life and won't get into a good college. (Did I miss anything?)

I suck at breastfeeding. Well, Kurt and I collectively suck at it (purposefully avoiding puns here…insert them as you see fit) and pretty much have since the day we met. Six weeks, two lactation consultants, eleven baby books and several hundred dollars worth of equipment to facilitate/enhance the experience later, I can admit this. He was not latching well at the beginning, and when he got jaundiced in the hospital and consequently was very lethargic and lazy, the nurses reluctantly started formula feeding him on our doctor's orders. After that, we just never really got it together and recently, I was forced to conclude that the magic just isn't going to happen. In the past six weeks, breastfeeding has been the quickest route to a tense baby and a tense mommy.

It's not like he isn't getting any breast milk. I pump frequently and give him everything I've got, which sometimes is enough to keep up with his appetite, sometimes not. When he needs more, he gets formula. Naturally, because the breastfeeding has gone so poorly for us, I am disappointed.

I am not disappointed that I've been denied the opportunity to bond with my child, because I feel fully ready to jump in front of a bus for him. Nor do I feel less girly. And as far as his IQ is concerned, my husband summed it up best: "Honey, I was formula fed and I'm a genius." No, I am disappointed because if hostile space aliens sweep over the globe with their superior aircraft and bomb all the cities and Kurt and I have to crawl out of the rubble and go live underground with the rest of the plucky survivors, I won't be able to feed him without the aid of technology, as nature intended.

Is this absurd? Yes, and not just because as we all know hostile space aliens would not take over the planet by blowing up all the infrastructure when they could quietly live among us and gradually take power by influencing industry and politics. It's absurd because Kurt would not exist without the aid of technology. He was conceived in a doctor's office and delivered by c-section. So I long ago lost any right to claim reproductive fitness. Clearly, nature didn't think I should make the cut and did everything it could do to stop me. However, my baby is healthy and beautiful, so to nature I say, "Ha! In your face!"

Now, that said, he was a bit under the weather yesterday because he got his first round of shots. So even though we've been getting a number of dorky/wry smiles from him this week, he was a sad little valentine last night.

*Another genius line ripped and taken out of context from Max Krasnow.

5 thoughts on “My failure as a mammal*”

  1. I suck at breastfeeding too. I did it, and hated it, with nine months with kid #1. I made it 6 weeks with kid #2. You are doing an amazing thing pumping for him, and I’m very impressed. Plenty of formula fed babies grouw up just fine. And I think my kid is better off because I’m not a miserable mommy! And no, the aliens will not blow up the planet before Kurt’s first birthday. I promise.


  2. That baby is very photogenic! He’s so cute, in one picture he looks like jeff, and then in the next he looks like jayne! You guys are doing a great job, he looks very healthy. Shots are a hard thing to go through with babies, he will and you will be okay, you have so many people praying and being happy for you, he’s bound to be a smart and good looking boy! love ya…anne


  3. Sawyer sucked at it, Luke was great at it. Totally depends on the kid, apparently.As you know, I was a full-time pumper with Sawyer for 5 months or so — totally doable. If you have a chance to borrow a hospital grade pump from work (or use a hospital grade pump in the hospital when you’re working but use your own at home), that will help with the milk supply. Those hospital grade pumps have some extra oomph to them!


  4. stop focusing on what you can’t do. enjoy the baby. he is here right now and SO WHAT if he does formula-its the love that counts and you guys have got that part down!!!!!! janet


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