To be clear, I didn’t always hate it. Now that he’s 2-1/2 years old though it’s gotten pretty old.
I was listening to EW Weekly Radio yesterday, they were interviewing Ricki Lake about a documentary called “Breastmilk” that explores all the different choices new mothers have to make, why society seems to think (still) that breastfeeding in public should be taboo, whether a woman’s experiences with other mothers in her family influence her choice about whether to breastfeed or not. From what she was saying on the radio I think that a new mother’s experience in hospital after giving birth is very different in the U.S. than it is in Canada. Ms. Lake was talking about how women automatically get their babies taken to the nursery without the chance to feed or sometimes even hold them, she was saying that women need to learn to speak up and let their feelings known and that hospitals need to start to educate the mother on her options and then listen to her when she makes a decision.
When my babies were born they were assessed and weighed (in the same room as me) and then given right back to me. I lay in the delivery room and nursed Big Boy for over an hour the day he was born. Little Man and I had some issues, the hospital wouldn’t let me nurse him due to their policy regarding diabetic mothers and babies born over 9 lbs. (They pushed back my induction by one day, he was born at 9 lbs, 1 oz so I completely blame them for all my breastfeeding woes!) They did let me hold him for about 20 minutes and then they took him to the nursery and fed him from a bottle! Little did I know then how screwed up that would make my life.
Big Boy was a fantastic eater, I’m pretty sure that we spent the first three months of his life laying in bed together. He would eat and then sleep (only as long as I was holding him though) while I watched daytime television and played computer games (thank goodness for laptops and extension cords!) By the time he was eight months old I was pregnant again and right around when I started my second trimester he decided that he was ready to start drinking real milk from a bottle. I’m guessing that some sort of pregnancy hormone changed my milk somehow and he no longer found it as enjoyable. Good news for me, I got a bit of a break before the next one started!
Once Little Man got a taste of the formula I had a really hard time trying to keep him full of breastmilk. The poor kid screamed for two weeks after we brought him home until we figured out that he was hungry. He spent four months being supplemented by formula which just about broke my heart. I felt like I had failed him and after having such an easy time with the first one I had no idea what to do to fix it!
Fast forward 2-1/2 years and the little bugger won’t stop! I rarely can sit on the couch without him coming over and ripping my shirt aside to find what it is he’s looking for. My mother laughs, she thinks it’s funny. My husband gets upset, he thinks that I should find a pill to sour my milk so it’s not so delectable. I agree with both of them.
It’s lovely to hold a tiny newborn to your breast and know that you are giving them everything they need in the world. It’s quite another thing to have a squirmy toddler sucking away while simultaneously trying to watch television and race a Matchbox car up and down your arm! I have had my boobs twisted, turned, squeezed and prodded so much that I’m not surprised they seem to have gone into hiding.
The silly kid even knows (sort of) that what he’s doing is unnecessary. I’ve tried to tell him that he’s much too big, I’ve tried to take him to bed every time he wants to nurse, I’ve tried holding him so tight that he gets uncomfortable, I’ve tried tickling him to distract him. Nothing has worked. He’ll lay there for a few minutes and then stick his head up, poke me in the boob and say, “Empty Mommy” then he’ll shift himself over to the other side and try that one!
I’m sure that he’s not getting any nutritional value from it and most times he doesn’t seem to get much comfort from it, it’s just something for him to do. I have decided that I must find and purchase a brassiere made out of steel so that he can be thwarted in his attempts to expose me to the world! Perhaps I will start making and selling them to all the women who find themselves in the same situation (if there are any, I feel very much like a freak sometimes!) I remember when he was young I would feel so happy when he was nursing, after having a rough start at it our eventual success was especially sweet. Now there’s a good portion of resentment mixed in and I really don’t want to feel that in any respect towards my boys. I guess I’ll have to start doing some research on how to stop him, especially since getting pregnant again isn’t an option. I’m glad that there’s at least one thing that he prefers me over his dad for, but I really thought that after all this time I would have full ownership of my girls back.
One day though, they will be mine. Mine to encase in a lacy piece of lingerie rather than a utilitarian nursing garment, mine to (hopefully!) have return to their former shape and size (perkiness would be a bonus but I’m not banking on it!), mine to enjoy my husband’s soft caress rather than dread the toddler maul, and mine to have mark me as a woman rather than a Jersey cow!