Monday, February 2, 2015

The hard parts

In the interest of full disclosure, motherhood has been a blessing, and all the stuff I wrote last week is true. But there are some hard things, and we definitely struggled and continue to struggle in some areas. The biggest challenge for us was feeding.

I was warned that breastfeeding is hard and doesn't always work. And I thought I had prepared myself for that, but there really is no preparing yourself for it. I've said it over and over, breastfeeding is the hardest thing I've ever done.

E and I struggled a lot. I am incredibly grateful to a lactation consultant that spent hours with us and still answers my questions by email.

I know there is a lot of criticism these days about elevating breastfeeding as the ultimate standard of being a good mom. But there is no judgment from me. E and I worked hard to get it to work for us, but I also know that we could have worked that hard and still ended up switching to formula.

In the first week when every feeding was a fight, and we were supplementing, it felt like all I did was attempt to feed her, pump and sleep. At one point through tears, I looked at my mom and said, "I feel like I don't even get to enjoy her." My mom said to me, "If that's the case, then it's not worth it." And she was right. The most important thing was that E was healthy and growing, but it was also important for me to be happy. We did move past that stage of fighting quickly enough that I didn't feel like I needed to quit, but that possibility often lingered in the following weeks.

But by six weeks, E and I found our groove and 95 percent of our feedings are successful with limited crying (from either of us).

One of the best moments came a few nights ago. We've been experimenting with giving a bottle of breastmilk at night in hopes of filling her up to sleep. I was giving her the bottle, and she didn't want to take it. She wanted me and that felt like such a victory. I thought back to when she was four days old, I sobbed while giving her a bottle that she sucked down as fast as she could because she was so hungry.

Now, she's over 10 pounds with her cheeks getting chubbier by the day.