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Product In, Product Out - Part One

There are two things in my life right now that are unpleasant and inextricably linked: nursing and diapers.

 

Let’s start with “product in.”  I hate nursing.  I really, truly do.  I have to admit that it has actually gotten easier as she’s figured things out, but it’s still annoying at best.  “Why?”  I hear you ask.  Well, since you were wondering…

To begin with, she’s still a slooooow diner.  So sitting down to nurse her is a huge commitment of time, and believe me – you can’t cut her off partway.  She wants what she wants, and she wants it now, in its entirety.  If you try to give her a snack to calm her down and then move on to say, make dinner?  It gets louder.  When you add thirty minutes of pumping after the feeding, it’s well over an hour at best.

She’s irritatingly loud.  She grunts, she smacks, she squeals, she complains, she comments.  She does everything except wave a big neon sign saying “look – breasts!”  This is one of the reasons that I don’t try to nurse out of the house.  Another one is her habit of spitting it out, yelling that she doesn’t have it anymore, and then looking for it again.  It’s dinner and a show.  Dinner for her, a show for everyone else.  Very off-putting in front of anyone.

She dribbles.  I have to keep a diaper or spit cloth under her head while I nurse, or she dribbles into my bra.  Ick.

Then there is the physical sensation.  Nursing doesn’t feel good.  It’s not that it hurts.  It just feels bad.  It leaves me over sensitive All The Time.  You try walking around while trying to prevent your shirt from touching your chest.  Go ahead – try it.  I’ll wait.

Back?  Yeah – it didn’t work very well, did it?  That (pardon the expression) sucks.  Especially since I can’t stand the sensation of my bra touching the parts in question.  At best, I feel oversensitive (that’s the word I’m sticking to) all the time, and a chunk of the time there’s also a deep aching soreness.  Kind of like an old, deep bruise.

As if this wasn’t all enough fun, we can’t forget the pump.  I hate the pump, too.  On the bright side, it’s predictable.  It doesn’t fuss or pull or change its mind.  But again – the sensation is icky, and it’s loud.  Also, ten minutes into a pumping session she invariably melts down because I can’t let go.  This is the icing on the cake called “are we sure you’re done, and can I pump yet?”  Trying to get the timing right is awful.  I’ve missed pumping because by the time I was sure she wasn’t going to want to nurse some more, I was too close to the next nursing session to pump.  Not to mention the whole thing is vaguely humiliating – there is nothing gracious about sitting and holding a pair of suction cups on your boobs while attached to a vacuum cleaner.  I’m occasionally tempted to give up dairy out of solidarity for the cows.

True story: I was sitting down to pump, and turned on the TV because it’s really hard to pump and read at the same time – not enough hands (you need a hand for each suction device.)  Turned to the Discovery Channel, and “Dirty Jobs” was on.  Great!  It was the segment at the dairy farm, and I tuned in just as the employee was describing the cows’ let-down reflex using the same phrases and terminology I’d just read in the breastfeeding book – all in preparation for putting on the suction tubes.  I changed the channel.  I couldn’t face it just then.

Everyone says how glad they were that they nursed, that it was fulfilling, that it was the best thing they’ve ever done, etc., etc.  I just can’t agree.  I’m doing it for what I think are a bevy of good reasons, but I don’t enjoy it.  I much prefer giving her expressed milk in a bottle, but for the moment I’m cast in the role of dairy animal.  By my own choice I’m stuck with this for another ten months if I can make it happen.  I’ll do it, but let’s not fool ourselves that I’m doing anything but tolerating it.

Moo.

 

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Comments

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
golden_meliades
Nov. 25th, 2008 10:58 pm (UTC)
Yeah, my dad when I was little said that of COURSE I would nurse if I had kids because it's natural and right and blah blah add on all the offensive crap here. Sure, I know nursing is better for the baby's intelligence later in life and so on. But I agree...it makes me think of cows. I'm not a damn cow. I'm not food. Not even if in some aspects I'm supposed to be. To me I can't imagine it feeling anything but unnatural and a bit degrading.

Still, some people DO love it, and I hear it really helps the metabolism and promotes weight loss after pregnancy. That would be one benefit I could actually appreciate actively.
golden_meliades
Nov. 25th, 2008 11:06 pm (UTC)
PS: For the record, I'm always hoping you have more positive feelings towards babies and all things baby related than I do. However, the world is amply represented by people who love babies, so I'm around to represent the apparently rather scary minority. Sometimes when having a baby just sucks, it's nice to have someone around who isn't the least bit shocked or alarmed by the full extent of said suckage.

Or that's how I'd feel, anyway.
kls_eloise
Nov. 25th, 2008 11:11 pm (UTC)
You and me both. Although I'm coming to the conclusion that it's all a vast PR whitewash, and no one admits the truth until you're "in the club."
golden_meliades
Nov. 25th, 2008 11:33 pm (UTC)
Yeah, like a dirty little secret that no one will confess to unless you've been sworn in or something. :) I think it's just bred in; we're supposed to be encouraged to have babies and to believe that if we are actually rather repulsed by it we're not quite natural or normal and ought to get an attitude adjustment.

Honestly I can get very resentful. I actually enjoy seeing people who enjoy their kids...my best is going to have her first baby any day now and I think it's sweet that she's so excited by all of it. I bought her 2 sessions of baby massage (a person comes to your home and teaches you how to perform infant massage on your own baby) because that's the kind of thing she'd like...bonding with her baby for minutes or even hours, just touching his cute little baby body. I think that's great. I'm happy for her and no joke.

I just get really angry if anyone suggests (and all of society seems to suggest it relentlessly) that *I* am unnatural and creepy and unwomanly if I'd rather amputate a hand than have to deal with any of it MYSELF.
kls_eloise
Nov. 26th, 2008 05:07 pm (UTC)
"Yeah, like a dirty little secret that no one will confess to unless you've been sworn in or something."

Exactly! I think we'll all be fine, I've just never been hugely thrilled about babies, and apparently I'm still not. But this is temporary. All sorts of different stuff is still coming.

That's a really neat gift - I bet she'll love it.

"I just get really angry if anyone suggests...that *I* am unnatural and creepy and unwomanly if I'd rather amputate a hand than have to deal with any of it MYSELF."

It IS relentless, isn't it? "Are you seeing anyone" going immediately to "When are you going to get married," and when you do it becomes immediately "When are you going to have kids?" I know lots of couples who don't have children and never intended to, and they're constantly asked why not. People don't ask couples with children why they *did*. What's with that?

I believe that on a species level biology is destiny, but on anything finer than that - everyone is different. The assumption that I was just dying to hold someone's baby always irritated me. It probably still will.
galingale
Nov. 26th, 2008 03:19 pm (UTC)
There's another really non-emotional reason for breastfeeding: control of the content. I'll be blogging this when I can find words that won't trigger every spam filter at Honeywell. I'm furious.

FDA finds traces of melamine in US infant formula - Yahoo! News
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081126/ap_on_he_me/infant_formula

But as for product-in...it sounds like she's still actually hurting you, which is supposed to go away after the first few weeks (did for me, thankfully). I know you disliked the lc @ the hospital ... I wonder if there isn't someone else you could talk to whose personality would be a better match. A friend up at UConn ran her La Leche League group...she's a hoot of a woman and on the practical side, maybe a better match if I could figure out a way to get you guys to meet up with half a friggin' state in between.

Hopefully the I-love-milk baby will grow into an I-love-food baby...I'll keep my fingers crossed that it means you've lucked out and gotten a kid who'll happily try every weird food you put in front of her.

(I actually use the word "weird" when giving Victoria things like liver that kids aren't "supposed" to like. I say "Hey, want to try something weird!?" and act all excited. So far so good. I got the idea from Kitchen Confidential...Tony Bourdain first tried raw oysters because he saw that he could gross out his parents & brother.)

Your Dirty Jobs coincidence cracked me up... I had to minimize quickly because I was convinced someone would be asking what I was reading!
kls_eloise
Nov. 26th, 2008 05:13 pm (UTC)
Six nurses, a lactation consultant, a LLL leader... Everyone seems to focus on "once you get her to latch correctly it will all be magically fine." Then they look, tell me her latch is "perfect" and say to keep with it, it will all become wonderful at some point in the future. I'm thinking this is one of those idiosyncratic things. Some people can't stand the sensation of having their feet touched, I can't stand this one (trying to be kind to the filters.)

I'll worry about foods when we get there, and try to remember how my mom dealt with my childhood food prejudices. I'm still a fairly picky eater, so who knows.
oocdc2
Nov. 26th, 2008 03:21 pm (UTC)
Pumping after nursing? Is that to build up your milk supply for when you go back to work?
kls_eloise
Nov. 26th, 2008 05:16 pm (UTC)
Yep. It's the one piece of good, useful advice I've gotten. The only person at work I know who successfully nursed exclusively for a year suggested it. She said to pump after every nursing, and to start as soon as we got home from the hospital. I've been doing that faithfully, and we have a nice stash in the freezer. Time will tell how it goes after I'm back at work.
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