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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.





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."
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.
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.