One of the quickest things I learned about having children was that even the best laid plans can go awry. Children throw a wrench in things quick. In my case, it was a lesson learned even before Beckett was born. The thought of a c-section hadn’t even crossed my mind, but a frank breech baby who refused to budge made it so.
The thought of not nursing Camden was not something I’d ever considered in all the months of my pregnancy. I had successfully nursed Beckett through her first eleven months and into the 200th percentile on height and weight. I had grown up with a mother who nursed my younger siblings and I considered there to be no other option than breastfeeding the best food nature designed. It was what I wanted, what my babies needed and was the plan.
The plan was not. The plan wasn’t for Camden to drop pounds (yes, pounds) like a wrestler trying to make weight during her first few days of life. The plan wasn’t for her jaundice to worsen towards very worrisome. The plan wasn’t to make her lethargy drop my milk supply as fast as her weight. The plan was not to go down a path that included round-the-clock supplemental feedings that would have brought on an engorging milk supply had they not been in a bottle. And, the plan was not to have a six week old, be pumping full-time and bottle-feeding breastmilk.
I miss nursing terribly and it is with weepy eyes that I write this post. We have tried lactation consultations. We have prayed. We did nights and days of skin-on-skin kangaroo care. And, we never forgot the breast. We still try in the evenings when it’s quiet or at night when Camden is drowsy and not ravenously hungry. But, it just ends up with nibbled on nipples (can you say “extreme pain”?!) and a heavy heart and teary eyes on my part.
I know that I’m still getting Camden the best nutrition there is, but I miss the snuggle time (we still have lots of this, but it’s not the “same”). I miss the lay-down nursings in bed at night. I miss the grunts, moans and sighs that come from punch drunk satisfaction at the breast. And, I miss the ease of just feeding on the go with no bottles packed up.
I think one of my earliest reality checks with the arrival of a baby was that nursing wasn’t as foolproof as I’d assumed it would be. I had always figured it to be a normal bodily function like digestion or defecation – it just happened and there was no learning needed or struggling involved. Breastfeeding is natural in every sense of the word, but there’s a learning curve and it’s steep when you have a first-time mom and a newborn involved. But, Beckett and I muddled through it and after some rough first weeks, we were successful. It took effort, patience and a determination to not give up that made it possible. And, it was a blessing.
I struggle with where to go from here. Do I keep putting Camden to the breast and risk the sense of disheartening failure I feel after we struggle? Do I call the lactation consultant again and see if she has a new trick up her sleeve that we haven’t already tried? Do I heed the advice of the La Leche League consultant and lay in bed naked with my babe for a week and do nothing but give her my breast? (Do you sense the sarcasm?) Or, do I just pray, cherish our snuggles, shelve my insecurities because I have a happy, oh-so healthy baby and remember that two years down the road – this will all be just a blip on the radar?
After all – it is what it is. And, the best laid plans do go awry. But, if my children are happy and healthy in all ways, not just physically – I’m doing the right thing and, most importantly, a good job.
Now here’s a baby gurgle giggle to lighten your day!