Ever since I got preggers I’ve assumed I will be breastfeeding, but I never thought about how long, or how am I going to balance latching and pumping. I just assumed it will come naturally.
Then throughout my 66 or so hours in hospital during and post delivery, I was constantly bombarded by pamphlets saying breast is best and lactation consultants rushing into my room to moment I said “get me a bottle of formula because I can’t bear the heartache of looking at my hungry crying baby anymore”. Yet the nurse in the nursery is allowed to feed my baby formula based on “doctor’s instructions” (read: doctor’s RECOMMENDATIONS, not instructions) despite me indicating exclusive breastfeeding, thank you very much. Of course I went berserk and cried my heart out for my poor baby who would never have virgin gut again.
Then came the day after I was discharged and happily feeding baby whenever she cried for milk, which was more and more frequent as the day passes till she was basiclly stuck to me like a leech and getting more and more jaundiced. She gets whisked to hospital and what do you know, jaundice level was completely under control and no phototherapy even necessary but they sent her for it anyway because she has a psycho mum.
Then came the struggling with supplemental nursing system, finger feeding, wide neck bottles of expressed milk (which was fiercely rejected by week 6 or so) and all sorts of breastfeeding woes that I constantly felt I was hanging on by the skin of my teeth to provide milk to my milk drinking machine. Ok granted, I should be thankful that I had no cracked, bleeding nipples, mastitis or even blocked duct and yes yes that means I have no right to complain but I do because Sophia was enjoying latching so much she was just constantly at it and I was constantly feeling like I don’t have enough milk for her.
Then, somewhere in between the cries and the frustration, I somehow found myself staring at thunder thighs and double chins and realised baby girl is having lots to drink. Hark I even achieved oversupply of a bottle a day which eventually filled up an entire mini freezer. Those thoughts about me being a poor specimen of a woman (what with needing a c-section and not being able to breastfeed and knocking baby on the head within the first week and goodness knows what other mothering boo boo I’ve committed) are finally quashed, at least with regards to the feeding part.
Now that I’m sort of on a roll, the question then is when to stop. I’ve been asked the question so many times. Now that Sophia is drinking ebm from a bottle its really up to me I guess. Unless she rejects the taste of formula, which i don’t blame her since I personally think its mazui (to use my limited japanese). To a certain extent it also depends on when I want to have the next child, which is preferably not too much later because I ain’t all that young no more and it is always good to have kids roughly the same age and therefore still enjoying roughly the same things. But whenever I think of weaning I feel guilty, like what if she would have just gotten into Havard law school if she had gotten just that extra dose of DHA from a month of breastfeeding? I would have deprived her of that opportunity just because I weaned her so that I could go on a trip all on my lonesome self without baby girl.
Which brings me to the trip I am planning where unfortunately baby girl has to come along because of lack of babysitter willing to take her in. I mean I love her to bits and all of that but to travel with her is such a nightmare. Normally my packing list consists of something like 12 items, 18 if you include husband’s stuff. Plus Sophia, I am on item 26 and we’re still just at her necessities. And we haven’t even gotten to any “good to haves” yet, like toys. This is not feeling like a holiday at all and thinking about fitting in pump sessions and feeding makes me just want to tank this trip.