Breast friends- Baby, can you get enough?


BREAST FRIENDS. 

It’s been ages since I have written, and I am sorry. I’ve been meaning to write…but it’s been challenging just to get rest and food. I’m running on fumes, but trying to pretend I have a full tank.

I decided to try to breastfeed Baby Jacob for as long as I can. I gave myself a mini-goal of six months, after which I will reacess and see if I can get him to a year. He went in to the NICU when he was born and my supply has never caught up to his demand. I have spoken to doctors and lactation consultants and tried to catch up with him, but I’ve finally resigned myself to being his supplemental food source, rather than his exclusive or primary one.

After all the ego hits of IVF, hospital bedrest and the big stamp of “advanced maternal age,” not making enough milk for my  baby is up there on the ego smackdown. But here’s how I look at it. At least I can offer him quality, rather than quantity. Sure, I am still trying like hell to catch up, but if I can get him to 5-6 months, at least he’s had a constant supply of mother’s milk. And rather than feeling guilty for making less than I would hope to, I treasure the times that we do get to spend together when I feed him. He’s still my little miracle.

I have a dear friend at work who had her second baby girl a few weeks after Jacob. She is a lovely woman, full of vigor and zing. Every time I see her and ask about her kids, she tells my how much milk she’s producing in each pumping (8-10 oz each time!!!). I know she doesn’t mean anything by it, but it reminds me of a guy who brags about penis size, or how many girls he bedded last week. Part of me is filled with envy when I hear her reports, but I try to take it back to center and remember how lucky I am for having a healthy, gorgeous son, a great job, shelter, family, and a hubby who loves me. Milk shmilk! It’s all relative.

 

THE SUNDRESS GIRLS. 

There is always going to be someone who seems to have something you want. When I was on hospital bedrest (for six weeks!) they would wheel me on a gurney down to a daily non-stress test. They’d take me through the part of the hospital that was bustling with out-patient testing. It’s hard enough to be wheeled around in a wheelchair- but being pushed on a BED takes it to a whole other level! Once inside the testing area they would park me in the middle of the hallway. After a while I learned to bring something with me to distract myself, like a book or my blackberry, something that I could look at to avoid the glances of pregnant women who were visiting the hospital for a quick test before returning to the world outside the berm. Since I was not allowed outside, I could mark the passage of time (and weather) by their attire. June and July were “sundress time” in Boston and all the pretty ladies seem to sachet past with their florals and batiks mocking me. When they would look my way I would smile. I tried to wish them well with my eyes. “Don’t worry, I’m not contageous” I thought to myself. Most women, however, would do everything they could NOT to make eye contact, as if my baby and I had some disasterous affliction, and locking eyes would somehow curse them. I know that fear, I used to have a twinge of it every time I heard of a friend on bed rest. “Oh how awful,” I’d think. But here I was, in the hospital for six weeks. On my back. Immobile… At least I was smiling.

As much as I resented the sundress girls, with there billowy dresses and protruding bumps, I knew there was a long chain that linked us together. The grass is always greener somewhere else. What I needed to remember was that we ALL are of great value and beauty. We all MATTER. There is always going to be someone who has something you want. You can spend time consuming yourself with envy and grief, or you can treasure what you do have, and hope for what you want. I try to remember this. 

 

ACTS OF GRACE

It was the founder of Acts of Grace Foundation who send me a small care package while I was on hospital bed rest. She and I will never meet, but her kindness touched me deeply. In honor of one of her twins, Grace, who passed away, I will pay it forward this holiday. I will be making small care packages for the women on bedrest at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. My friends are coming over to help me, and it will also be a great closing of a chapter for me. I will never forget how much I have grown this year, and hope to channel some of that experience into something meaningful for others. (Acts of Grace foundation….http://www.actsofgracefoundation.com/5.html)

WISHING YOU JOY…..

Leave a comment and make a wish for the next person who reads it….

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7 responses to this post.

  1. Hey — I would love to do something for B&W’s bedrest patients, too. I wasn’t in there anywhere near as long as you — I was under house confinement after initial hospitalization — but I owe my baby to that place. Are you doing this through Acts of Grace? I’ll have to check it out.

    Glad to hear you’re doing well. I think your attitude about breastfeeding is totally healthy. I was the same way — I made goals for myself and just did the best I could to achieve them. And I focused on quality, not quantity. We do the best we can for our babies — nothing more we can do! Good for you for sticking with it as long as you can.

    Reply

  2. That’s great that you are going to pay it forward. You KNOW it will make someone’s day. I should do that for some of the people on bedrest at my hospital. It’s hard not to be upset about something you want — like milk supply. It bothers me that I can’t directly breastfeed but have to pump! I’m surprised your co-worker isn’t mooing with that crazy amount of milk. That’s not normal!!!

    Reply

  3. Here from ICLW 🙂 Great posts – I’ll definitely be following you! I love the idea of paying it forward. It’s awesome that friends of yours want to get involved to. I’m sure I’ll feel the same way if I ever get to breastfeeding, but I’m always shocked to hear the mommy guilt about not getting baby “enough.” You’re doing it! Even if its not exclusive, what important is that he is getting nutrition from you and building his immune system. That’s incredible! You’re an awesome mother. Give yourself some props. Seriously 🙂

    Reply

  4. I can’t imagine doing hospital bedrest. That is wonderful that you are paying it forward. I made an obscene amount of milk as well, but I just couldn’t keep up with it and my body was working so hard my liver wasn’t functioning. I was completely okay with stopping at two months but every now and then I think that I should have kept going. It’s crazy how it seems to never end, right?? **Happy ICLW**

    Reply

  5. What an awesome idea! so thoughtful. Your care package will mean so much to those ladies. and it will be so unexpected. you have inspired me to give something to someone as well. not sure who or how but it is hard not to want to give in the face of such generosity.

    Reply

  6. Hi there — thanks for your comment…I would love to meet for coffee in the new year once we’re better around here! Let’s email in January and find a date. I can’t find your address on the blog but mine is goodegghunting@gmail.com.

    Jennifer

    Reply

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