B is for Baby Boy.
B is for bonding.
B is for breastfeeding.
B is for broken heart.
Ya’ll, this motherhood thing is tough.
My baby boy was born 3 weeks ago this very day. There have been many moments of joy thus far, mind you. For instance, have I mentioned his cheeks? Incredibly kissable. Have I mentioned that he makes the most awesome (and often perplexing) noises when he sleeps? Did you know he can already support his head (mostly), smile the single most brilliant smile with meaning (I swear it’s not always gas), and that he is the best snuggle-buddy there is? I explained it to Kevin once as wanting nothing more than to hold this dear little guy in my heart forever, like I could literally split myself open and take him in me. Ironic isn’t it? I carried him inside of me for 39 weeks.
Yet, for all that joy, there has seemingly been an equal amount of strife. It turns out that being a mother, while completely and utterly miraculous, causes certain sensitive new moms like me a great deal of concern and anxiety about almost everything. Does he need a hat? Is he getting enough to eat? Is he breathing too shallow? Is he breathing too deeply? Did he poop the right number of times? Am I doing something wrong? There have been alot of moments of second, third, and fourth guessing around these parts.
I have been committed to breastfeeding from the start, but unfortunately, I didn’t exactly get the guidance I needed from the get go. For one thing, it hurt. Like a bitch. But instead of nurses and the hospital lactation specialist working to help me correct the latch issues, they said things like “It’ll go away” and let me nurse my nipples raw. And of course I didn’t know any better.
So I started out week one with the lactation doctor at our pediatricians office and on antibiotics for a possible infection. Some times felt better than others, but for the most part I was in constant pain. So much, in fact, that I broke down into tears during our two week check up. Breastfeeding was the only thing I could do for my son that no one else could do and yet I felt like I was damaging our relationship every time I brought him to breast. At times, the pain was so bad that it was all I could do to keep myself from tearing him away from me and screaming out.
Week 3 has been the lowest so far because it got to the point that I couldn’t bear to breastfeed. Another one of my pregnancy dreams seemingly dashed. So I’ve been pumping and crying. I’d much rather he get what he needs from me directly rather than a bottle, at least in these first several weeks. But there is also value in the most basic of self preservation–my nipples and my sanity. If I’m going to be even moderately successful, I need to heal–my skin and my fragile new-mom psyche. And while I’m sure it could be argued that he’s too young to get it, I think my son understands that too.