I had some ideas of how things were going to go once Johnny got here, ideas that were good with intention but naive with experience, which is I suppose always to be expected in some way. One of these things for us was breastfeeding. We did all of our research and knew that yes, breastfeeding is best, but didn’t learn too much beforehand because some things you just have to learn at the time it comes to cross that bridge. (I still believe this.) So in my mind, Johnny was going to be exclusively breastfed for, A) the reasons posted all over Kaiser’s walls, and B) it is free. After learning about Johnny being tongue-tied amongst other anatomy issues totaling 4 obstacles, we had a bit of an uphill battle with this one. Breastfeeding is so natural, so it should come naturally right?? Wrong. So very, very, wrong. I fought and am continuing to fight for this but it has come at a cost and I didn’t understand it prior to being on this side of things, the side that includes 3 months of pumping every 2-3 hours and constant training with a fussy baby on how to latch on the minimum of 8 feedings per day. It is a lot to say the least.
I was cleaning out my nightstand and came across this the other day… it is our schedule from the first few weeks we had with Johnny. It makes me exhausted even more just looking at it:
Our first appointment with the lactation consultant lasted for almost 3 hours and it would be another month before the weekly appointments were down to an hour or so. I have never made enough milk and with the advice of our consultants and pediatrician we had to supplement Johnny with formula from the very beginning. This was for me, a huge bummer. I was so sad that my body didn’t produce enough of what Johnny needed, and sad that Johnny had a really hard time learning the one skill he needed to know at the time. However, this brings me awareness to that fact that I am grateful for modern medicine and that our timing in this world happened to coincide with what we have available to us in this modern age. If we had a choice, if it could come naturally we would be all over that. Unfortunately that wasn’t in the cards for us and I’m learning how to give myself grace for that and especially giving Johnny grace for what he is able to do and/or not do at this stage. I’m learning that when you become a parent that you are dealt a hand of cards and that is what you have to work with, you have to play the hand you have been given to the best of your ability. Grace has always been a hard one for me to extend to myself and I know God is using our son to teach me in this area to give it to myself and then towards others.
Anne Lamott once said that the most powerful sermon in the world is “Me too.”
If you’re having a hard time with some of the cards you have been dealt, me too. We are such a work in progress.
Grace is growing here.
(This picture was taken when Johnny was just over 2 weeks old. We had finally gotten him back to his birth weight after pretty much feeding him around the clock, and we were exhausted. (See above schedule.) It included feeding through syringes and pumping around the clock, so it was time to start feeding again by the time we finished. No sleep. It was crazy. I had come home from his appointment where he was given a thumbs up on his weight and I was so, so relieved. I could just enjoy the moment and enjoy our little guy. It was such a gift. I will never forget it.)
P.S. I found this article the other day and think it is worth linking to: http://www.pregnantchicken.com/pregnant-chicken-blog/2014/4/15/when-breastfeeding-just-isnt-going-to-happen