Posts Tagged ‘bottles’

Bottled Up

Friday, August 12th, 2011

Even though I had a wonderful time at BlogHer and am so glad I got to attend this year, leaving Caroline was a mistake. I shouldn’t have done it. I should have realized this wasn’t the right time to go and sold my ticket and spent the weekend hiding from Twitter, feeling sorry for myself and glaring at Caroline…but at least I would have been here for her. Every time I saw someone with a baby I was wracked with guilt and babbled endlessly about how I had a baby too but she was at home and I was pumping and I’m sure my husband had gotten her to eat by now even thought she’s never taken a bottle before but don’t think I’m a bad mom… and I secretly worried they thought exactly that.

It didn’t help that one mom said “Oh, I could NEVER leave my baby” in that tone of voice moms use when they’re judging you (even if they don’t THINK they are judging you and would deny it TO THEIR DEATH). Like the SAHM to the working mom: “Oh you are so strong! I don’t know HOW I could leave little Johnny all day!” or the cloth diaper mom to the disposable mom: “Oh I WISH I hated the environment so much that I didn’t care about filling up the landfills!” Well, maybe not that last one. But you get the idea.

One of my challenges is that I have never pumped with a purpose before. The freezer full of milk I left E with was just overflow from my early days of engorgement or Caroline sleeping a few extra hours at night. (Sidebar: I thought I had a GAZILLION GALLONS of milk in the freezer but between bottles she refused, bottles she didn’t finish, and a few bags with holes/freezer burn I came back to less than 20 oz. I was shocked.) I’ve never pumped to actually empty my boobs before, or to keep up my supply, and both proved to be a lot harder than I anticipated. While I was traveling all I had was a couple of hand pumps – my plan was to pop one on each side and get the job done faster – but doing that while standing up in an airport bathroom was impossible. And messy.

I was so sore. I couldn’t move without a constant reminder I was away from my baby and I SHOULDN’T be. My body was straight up guilt tripping me with the added benefit of physical pain to make it EXTRA GUILTY. It distracted me from focusing on the people I was there to meet and prevented me from giving everyone the hugs I was there to give.

Thank GOD the kind people from Hygeia Baby lent me a double electric EnJoye breastpump while I was at the conference¬† (and that my roommate was kind enough to drag it back to the hotel for me)(and also show me how to use it because I was freakin’ TERRIFIED the first time I looked in the box). By Friday afternoon I had gotten the hang of the fancy double electric action and was a regular milk machine, filling up bag after bag to donate to a local mom. I LOVED that pump.

But Sunday screwed everything up again – I returned the fancy pump and was left with my hand pump, I was stuck in an airport, and it was almost midnight when I got home. I had only pumped three times all day and after just a few minutes of nursing Caroline I was out of milk. My once insanely-overabundant supply had dwindled and we had to use the last of the frozen stash to calm the baby down. BOOB FAIL.

I threw my diet out the window and threw a giant chocolate bar into my face and I THINK we’re almost back to normal in terms of milk production but there still seems to be a lot of screaming. I suspect a top front tooth is to blame (which was NOT such a nice surprise on my poor nipple) but I’m going to worry about my supply constantly until the screaming quiets down a little. It’s made reentry to real life post-BlogHer (what?! it’s HARD) stressful and sleepless, both of which hurt my supply even MORE and then I’m trapped in a vicious cycle and can’t get out.

Also, I don’t think E is ever going to forgive me for the screaming he put up with before Caroline caved on the bottle. (She DID eventually cave, and now sucks them down like a champ. She might actually even PREFER the bottle, but too bad so sad baby girl, it’s back to the tap for you.) I suspect there was a LOT of screaming, but he’s being vague on exactly HOW AWFUL things were. Bless him for not complaining – although it might be because he’s barely speaking to me – but it hasn’t helped me feel any better about the situation.

So, to sum up, I am a selfish bitch who is now starving her baby and her husband hates her. I’m not doing so good at this mom gig right now.

On Leaving My Children

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

This isn’t a post about going to BlogHer (although I AM leaving to GO to BlogHer so if you’re as annoyed at all the conference talk as I was last year you can skip it – or just go read that post). This is about whether or not leaving my kids – especially Caroline – with my husband for three days is something I can handle. I also apologize if this is the bazillionth time you’ve heard me talk about this, because I’ve been word-vomiting all over everyone for weeks anytime any subject even remotely related comes up.

I asked for similar last year and got lots of reassurance that going to a bridal shower without my 15 month old didn’t make me a terrible mother. Then a month later I left him again for The Creative Connection Conference…and again he survived. Since then, I’ve even managed to leave him in the care of other people who are not his father (although never for a weekend) and he’s a total champ about it.

But that first time I left? Little Evan was 15 months and done nursing. Caroline is going to be just short of 8 months old and still totally addicted to the boob. So addicted, in fact, that besides the one bottle she took at a few weeks old (when I foolishly declared “Yah! She takes a bottle!” and then stopped offering them. Idiot, party of one) she gets all her milk straight from the tap. I have tried every suggestion the internet has for bottle/cup/spoon/sippy feeding but I think the only thing that’s going to work is me being completely unavailable and her being extremely hungry. So I just have to…leave. And let E deal with it. Or find some poor sap and pay them a bucketload of money to do it for us.

I suspect there is going to be the kind of crazy inconsolable screaming that makes parents genuinely those their minds, and although E is a little less sensitive to it than I am I cannot help but feel like the world’s biggest jerk for (sort of) intentionally creating that situation. What if she screams the WHOLE TIME? What if she never does take a bottle? What if she gets so dehydrated she makes herself ill and E has to take her to the ER and the doctor says “Oh, did your wife die?” and E says “No she went to San Diego to talk about blogging and party” and I end up on Dateline as the Worst Mother In The World?

Part of me realizes there is nothing FAIR about being a parent. Someone is always going to feel like they are doing MORE, and in general we take turns being that person. But this isn’t about whose turn it is to unload the dishwasher. This is about – forgive me if this seems a little overdramatic, I am feeling VERY OVERDRAMATIC – intentionally making Caroline miserable, ruining a baby’s sense of security and happiness and leaving my responsibilities with someone else.

(And hundreds of working moms just decided to slap me right in my face if they see it at BlogHer. Please understand that is NOT what I mean. I’m worried because I am upsetting my own personal status quo for what is basically a girl’s weekend, not making a general sweeping statement about leaving babies for any reason.)

I suppose I could bring her. Lots of people bring their babies. It’s not unheard of. Since all of my roommates are moms -plus one of my roommates is pregnant and one is leaving her own nursing baby at home – I’m sure they would understand. She’s an incredibly easy going baby (BESIDES THE BOTTLE THING) and loves people and would probably have a great time distracting me from the sessions and making me whip my boob out in front of all my blogging idols.

So there it is. I don’t WANT to bring my baby to BlogHer. I’ve been looking forward to this mommy-gets-a-break time for more than 2 years and nothing would ruin that faster than 20 hours of travel time in 4 days with a baby in tow. I want to wear real bras that hold my chest up and dresses and high heels. I want to have TWO glasses of wine and not feel like I’m abusing my child. I want to be awake at 2 am because I WANT TO BE, not because a baby needs me.

That sounds SO SELFISH, right? What kind of mother thinks that? It’s not Caroline’s fault she loves me and needs me, she’s a freakin’ BABY. And like my husband keeps pointing out, BlogHer will be there next year. This is not my LAST CHANCE IN THE WORLD to go have fun with my interwebs friends. But at this point it’s too late to not go at all without being out a big chunk of change and letting down at least one person I was looking forward to meeting in person.

I would never have even bought a ticket if I knew Caroline was going to be just as stubborn about the bottles as her brother. But now it’s down to the wire and I’m so stressed about it I am literally making myself sick.

Seriously, what do I do?