Tuesday, September 23, 2008
And So it Begins
Oliver is three days old and has just finished nursing. He is laying quietly in my lap when suddenly he spurts out a river of projectile vomit. It is so forceful that it streams out of his nose. After spending half a second concerned about my sweet baby, the next thought that enters my head is "Oh CRAP!"
Because an hour earlier, in a fit of early-nursing starvation, I scarfed down two (yes, two) of the most delicious strawberry ice cream cones (Breyers). Dairy= barfing? Oh please no. I have been down that road before, with Gabe, and it is a bumpy, windy, ugly road with weeds growing over it, that I never desire to travel again.
I try to stay in denial. Hopefully it is just a reaction to overactive letdown (TMI, I know). After all, kellymoms says that true milk protein allergies are actually pretty rare (has anyone told my boys that?).
I cut back on the ice cream, try not to eat my favorite snack (cereal with cold cold milk), and think twice before slopping on the sour cream, but the evidence continues to mount. More vomiting sessions occur, always shortly after milk products are consumed (curse you, delicious chocolate pudding pie!!) Oliver has watery, explosive green poos, a raw behind, and he is always snorty. I can't ignore it any longer and cut out all obvious milk sources, and for the time being, any soy-heavy products (often a shared allergy). If that doesn't do the trick, I will start scouring labels to knock out all traces of dairy.
I have dairy-heavy eating habits, and while I figure out how to satisfy my ravenous appetite, I am always really really hungry. Which makes me kind of grumpy. I fantasize about Reese's Puffs and nag my husband.
One night I am awake at 3:30, Oliver has just finished a very messy nursing session, my breast pad has leaked in my sleep, and both of us need a clothes change. Again. My whole world is wet lately. My tummy growls. Everything I own smells like milk (breast, not that cow's stuff that I want). I think I really don't want to do this anymore.
Yes, even women who have breastfed two boys for over two years each still have those moments and those thoughts.
But because of those years of experience, I also know that it will get easier (MUCH easier). It won't always be this messy. I will be able to eat ice cream someday.
And I know the satisfaction of looking at a roly-poly pair of baby thighs, or of finding out that he has gained another pound, and knowing that I am solely responsible for his healthy chub. Go me!
That sole responsibility is why breastfeeding can feel like such a heavy burden at times. I am the only one who can feed him. I am the only one who can decide what goes into that milk. I am the only one who can make those sacrifices for him.
But isn't that what makes it all so wondrous at the same time?
And when you think about those sacrifices and that responsibility, isn't it a beautiful representation of motherhood itself?