On my way out of that new baby fog. For the most part, I’m trying to consider the first twelve weeks as a fourth trimester. Recovering. Figuring out how shit works. Working out when I feel like it. Doing chores when I feel like it. Showering when I feel like it. Getting out of the house when I feel like it. Eating healthy when I feel like it. Eating Pizza Hut when I want to feel like a human garbage pail. Mostly living on Halligan’s schedule but trying to make it my own when at all possible.
For the most part, it’s going well. A huge difference between the newborn stage with two versus the newborn stage with one is that this time around, I’m giving no shits about breastfeeding. With August, I beat myself up over it and let it consume my life for months. I tried everything to increase supply but there was just nothing there for him. Like 5ml nothing. He was skinny and hungry and I was guilty and sad and hooked up to him or a pump all freaking day.
Once we stopped and went to formula exclusively, everyone was happy. August was happy because he wasn’t in a constant state of hangry. I was happy because my baby was happy. Adam was happy because his wife and baby were happy and because his wife was showering sometimes instead of power-pumping every night. Also, power-pumping is a section of hell they should reserve exclusively for spiders and former cast members of The Hills.
This time around, I decided before I even got pregnant that I was not going to lose my mind over breastfeeding. If it worked, that would be great. If it didn’t, I would give no shits and happily drink more beers. When Halligan was born, I was pleasantly surprised to have some supply. She was feeding pretty much 24/7, but I had milk for her and that made me over the moon.
But I make some hungry-ass babies. For the first two weeks, I thought the universe was paying me back for August being a cake walk of a child because Halligan was a straight-up jerk. It felt like she was pissed at me all the time. Not even just when she was crying; she was quick to develop some of the best stink-eye I’ve ever been on the receiving end of. If she could read, she would probably turn it on right now for ending that sentence in a preposition. Turns out that she wasn’t a jerk, though. She was just hangry as hell. One night, when I couldn’t soothe her no matter what I tried, I sent Adam to the store at 1am for formula. She sucked that shit down; didn’t even care that it smells just as bad going in as it will coming out.
So I’m still breastfeeding because I’ve got the supply and Halligan still wants to. This child loves to eat and doesn’t care where food is coming from, as long as she’s getting it. She’s probably getting about 1/4 or 1/5 of her milk from me. But the great thing is that our breastfeeding relationship is casual and works for both of us. If she feels like breastfeeding, she goes for it. If I feel like breastfeeding, I go for it. She even seems to prefer the breast when she needs comfort, which I love. After getting three shots at her two-month checkup, Halligan wanted nothing to do with the bottle. She stayed on the breast pretty much constantly for the next day. It made me feel special. And sweaty.
Since we started formula, I have not seen one sign of the jerk-baby I thought I had. I suddenly have this happy little goober that loves smiling almost as much as she loves eating. It makes me feel extra good when she stops drinking her bottle to flash me a huge grin, because I know how much she loves to chug. And big, super, sparkle-bonus? She is sleeping. After we started giving her bottles, Halligan began sleeping through the night. I feel like I shouldn’t say that out loud because I don’t want her to hear me.
It’s so strange having supply now, even a small supply, because it’s physically a way different experience than I had last time. I thought I knew what letdown felt like; didn’t have a clue. Had to google “Why does it feel like my boobs are being stabbed,” to find out what that was. And I have to wear a nursing bra at night so that I can put some milk pads in there and not leak all over the sheets. I thought that after my water broke in bed, I would have a slight reprieve from waking up in a giant wet spot. Nope.
If there is one thing I have learned from my time as a mother, it is that talking about breastfeeding makes people crazy as shit and if your experience doesn’t exactly match someone else’s, you’re somehow invalidating their entire life and must be pelted with rocks and stopped. So let me just end this with saying that this is what works for us, boobwise, and if you exclusively breastfeed until your kid is nine or bottlefeed your kid Pepsi, that’s your truth, man. Live your truth. But feel free to bitch in the comments or shout hooray about your experiences, because I agree with everything now. Breastfeeding rules. Bottlefeeding rules. Bottlefeeding is not a word, according to the little red line under it, but who cares? Not me. I only care that I’m out of the baby stage where I am frantically counting how many times my kid has peed and pooped in the last 24-hours.