I cannot believe that almost seven months have past since posting my last blog! With all the good intentions in the world to continue my blogging, it went a stray when I had to go back to working evenings last November. But alas I have returned and am going to attempt to keep up with the antics of my now very mobile toddler. I can hardly believe that my little munchkin is now eighteen months already ! My how time flies.
I suddenly have an overwhelming feeling and need to get out and explore, I’m so hungry that I can hardly contain my appetite. I want to kick old rituals and habits and breath a new energy into life. Suddenly I want to swim in the icy ocean, run until I feel sick and do things I’ve never done before, which also includes getting a tattoo, but that’s another story entirely. Anyway I’ve decided to start with fitness, as there is nothing like a good workout to get your mind body and soul in order, of course I’m sure the onset of toddlerhood has a lot to do with this change of mood. My little guy is so active and so adventurous, you cannot help but be swept along on his little wave, even if sometimes you feel like your being thrown around and around inside the barrel and can’t catch your breath. I want to expose him to this great outdoor world of ours and let him drink in the wonders with his own eyes. Of course I must remind myself that he is after all only eighteen months, and that there is plenty of time for this. Reading between the lines I think also my cabin fever, itchy feet. – whatever you want to call it, comes from a niggling idea that I will not somehow live up to my sons expectations as he grows up, that I too must begin to improve myself in every way so that I can be a better role model for him. Monkey watch monkey do – isn’t that how the saying goes?
Oh where to begin! As I sit here trying to recall the early days with my son, I realise that whilst it was the most magical thing I have ever experienced, it was also one of the most stressful.
Once at home there were so many things that needed to be done. Buying a sterilizer, choosing bottles and formula and renting a breast pump. Oh and then yes learning to breast feed as well as navigating the world of parenting ! Buying a sterilizer was the easy part, but everything else seemed to require some figuring out.
Choosing the formula was difficult because I wanted to give my son an organic brand, but it was out of the question as it was so expensive. Who knew that suddenly formula alone ( non-organic) would be costing us about $160 per month! This was something that I hadn’t wanted to consider as I was positive it wouldn’t be needed. We stuck with the hospital brand without naming names, because after looking at all the options this seemed like the best one around for the moment. The formula was pre-made and I am so glad we chose this in the early days as it really helped cut down on the work.
I remember standing in the aisle of a large pharmacy , just two days after my son was born. Barley able to walk as I tried to choose bottles for my son, it was all I could do not to cry. There was a sea of them before us and I didn’t know where to begin. In the end we chose the bottles we thought were best and as the months have gone on we have slowly changed them until we have ones that best suit our baby.
My midwife recommended that I see a breast feeding specialist, so within just a few days of coming home with our son I had to take him out into the world – yikes! I wasn’t ready for it but it had to be done. the breast feeding specialist gave me some tips and then we made another appointment to follow-up. On her recommendation we rented a hospital grade breast pump, because I would be pumping and then feeding our baby, it seemed like a good option. After several days of failed attempts at trying to get my son to latch on . I realised that it seemed unlikely that I would be able to breast feed. I remember feeling thoroughly miserable and inadequate. Returning to the specialist only confirmed my fears. I left that appointment and knew that I had to get past the emotional turmoil I felt, and learn to accept that this wasn’t the path for my baby and me, but that it didn’t mean I was any less of a mother because of this. But more importantly, that my son would not suffer irreversibly because of it.
As I write this blog, my very active eleven month old lays sleeping in his crib. Half of my kitchen utensils are strewed around the kitchen floor. Before he was born, everything had its rightful place, but now everything gets shoved back into any draw or cupboard that will have them. My son delights in finding new treasures in the kitchen it’s his favourite exploring place. His little face lights up when he spies something he’s never seen or even better when it’s something he’s never usually allowed to have.
I find myself absolutely savouring the moments when he’s asleep, as it’s time to gather myself and catch my breath. In my pursuit to recreate some sort of equilibrium I am trying something new. Instead of rushing around like some frantic lunatic I am actually sitting down! The very act of sitting is in itself very testing, but I am determined to give it a go and just bask amongst the chaos. Because something has to give, I cannot carry on burning the candle at both ends. I am trying to change a behaviour, an innate need for order in the refuge that is home. I know that I must do this as a rested mom is a happier mom, and I want to be in the moment for my son. Soon my son will beckon me to his crib and be raring to go once again. But this time it’s gonna be different, because I am rested and ready!
Like many women, I had a traumatic birth. By the time our baby arrived into this world I felt frazzled to say the least! Once I saw our baby though, it all melted into oblivion. Now as the months slip by it has become irrelevant in the greater scheme of things.
One thing I hadn’t bargained for when my son was born, was to be unable to breast feed. My midwife had warned me that, I may be at risk from being unable to, but I have to admit I had brushed this notion aside and was positive that myself and my baby would figure it out. I hadn’t even brought a single bottle, so strong was my belief.
In the hospital I felt thoroughly devastated. My efforts to get my son to latch on were unsuccessful. We tried and tried and then tried some more – but nothing. The pain was excruciating, not only could my son not latch on, but at that point I was producing nothing. I believe it must have been from the stressful birth. I felt thoroughly unhinged and believed that even before our son was out of the hospital I had already failed him as a mother. Unable to provide him with the very basic essentials on which he needed for his survival. I can still remember watching as my husband attempted to feed him sugar-water from a dropper ! With assistance from one of the nurses – how thoroughly dreadful for a new mom.
As the day went on, I did begin to produce a tiny amount of colostrum, which I carefully fed to my baby. The amount wasn’t significant enough to satisfy him, so I had to also begin to feed him formula. When I saw those tiny bottles I felt a whole range of emotions. Firstly OMG I can’t believe I am feeding our new baby formula, but also I felt an immense gratification. There is a means by which to feed our baby ! One that we would not have had hundreds of years a go. So there at that very moment, my relationship with formula began……….
Coming home with a new baby is a whirlwind and if it’s your first baby it’s also a massive learning curve.
In the first few weeks visitors flow in and out, and each day is filled with the excitement of having a new baby – the adrenaline flows. Once you are left alone with your baby, you may initially feel a sense of isolation creeping in. For me, the first few weeks after my mom left and my husband went back to work were the toughest. Not only are you exhausted from being a new mom, but you are still such a newby, trying to navigate your way through the new mom world. I found toward the end of my sons second month I really began to get into the groove. I learned to embrace my new role and gave into the emotions that I felt. I just went with the overwhelming need to hunker down and nest. The need was so primal in fact that I decided to completely go with it and embrace it. For two months we barley went outside . I absolutely loved this time, as it gave my son and I time and space to bond – I treasured every moment.
when I look back at those early days I am so glad that we were able to have this time. After all there is a whole lifetime ahead for my son to orientate himself in the world, why rush anything, as time is so very fleeting in the early years and they don’t stay little for long.
The Milk Diaries is coming soon ! A diary of the trial and tribulations of breast feeding, and how I learned to accept bottle feeding my son. How my son is doing now and what we have learned from our experience. I am hoping that the diary will help other moms, who have had similar issues and those who are experiencing them now.
I hope you enjoy it, and that it goes some way in bringing comfort to you. There are many bottle feeding mommies out there in the same boat, so don’t feel alone on your journey.