“Breast is Best.” It’s the biggest battle in the Mommy Wars. I didn’t even know what Mommy Wars meant until a tried to Google my way through breastfeeding issues. It’s a dangerous digital world out there for a mom who isn’t sold on continuing to breastfeed.
Let me give some background. The following is my response to my dear friend who asked me, at the end of the first week with my newborn, simply, “How is motherhood?”
Exhausting. She is on the teet ’round the clock, so much so that I forget to put them away. Joe will probably never want to see them again. She thrashes around like they are Laffy Taffy or like an unaltered male dog with a tug toy. Joe asked me if I was giving her strawberry milk. “No fuckbag, that’s blood. From my nipples. Bloody fucking nipples.” She refuses to be put down while sleeping for more than 15 minutes, and only sleeps longer on our chests. She has man gas, all day, but won’t shit. My hormones are all over the fucking place. I cried because I finally got a shower (and you know I hate showers), and then I cried because the house still smelled like breakfast. WTF?
But then she will look at me cross-eyed as fuck, or Carl will run to her immediately when she cries, or Ella will kiss her out of the blue, and in those moments, I realize my street cred is gone and she has wrecked me.
I was a hot mess. Breastfeeding not only consumed me physically, but the real damage was done emotionally. Her impressive traps and advanced head control made for a shitty latch. But it wasn’t just the pain, blisters, and open wounds that caused me to rethink the “most natural way to feed” my child. It was the emotional drain. I did not feel connected to her. I was worried about her lack of connection with her dad. I didn’t feel like her hunger was ever satisfied. Honestly, while breastfeeding, I just didn’t like my daughter. And that left me sobbing all day and night.
I had promised myself while I was still pregnant that I wouldn’t make a big deal about breastfeeding. I was formula fed, and I’m a G. No biggie if it works or doesn’t. My goal, originally, was to breastfeed just because it was cheap and I could lose weight. But when it actually came time to nurse my daughter, getting it perfect consumed me. I lost myself—all because of my tits.
So, at exactly the two-week mark, I quit. I said fuck it. I packed up the nipple pads, creams, butters, pumps, and bras. I bought stock in Similac and shook up a creamy bottle of the good stuff. And she ate, all measured 2 ounces. And she slept, for 3 hours. And I stopped crying. She stopped crying. My husband ripped up his one-way ticket to Mexico. And it was the best thing to ever happen to this new family of three.
I love this little turdbird now, like heart-bursting love. And there is no doubt in my mind that she will be just fine. So good that when she is 20, in college, pursuing her degree, throwing down Busch Light and inhaling the delicious mystery that is Taco Bell, those breastmilk antibodies that she missed out on won’t make a fuck of a difference.