Monday, August 1, 2016

World Breastfeeding Week: I Need More Space and Time Please

So it's World Breastfeeding Week, eh?

If you ask my parents, I've never been a tactile person. When I was a baby I hated to be held, and my father would lay me in his lap with his leg crossed because it was the only way I could be "held" happily. I've never been a hugger, and even with significant others/spouses I've never been one for PDA or canoodling and cuddling. When I sleep, I want my space, I don't want to spoon or snuggle.

Give me my personal bubble or give me death!

When I found out I was pregnant with Asher, whether I'd breastfeed wasn't even something I debated or thought about. I don't really know that I was aware of what it entailed. That is, the time commitment, the closeness, the lack of personal space, the constant attachment ... but for some reason, it worked. I made it work. And even in those moments where I was desperate to get away and have personal space, I didn't mind the little munchkin because I was his sole source of life.

When we moved to the U.S. when he was about 4.5 months old and I started going into the office of the company I worked for semi-full time a few days a week, I started pumping because Mr. T was at home and needed to feed the munchkin. I hated it. I hated pumping. It was mechanical and uncomfortable and inconvenient and made my workday terrible. 

Eventually, I was back working from home and would nurse when necessary. Then, again, when Ash ended up in childcare at 10 months (when Mr. T was stuck outside the country), I was back to pumping. I hated it, again. When he hit a year, the daycare insisted on me sending him in with regular milk, so I started sending him with almond milk and he would nurse a little bit after school, at night, and when he was sick or sad. 

Then, at 18 months, boom, he was done. I was free. Freedom! FREEDOMMMM!

When I got pregnant with Little T just several months later, I went back to my same position: I'd breastfeed, of course. It served Asher well, it'd serve Little T well, too. 

Now, I'm almost 8 weeks postpartum, and I'm tired. Little T is home with me as I work, and now, with a full-time, very demanding job that I love (and a side, part-time gig), I'm finding that breastfeeding is restrictive and prohibitive. 

I keep fantasizing about formula and not having to be the sole source of life for this little munchkin because I'm busy. I have things to do. I can't stop and break and sit in a parking lot because she's screaming bloody murder and whether she's eating or just nursing for comfort it's her timetable, and I'm stuck to it. 

Did I have these feelings with Asher and I've just forgotten them? I honestly don't think I did. I was underemployed in Israel and then the U.S. back then. I had time. Time was mostly what I did have. He was colicky and grumpy and he nursed a lot because of it, and I didn't mind. I had time.

So, I just pumped. Yeah, she fell asleep and I pumped and I didn't hate it because it might give me some semblance of momentary freedom in the not-so-distant future. I mean, I even cut holes in one of my bras to hands-free pump because I don't have a pumping bra! I've gone nuts!

Or maybe I'm dreaming of the day that she is taken care of by someone who can give her the love and attention that I can't because I have. to. get. work. done. Because I want to play with her, but I want to work, and I want to be a good mom to Asher, and I want to be a good wife to my husband, but I can't do them all and still breathe.

Do I sound callous? Like an ungrateful mommy? I love my baby. I love both my babies. But timing is everything, and right now, I need more time. 

So here's to World Breastfeeding Week. Here's to a love-hate relationship with breastfeeding, a need for space, and a need for time. 

What are your experiences with breastfeeding? Love it or hate it?