Monday, September 20, 2010

Breastfeeding is Hard

Today has been one of those days where absolutely everything is pissing me off to a degree that makes me think there might be murder charges in my future. I realized that it's been over a year since I had a period. I mean, obviously I bled after Caitlyn was born, but it definitely wasn't what I would call a period really, and certainly not in the way where my hormones go all rage-y, and I've been breastfeeding since then so I haven't had an actual period yet. I really feel like I'm going to be getting it back soon (I stopped at McDonald's on the way home from work and seriously considered buying 2 hot fudge sundaes and eating one in the car before I got home so my husband didn't know I bought 2), and it's going to be gloriously bloody and tragic. My ovaries are like a hibernating bear and they are NOT happy about being woken up. What's bothering me the most right now is that everything about today simultaneously made me want to quit breastfeeding and keep doing it until Caitlyn is 2 years old to spite everyone who is making it difficult for me.

The back story on why I'm so touchy about this is pretty relevant to why I got so utterly pissed off today, so here it goes:

To begin with, I married an idiot who has been pushing me to quit since almost day 1. First it was the fact that Caitlyn "didn't like" to breastfeed. And by didn't like it, I mean she would cry when I tried to get her to latch because she was jaundiced in the hospital and they convinced me to give her a bottle as opposed to taking her out from under the lights to breastfeed her. She got used to the bottle and was impatient at my breast so she would cry. When I tried to transition her back to breastfeeding after we came home from the hospital, Rodolfo (the idiot) would yell at me every time I even attempted it because she would cry. Even though our pediatrician repeatedly told him this was totally normal and okay and that she would eventually adjust, he would insist that I was causing the baby to suffer and discourage me from putting her to my breast. And I was new to breastfeeding, and didn't have a ton of support so I was feeling discouraged and made the choice to pump exclusively.



I told Rodolfo that I wanted to see how the pumping went so we would rent a pump for the first month then look into buying. Well the first month passed, and I wanted to keep doing it, but he was adamant about the fact that we couldn't afford to buy a pump because I was still on maternity leave. Fine. But now every month since then I have gotten the same bullshit about how we can't afford to buy a pump and what a waste of money the rental is and how we should bring it back and change Caitlyn over to formula (because apparently I didn't get the memo about how formula is cheap now).

Now, in just the last month or so the newest reason I should stop breastfeeding is that Caitlyn should be fat. Not that she hasn't steadily gained weight. Not because our pediatrician is concerned. Caitlyn should be fat because babies are supposed to be fat and Caitlyn is not fat like most babies. And apparently fat babies drink formula. I'm sure he has researched this data very thoroughly.

Caitlyn is thriving. She has hit every milestone. Physically she is on the smaller side, but her growth curve is perfectly acceptable and our pediatrician tells us at every single visit what a great job we are doing and how happy he is with her progress. And as much as I know that my breast milk is all that she really needs, I'm not really hardcore about giving her exclusively breast milk for any specific period of time. She's hit the developmental milestones recommended for starting solids and our pediatrician thought she was ready at her 4 month check-up. We had tried giving her a little rice cereal a few weeks before that, mostly because her poops were super runny and I thought it might help, but she didn't like it and just wasn't ready. A few weeks have passed since those first attempts, so I gave it another try with oatmeal cereal and fruit early last week. She's been doing really well, and I have been giving her oatmeal cereal and a little fruit each day once or twice for a little over a week now. In the last few days I noticed she has been having some trouble pooping, but I just assumed she needed some time to adjust to the solids.

So this morning I was pumping right before Caitlyn was due to eat. Usually, I have a few prepared bottles in the fridge so she doesn't often get fresh milk right after I pump, but she's been eating more and I haven't been pumping as often so today I had to give her the freshly pumped milk. It was still in the bottle that I pump into and I was playing with her, so I handed the pump bottle over to Rodolfo and told him to put it into her regular bottle so I could feed her. He came back a minute later and I noticed he was swirling the milk around before he gave it to me. I told him it was fresh milk so it wasn't necessary for him to swirl it around. Then he told me that he was just mixing in the cereal. Ummm... what?

Apparently, for the last month, every time he has fed her, he has been mixing rice cereal into her bottles. He went so far as to make bigger holes in her nipples to make sure the thicker milk would come through. This bugs the shit out of me for several reasons. First, his reasoning is that my milk "isn't enough" and that she needed more food. And second, even if his dumb ass was doing this before I officially started giving her oatmeal, why the hell would he continue to do it now? She's getting oatmeal and fruit twice a day most days and she's been having trouble pooping, it didn't occur to him for even a second that maybe that's too much for her stomach? And third, who the fuck just starts arbitrarily adding things to their baby's diet without consulting the person who is primarily in charge of those types of decisions? Assholes, that's who.

So now let's move on to the jerks I work with. I'm getting incredibly annoyed with the fact that my pumping schedule seems to be such an inconvenience for everyone there. There are 2 offices I regularly use to pump. The first is the loss prevention office. Our LP agent was in the middle of something today when I needed his office and the other office was being used so I got an annoyed eye roll when I told him I didn't have anywhere else to pump. Whatever. It bugged me but he didn't actually say anything. He just looked annoyed and left. And I prefer to use his office because half the time when I use the other office, someone walks in and sees my tits. Not because I was careless and forgot to put the sign on the door that says "PUMPING-DO NOT ENTER"- that sign was up every single time, but because they are morons and apparently illiterate. So after my boss walked in on me for the third time last week, she suggested I starting using a fitting room (I work in a retail clothing store) to pump. There are a few issues I have with that. First, the fitting rooms are dusty, filthy and uncomfortable. I'd prefer that the milk I'm feeding my child isn't full of dust bunnies or spilled all over the place because there isn't a clean place in there to set down the bottles. Then there is the fact that there is only one accessible outlet in the fitting room and after the one occasion that I did use it, someone stole my extension cord and the cord on my pump isn't long enough to make it without it. I'm surely not going to bring in another one after the first got stolen. So logistics in the first issue. The second issue has to do with time.

I'm officially entitled to 2- 15 minute breaks and 1 hour lunch. When I first came back I was taking the 2-15s together and pumping, then pumping on my lunch hour. But it's become difficult for me to maintain that schedule for reasons related to my giant, engorged boobs. So I started breaking up the 15 minute breaks again. Our company has an official policy saying that employees will be given an opportunity to pump during their breaks, and extra time beyond breaks if it's needed. I used to pump for 20 minute intervals, but I'm pumping more often now, so I usually pump for 15 minutes, which means I need an extra 5 minutes or so to set up and break down my pump parts and transfer milk to the fridge.

I had just come back from my lunch and my boss pulls me aside and says she (yeah, shockingly another woman is being a bitch about my breastfeeding. It would be less annoying somehow if it was a guy) needs to talk to me about my breaks. Apparently, another manager had come to her to complain that I was "taking too long" on my 15 minute breaks. She told me that she knows I'm allowed to take the time but that I should tell them when I'm going to be more then 15 minutes. Which would be a reasonable request except that I HAVE TOLD THEM FROM DAY 1 THAT I NEED AT LEAST 20 MINUTES TO PUMP! Am I supposed to circle the entire store and inform every single manager that I need an extra 5 minutes on break every day, twice a day? What is she, retarded? I was super pissed and it showed. I told her flat out "I'm not the person you should be talking to about this. I know the policy and have read the policy and am in complete compliance with the policy and am doing absolutely nothing wrong. You should be talking to THEM. You should make them aware of the fact that our company's policy allows me for as much time as I need for breastfeeding". I don't think she was expecting that, because she immediately started backpedaling and offered to send out an email to the rest of the management team to make them aware of the policy. That's right, bitch.

It certainly gave me a little satisfaction to see her get so completely throw off guard because she was expecting me to just take her bullshit. I calmed down after that and was explaining to her that I stopped taking the breaks together because my baby is eating more so I need to pump more often to increase my milk supply. Then she started asking really stupid questions- "well, isn't there any other way to increase it?" In my head I'm thinking "even if there is, I'm going to go out of my way to choose the route that is most inconvenient to you". Then she started to tell me "oh, well can't she start solids soon".... OMG bitch this is so not the way you should be directing this conversation!!! It just made me think this is why so many women quit breastfeeding so soon after returning to work. It's practically frowned upon and it's just a shame that more women aren't as clear on the laws and their company's own policies so they have all the ammunition they need if and when a confrontation arises.

My baby and my boobs are my priority and I'm sick of everyone else's opinions on when and why I should stop breastfeeding. You know, except for you guys of course :)

4 comments:

Carla said...

My favorite part? "That's right, bitch."

I loved this entry because I appreciate how fired up you are about it. You deserve and are entitled to do whatever is best for you and Caitlyn. You are the advocate for yourself and your baby. It's just too bad that the rest of society makes it so damn hard. It's food, people! For her child. It's kind of important.

As for the work related thing, I'm fully convinced that "management" rarely views their employees as actual human beings with family responsibilities or real feelings for that matter. Or maybe that's just my experience!

Only you should make the decision when to stop and how to handle it. Not your husband, not your boss, not meddling friends or family members. But secretly, I kind of hope you breastfeed her until she's two, just to piss everyone off.

Power on, mama!

Nadine said...

AS A MEDDLING FRIEND, I COMPLETELY SUPPORT JACLYN'S DECISION TO FEED HER BABY AND SPITE ALL THOSE AROUND HER. I'M FUELED BY SPITE.

D said...

Hi, Jaclyn! It's been a while since I've seen you! (5 years maybe?)

I'm sure you've heard through the grapevine that my Lilian is 2 years old.

The whole first part of your story about breastfeeding, I could have written nearly the exactly same thing!

I did exclusively pump for 8 months, but we had to supplement with formula also because I couldn't pump enough. I'm hoping with Baby #2 to have a much better BF experience, and if you asked me about it a year and a half ago, I probably would have cried while talking about it, it was a very sore subject at the time.

As far as your husband "sneaking" in cereal in her bottles, I am totally shocked and appalled at that! Baby decisions should be made together, and I think the one with the boobies should get a heavier vote.

And... I think some of his resistance is cultural. Certain cultures and groups of people have different feelings towards BF.

But good for you for sticking with it.

Check out my blog: lilfamily13.blogspot.com

Dana

Jaclyn said...

Hi Dana! I did hear about your daughter's birth, so congratulations! She's adorable! What I thought was interesting is that you thought my husband's resistance might be cultural. The funny thing is, typically our culture is the most resistant to breastfeeding. He is from South America and I remember from when we visited that women would breastfeed just about anywhere... nobody even looked twice. It's very common and accepted and normal there. So I'm not sure exactly where his resistance is coming from, but I know for a fact that his mom raised him to know better. I think he's just one of those paranoid people who believes absolutely everything he hears... I remember when Caitlyn was a month old, he was telling me she was "supposed to weigh" 10lbs. Like every baby is 10lbs when they are 1 month old. He says dumb shit like that all the time, which is funny because he really isn't a dumb guy. I know it comes from a good place, he's just worried. But it's especially annoying when he tells me "well you should ask the doctor", then the doctor agrees with me and he says the doctor is wrong. Men are idiots. You totally made the right choice :)