Monday, March 25, 2013

Looking on the Bright Side

Beyond losing out on the health benefits of breastfeeding, there are certainly some other bummers about giving it up, particularly this early.  We'll miss the bonding, no doubt.  All I know is what it's like to nurse a baby for 14 months, and I have no idea how it might impact Carter in the long run to not have this sort of connection for that long.  The cost is obviously a concern, too.  Not just the formula, but I was hoping to stretch out the cost of our breast pump into a second nursing stint.  We have vitamin D drops made for breastfeeding that won't get used up, and most likely Carter won't need the rest of the expensive gripe water once he's officially switched over.  Oh, and I also spent a few bucks on a clearance nursing bra since I hated the ones I had.  Turns out I won't get the use out of that that I'd hoped.  I will miss the extra 500 calories a day, and I'm not looking forward to stinky spit-up and poop.  Even if I can't smell it myself, Craig can, and I won't know if I stink of spit-up when I go out in public.  Annoying.  I'm dreading dealing with engorgement as we ease off, because it is so uncomfortable and I'm not sure I know how to do this without dealing with it to some degree.  I'm dreading having to pack for traveling this weekend.  I've rarely had to deal with packing bottles and formula, so I have no idea how that will go.  And you know what's funny?  This is my second baby, and I feel like the most awkward bottle feeder ever!  I can probably count the number of bottles I had to feed Jacob on a few hands.  I had a week of medication that meant I had to pump and dump and just do formula, and beyond that there were probably a few bottles I fed him when we were out in public...but not many.  I feel so awkward doing it!

But for all the cons, there are a ton of things I'm looking forward to.  I need a big bright side here, since I know what I'm giving up is significant.  And yes, the dairy-filled diet is a big one, but it's nice to have some extra bonuses. 

1) Easy to feed in public - I know it's not hard to breastfeed in public, but it's awkward at times.  I guess it's always good to know you can do it if you have to, but you know, I rarely did.  I'd rather rush home with a crying baby than attempt it at a store or restaurant.  It's much easier to whip out a bottle and go to it.  No more hiding in another room or struggling with a blanket over my shoulder.

2) My clothes will fit - I don't have to worry as much about dressing myself when I head back to work because my chest should go down and most of my clothes should fit like they used to.  My stomach needs a bit of work, but heading back to the gym should help that soon enough.  The chest issue was a big one last time, and I'm relieved to not have to deal with that for much longer.

3) No more nursing-friendly clothes - I love wearing dresses in the summer, but nursing always made that hard.  Even this coming Sunday, Easter, I was worried about wearing a dress since I would have had to nurse.  Now I shouldn't have to worry about that.  My nursing bras also didn't always look right under some outfits, so I won't have to work around that either.

4) Freedom - Obviously when you're breastfeeding you are the sole source of nourishment for your child.  As a result, you're on the hook for everything.  Even if you're pumping and leaving milk, you need to make sure that everything's accounted for and you can make sure you will be comfortable if you're not nursing.  I went to a wedding once when Jacob was six months old, and while his needs were taken care of, by the time we got home I was so engorged!  One way or another you're either tethered to your baby or a breast pump, and it's hard to manage in some situations. 

5) Working out - On a related note, I'm looking forward to getting back in the gym.  I'm relieved that I don't have to worry about pumping beforehand, or having a bigger chest.  I'm looking forward to getting back to running, and I was concerned about calories in-calories out in that situation, to ensure that I wasn't burning too many calories to make adequate milk.  I also heard somewhere that too much lactic acid from working out could impact babies, too.  Guess we won't have to worry about that.  Of note in my mind is the Chase Corporate Challenge, which I ran in last year and wanted to get back into jogging shape for this year.  It's in late May and I was already thinking about pumping beforehand, and having full boobs by the end of it, and how all that would go.  Now that's not an issue either.

6) Bonding with Craig - Carter hasn't had much time to bond with Craig.  Between Craig working and being on roadtrips, and near-constant nursing in the evenings, Craig hasn't had to deal with Carter too much.  He's more preoccupied with Jacob, who requests Craig's attention most of the time when he's around.  Because I won't have to be the only feeder now, Craig can give Carter a bottle while I deal with Jacob.  The first bottle didn't go so well, but hopefully it'll get better as we go along. 

7) Bonding with Jacob - Per the point above, I need more time to spend with Jacob, and not having to be the sole nurser will help with that.  Even just Jacob's perspective of how much time I'm spending with Carter should improve.

8) Pumping at work - I'm relieved that I won't have to set aside a couple 20 minute breaks in my day to pump.  Inevitably there would be a meeting or something that would get in the way, or I'd be so busy that it was hard to get away.  It was always a little awkward to be pumping in the handicapped bathroom and washing out my equipment in the kitchen.

9) Breastmilk vs. formula bottles at daycare - I always found it very awkward to send some breastmilk bottles and some formula.  I could never pump enough for a full day of feedings, so I had no choice.  I was always nervous that they'd misuse the breastmilk or something.  Now it'll just be a bunch of formula!  Not sure how that will go, however...

10) Overnights - I won't miss the cold of night hitting my belly as I pull up my pajama top to nurse.  It may not be that cold in Carter's room, but it feels that way!  Also, when I go back to work, Craig can take a share of the night feedings, for the first time ever.  Let's hope by then that we don't have to worry about it--at least not for long--but the help would be nice!

11) Travel - My parents offered to take care of Carter for us when we finally do our make-up trip to Disney in the fall.  I wasn't so sure, because if I was nursing it would be easier to have Carter there than to pump and keep him fed all week.  However, now that isn't an issue, so perhaps we will take them up on the offer!  Same goes for weekend trips away and things like that.  Way less planning involved!

12) Birth Control and S-E-X - I'll now be able to go back on regular birth control, rather than the single-hormone variety that's used for nursing mothers.  In addition, my hormones will get back to normal sooner, which Craig will benefit from as well.  Last time I was characterized as having a post-menopausal vagina (I know....ewwww) because the hormones in my system made things very unaccommodating down there.  It was pretty miserable.  And, of course, the chest area was off-limits as well!  That shouldn't be an issue for too much longer!

13) Other medications - I will be able to go back to taking allergy medicine sooner, and if I get sick, I'll be able to take whatever I want.  I was pretty lucky through my pregnancy, but with two kids in daycare, I have to think that streak won't last!

14) That bottle of wine on my buffet - There has been a bottle of my favorite wine sitting on my buffet for a year.  I never drank it because we were trying to get pregnant, and then I was pregnant.  I am excited to drink it, along with the Mike's Hard Lemonade that's been taunting me at the grocery store and any other fun beverages that show up at family functions or other parties.  I'm not a big drinker, but it's nice to be able to partake when the opportunity arises!

Of course, all of this is assuming that Carter takes to the new formula okay and we can get things changed over all right.  He's fought us on a couple of the bottles and spit up a ton.  A couple of them have been fine, though, so it could still just be the milk proteins from my milk working their way out of his system.  He's spit up after breastfeeding, too, so who knows.  Part of me wants to rush through this weaning process to get the proteins out ASAP, but I don't want to shock him too much since he's fought bottles a bit so far.  I don't know if he's confused by going back and forth, though...that he's fighting bottles because he'd rather breastfeed, so he'll hold out for that instead of drinking his bottle.  I don't know if that's the case or not.  It's so hard watching him fight the bottles and hard to see him spit up afterward because sometimes it's such a large amount (but not large enough to concern the doctor, of course). 

Speaking of which, I'm thinking now that insurance won't cover the formula.  While they said they would (for $70/month), the doctor's office said that our insurance company almost always rejects the claims even with the doctor's approval.  I found some documentation that makes it sound like they will only approve it if the baby needs it to sustain life.  The insurance company mentioned something about growth charts, which I'm guessing they look at to see how the baby is faring.  The thing is, despite his issues, Carter has continued to grow.  However, my milk wasn't healthy for his digestive tract and it made him incredibly uncomfortable.  Yet they will think something else will work for him.  Ugh.  I'll keep looking into it, but I'm not getting my hopes up. 

So, for all the good, there's a little bad, and vice-versa.  We're working through the weaning, though, and we'll just deal however we can.  It's best for all of us.

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