Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Giving My Breast Effort

It took me eight weeks to stumble upon the recipe that saved my breastfeeding relationship with Eva. It's top secret, but I'll let you in on the key ingredients: nipple butter and coffee. Breastfeeding for us has, unfortunately, been at risk since Day One. First it was a latching problem. Then it was mastitis, a breast infection that attacks your body much like a vicious flu, the only startling difference being a delirium-inducing pain shooting through your breast every time you feed your child. Think stabbing your nipple with a sharp object, then shoving it just a few inches deeper into the depths of your breast. That's mastitis. Then it was mastitis again- only this time my fever reached an apex of 104.5 degrees and included a cheery trip to the ER. "Give that shit up already," seems to be the motto of family and friends. Though I can understand why they see "sadomasochist" stamped on my forehead, I just can't give it up. I am as incapable of stopping breastfeeding as Charlie Sheen is of being a douchebag. 

Why, you might ask? I'm convinced that Eva has a dark power of possession. She owns my breasts and it is something that I cannot control. Aside from black magic, however, there are some logical reasons I am so attached to our breast-milking relationship. A substantial decrease in the incidence of childhood leukemia, childhood obesity, autoimmune disorders and other illnesses in breastfed infants is one. The fact that it provides optimal nutrition for the first six months of Eva's life is another. While I respect those that "love" committing approximately eight hours of each day to allow your child to suck at your teat and exchanging sleep at night for your child's well-being, I'm certainly not one of those idealists. Quite frankly, I don't find it to be very enjoyable at all. Sometimes I break into a cold sweat as Eva approaches my breast. I fear her aggressive latch and the stink-eye she shoots my way as she grabs my nipple like a crocodile shaking its prey to its demise. Actually, it's kind of cute. No, really it is. Painful, but endearing.

Ok, I'll get to my point. I feed Eva from my breast because I don't want her to suffer. Not like I have. Exclusive breastfeeding for at least four months has been proven to reduce the incidence of Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis by as much as 40%. Taking this preventative measure is worth a lifetime of nipple bleeding, sleep deprivation, delirious fevers and anxiety. If there is anything I can do to save her a lifetime of pain, I will do it. Each time I toy with the idea of quitting, I gaze into her big puppy eyes and cry. Hysterically. No, Eva, I won't give up. I won't give up on you. I'm your Mama, and I'll do everything I can to protect you from those vicious poop diseases. Every. Damn. Thing. 

It's been almost nine weeks now and breastfeeding is far from kink-free for us. Each feeding is a new attempt. A clean slate. If I ever slept, I would dream of a pain-free, illness-free breastfeeding relationship for me and my little one. For now, I focus on the fact that each bleeding nipple and every high fever represents pain that I can endure so my Eva doesn't have to. Maybe it's just a little bit, but maybe it's a lot. Either way, breastfeeding has made me feel like a mother more than any experience thus far. In fact, it has taught me what it takes to be a mother: Big, huge balls and even bigger tits.

1 comment:

  1. Good for you. I didn't have the pain but I understand the fear. My husband suffered from uc and we are still suffering thru the 2nd surgery. Our daughter was born 2 weeks after his firdt surgery. I fought to nurse her as much as possible, as long as possible (8 1/2 months ) in hopes that she won't have to suffer from this terrible disease. Thanks for sharing! Good job!