Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Cry me a river

It is amazing how closely linked your body is to your emotional state. Breastfeeding is proof. We are struggling to get Eloise to take the bottle. The idea behind expressing milk and giving her a bottle every once in awhile is to give me a break and to let the Frenchman have some bonding time with his daughter. If all went well we even thought we could dream big and hand her over to a trusting friend for an evening while we attempt to have a meal where I don't have one boob sticking out of my top and a sleeping baby in my lap.

They said not to try giving her a bottle until around 4 weeks and breastfeeding was well established. So at 4 weeks on the dot, I expressed some milk into a bottle, waited for the little beast to let me know she was hungry and popped the bottle in her mouth. She took it right away, sucking with gusto, content in my arms. She's a genius I thought! A perfect baby! Every new mother's dream!

She hasn't done it since. The devious little darling has cried, spat out, coughed up every bottle we have tried to give her after that first time. We have tried warming the bottle, we have tried me leaving the room while the Frenchman takes over, we have tried the Frenchman wearing my sweater while feeding (unfortunately he didn't take my suggestion of wearing my dress and lip gloss). We have tried different bottles. Nothing works. And I think back to that first time, where she took the bottle without hesitation. Eloise wants me to know the problem isn't that she can't eat from a bottle, the problem is that she won't eat from a bottle.

After getting some advice from other mothers, I was made to understand that this bottle feeding business isn't always easy, and we need to persevere. So for the next 2 weeks we are sacrificing our morning sleep to train our baby to give up the boob for one feed a day. The Frenchman will wake up at the first sounds of Eloise sucking on her hand stumble downstairs and set the bottle sterilizer in motion and warm up the bottle which I will have prepared yesterday. I will then stumble downstairs leaving him to go back up and feed Eloise while I put together the pump and suck out tomorrow morning's feed.

Now here's the tricky part. If Eloise doesn't take the feed from her father she will have to wait until her next feed to eat. Which means we will have to endure a hungry crying baby at 6am until she twigs that if she wants to break the fast she will need to suck on that faux nipple because sweetheart? : There is nothing else on the menu.

For the start of this mutual torture, we woke up this morning to create tomorrow's feed. I fed her from one boob first while the Frenchman sterilized the pump. I then put her to bed and went downstairs to express the other boob. If only it were that easy. The stress of what we are about to embark on. The stress that if it doesn't work I might have a child attached to my breast until she goes to university. The stress and guilt of what we are putting not just ourselves through, but out daughter through just so I can have a few hours break from being someone's food dispenser. All this stress means that my milk won't budge. Half asleep with the BBC on in the background I pump and pump and nothing comes out. I turn up the baby monitor so I can hear her little murmurs in hopes that will help. Nothing. The ability to pump; to make this work means my freedom, and that pressure is too much. I keep pumping. My hand is hurting. It looks like I might be awhile so I start watching the BBC news in earnest. And then something happens. Prince William is on the BBC. He's talking about how he wants to devote more time to charity. He says that even if he helps one person it will be worth it. He is hugging a young girl. And my milk is flowing like tears.

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