Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Detroit Strike

If you've been following the news lately, you've heard about the UAW strikes at GM and Chrysler. Ford talks are looming on the horizon. If you happen to live in the Detroit environs, you get "Breaking News" flashes at all sorts of times to tell you that the talks have recessed because someone needed to sleep, eat, or shit.

We've had our own striking action chez Cricket. And the management (I think that's me) has not gotten very far with the babe. In fact, I think the strike may have ended and we're at permanent shut down status.

Nursing. I fear it may be over.

Today a friend from my La Leche group sent out the best picture ever of herself nursing her toddler, and I cried. How I wanted to be that mommy. I just knew that I was going to nurse Cricket until he was at least a year, and then I smugly added, "I'll just let him determine when we'll stop nursing." In my head, I was thinking that I might have to seriously address the issue sometime in the spring, when I imagine heading back to the RE for baby two attempts.

We were going strong with the nursing too. Cricket is an exuberant feeder, opening his little baby bird mouth really wide and almost making a chomp noise as he came in for the milk. And even though I'm fairly crazed with school (can you tell, no posts from me?) we were still nursing right on schedule. I'm very lucky that his daycare program is located in the same building as my classes. In fact, his room is directly underneath one of my classrooms. So at lunch I'd go downstairs and nurse the baby. Nothing was changed other than location, and that was only once a day.

We got through the initial biting stuff too. When cutting his first teeth (Shit! Teeth! Growing up!), we nipped it in the bud and it seemed like it wouldn't be a problem. Then the fifth tooth started niggling toward the gum border, and man, he chomped down on me. I promptly removed him, told him no bite, and then he refused to nurse on that side again. I changed him to the other side, he nursed, fell asleep, and that was that.

Until I picked him up from school, whereupon he pushed my breasts away-- there was no uncertainty-- he just didn't want them near him at all. He screamed. And this happened no matter what. Over the past few weeks we've tried the bath, playing with the shirt off so he could come back to the breast on his own terms, we've tried early morning sleepy, late evening sleepy, middle of the night sleepy, and sleep itself. We've tried to not push the breast and push the breast. And you know what? He's just not buying it. No, I haven't changed soaps, detergents, deodorants, or anything else.

He reaches for the bottle. God.

(Not that the bottle is inherently bad, I just never saw it coming. It doesn't even bother me as much to see him reach for his teachers at school as it bothers me the bottle reaching. Who knew that this strike would feel so much like a rejection of me? I can't explain why it's made me feel so personally like a bad mother. Like I must have done something to make him stop. Sigh. Here I am again with the vast conspiracy of motherhood guilt.)

Consequently, as with all strikes, auto and otherwise, production is slowed. It's slowed so much that my previously unprecedented production was supplemented for the first time this morning. With the F-word. More distressing news from the picket lines? He didn't even blink when the bottles switched from breast milk to formula. Oh, child. How I am betrayed.

I'm still pumping, but getting only around 6 oz a day. I'm trying to tell myself it's worth it to keep pumping until he's a year, but it's getting rough. He doesn't seem to care whether he's getting breast milk or formula; he's a gordito, so I'm not worried about weight gain; he really enjoys non-breast milk food; we both seem to still be very bonded despite the strike.

So what do I do? Consider this an extended strike and keep trying to get him back on the breast? Figure this stint has run it's plan and shut the factory down? Or keep trying to produce even the limited production we have now?

Consider this the management looking for new negotiators and let me know what you think. Of course that's hoping that there is anyone still reading this poor neglected (but loved!) blog.

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10 Comments:

Blogger Col said...

Hi, I'm a mom and native Michigander (now in Boston) who enjoys your blog on occasion.

Re: nursing, I would just let it go. He's telling you he's done-- he doesn't need it anymore. Some kids really do wean themselves!

When I stopped nursing my son (at about 14 mos, but we had been supplementing with formula for several months), I wondered how I would comfort him if he woke at night, and worried at how much I would miss the cuddly nursing times. It turned out fine, and I found I didn't miss it as much as I thought I would. I sure didn't miss the pump!

Congratulations on making it this far-- you've given him a wonderful start, and your baby is growing up!

12:08 PM  
Blogger Anna said...

I know, when he reaches for th bottle, it's like a little stab in your heart, isn't it? *Sigh*

Cricket seems to be saying he's had enough, which is okay logically, but emotionally it's a hard hit. You've done beautifully and should be proud of Cricket and yourself. Listen to him; if he's really done, that's okay. I know it's just disappointing because you were hoping to nurse longer... Darn those expectations! Sending you lots of hugs.

12:33 PM  
Blogger Eliza said...

Aw, Katie :( I don't have any ideas for you on this one, but I hear ya. I never got past fourteen weeks with any of mine for medical reasons, and felt like a failure as a mammal--I was going to be the one nursing the two-year-old, too. Until I actually had the first kid. Why oh why does it hurt so much??? I don't know. The only good thing I have to offer is that the pain does fade; I still sometimes look at my youngest (25 months! My BABY! AGGHHH!) while the little bug is asleep in my arms and think wouldn't it be nice if I could nurse the babe to sleep, but hardly ever, and I don't worry about it at ALL anymore with the older two. So, um, bigger and better angst awaits you? I'm sorry you're having a hard time--I think you should do what you are most comfortable with. If it's any consolation at all, you have my eternal admiration for being able to get Cricket to nurse in the first place, all things considered, and I think you've done a terrific job.

12:41 PM  
Anonymous Jenn said...

I used to think it was bull that kids would self-wean before a year, but around 9-10 months, Nick lost all intrest. He would actualy fake nurse to appease me and get it over quicker. I kept offering for about two months when I realized he was done and I should push it. Kim gave me some good advice which was don't offer but don't refuse. I tried that, not offering one of normal feedings, and they didn't even notice. The next week I stop offering another feeding and only once or twice did they actually want to nurse when I didn't offer. I nurse the last time the day after their birthday and they never seemed to notice.

I was sad, but I also realized that that's the way it should be. It shouldn't be a traumatic thing and if they were happy, then I needed to accept it. They were old enough (I can't remember how old Cricket is) that I just started giving them cow milk instead of formula (this was around 10 months). Their diet was varied enough that I felt they didn't need formula.

12:57 PM  
Blogger Mandy said...

You need to do what's best for you and Cricket. Plain and simple. I know that probably isn't much help.

We went through something similar, although I was dealing with supply issues before she weaned. For two months I tried everything I could to get my supply to a point where she was satisfied. After the reglan started causing anxiety and depression issues, I quit taking it. My supply tanked to the point where I could only pump 1/2oz total after 45 minutes. Katie started refusing the breast and biting. She wouldn't latch at all so we had to start supplementing with formula. She took to it immediately and it broke my heart. With the little amount I was getting by pumping I decided to go right to formula, 100%. For us that was the best decision. I had originally wanted to nurse at least a year and I had to come to grips with not making that goal. It was tough; I cried for days.

Sometimes I think it's better to stop pumping and go 100% to formula. I felt it was more important to have the time with Katie than to always be hooked to the stupid pump. Like I said though, you need to make that decision for yourself. No matter what you decide to do, just know that you've done a fantastic job so far and the most important thing you can give Cricket is LOVE!

3:13 PM  
Blogger Jen said...

Oh, Katie, I am so sorry. It sounds like you have tried everything. I haven't been there so I can't offer any experience-based advice. I wish I could. Instead I will send you hugs, lots and lots of them.

4:14 PM  
Blogger Suz said...

I know nothing about nursing but I do know that pumping is hard. Having only made it to three months, I can tell you that a year sounds like a really long time to me!

But I also wanted to reply to your comment on my blog and don't have your email. I have no idea where the list is on Library Thing and got it off another blog! I think that someone just did a search and came up with those titles - they might be different if another search was done. Sorry I can't be more scientific about it!

9:35 PM  
Blogger Whozat said...

Talk to your La Leche League leader. I know they have advise to offer about nursing strikes. Best of luck!

11:38 AM  
Blogger Emilin said...

There was a time around this age for Sanna that every single nursing session had to take place in the bedroom with the lights low. Anything else was too much stimulation, even if no one else was in the room, no radio, nothing. But it sounds like you've tried that. The only other thing I would suggest is having him in a sling while you're topless.

On pumping/not giving up, know that my advice comes from having not gotten enough support to do what I want WRT nursing when we struggled. If ending the hope of nursing and giving up pumping upsets you, don't end it. You'll know when you're ready.

3:11 PM  
Anonymous Beth said...

Several weeks ago, our Little Miss (nine months old tomorrow!) would only nurse if we were in a quiet room, with low light, with her positioned on the Brest Friend, and her favorite blanky in hand. And then she stopped nursing altogether.

I'm refusing to give up pumping - I've been pumping more often in an effort to increase my supply, since the pump gets less than she does. And, wow, I'm quite clumsy with the bottle!

10:08 PM  

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