Monday, May 07, 2007


I have a brutal cold right now. I was complaining, "How could I possibly be sick when I'm the most conscientious hand-washer on the planet?" and my husband pointed out that when you don't leave the house for a year and then go and ride the subway every day, you're bound to catch something.

Of course, Bat Girl caught my cold too. (So did my husband, but he can take care of himself.) It's her first sickness--the first of many, I know, but that doesn't make it any easier--or alleviate the guilt I was already feeling at leaving her to go to work, now double since my going to work is indirectly responsible for her being sick now.

Although she has a sad little cough and runny nose, I'm taking some small comfort in the fact that she isn't nearly as sick as I am, and I'm hoping the fact that she's getting my breastmilk (with the antibodies I'm making against this cold) will mean she'll recover more quickly than she would otherwise. Of course, being crazy, I also can't help thinking that maybe if I wasn't pumping, I'd be better rested/less harassed and therefore less run-down, and wouldn't have gotten sick in the first place.

Again, she had to get sick eventually, and I guess I should just be thankful that it's relatively minor...and that our pediatrician has weekend office hours. I called in sick to work today and Bat Girl is sleeping all snuggled up on my chest in the sling, so there are some compensations.


Dr. G. directed me to take the domperidone for eight weeks, then slowly taper off both it and the herbs (fenugreek and blessed thistle). (Remind me that someday I want to write a whole post about everything I've done to build supply, as well as how I pump etc.) This Friday will mark eight weeks exactly. And I've decided to begin weaning this coming weekend, with the goal of being totally weaned off the pump by the second weekend in June, when we're going to my in-laws' for the weekend. Not sure yet if I'm going to taper off the meds or just go cold turkey--I think I'll taper, but more quickly than I would have if I were continuing to pump.

I love giving my baby breastmilk. But I hate what I have to do to get it. I will probably always regret that I have to give her formula, but I won't regret no longer having to be chained to the pump for hours a day, or having to listen to or see her squealing happily alone on her playmat while I sit three feet away bonding with a pair of plastic cones. Before this all happened, I had always wanted to breastfeed for at least a year. Depending on how long it takes for my milk to dry up, Bat Girl will have gotten breastmilk for 3.5-4 months, which is way longer than I thought I would ever stick with it back from the vantage point of two weeks postpartum.

This was a tough decision. And Bat Girl being sick right now almost made me reconsider (in addition to making me think, on the contrary, "WTF am I working so hard at pumping if she's going to get sick anyway?!?"). But exclusively breastfed babies get sick too, and formula fed babies can be healthy and happy. And I just can't do it anymore. I am done.


Blogger MsPrufrock said...

You know...I felt really guilty after I stopped breastfeeding, and assumed I would continue feeling that way forever. Guess what? I don't anymore. Now that I have some distance from the whole debacle, I know I did what I could for her. I've said to you before (and you've heard it elsewhere a thousand times) - you have done as much as you could, and Bat Girl will not suffer in the least from your decision. No point pumping like a madwoman if you're exhausted and sick all the time.

Don't worry dear, there is plenty of stuff in your mommyhood future to feel guilty about. Ha!

5:02 PM  
Anonymous Rona Michelson said...

I remember being disappointed when I couldn't breastfeed my first child. I tried again with the second and when the poor child looked like she was starving, I again stopped. I didn't even try with the third or fourth, but with my fifth and last child, I was successful. All of the children grew up healthy, loved, and secure. I held and cuddled all of them while feeding them and whether they were breastfed or bottlefed, they all received the nurturing they needed.

12:42 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

Please don't feel bad. My son is exclusively breastfed and I hardly ever get sick yet still at 12 weeks of age he got bronchilitus (sp?) that landed him in the emergency room twice and had him throwing up for two weeks.

So... it happens. Breast milk or no breast milk. I think being able to play with Bat Girl and not feeling so tied down is WAY worth it!!

4:04 PM  

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