With all the excitement about Eric transitioning to the floor... errr.. I mean, his toddler bed, I neglected to mention that Rachel has (finally!) stopped rejecting the bottle. Laurie, John, and I have been working with her all summer, but we kept coming up against the same routine over and over again: Rachel would be able to eat from a bottle. There would be much rejoicing, and then I would spend a day (ok, maybe 2 or 3) nursing her because I want her to be able to take a bottle and breastfeed. And then we would give her a bottle, which she would bulk at, and the cycle would continue.
The day Eric climbed out of his crib, Rachel decided to drain bottle after bottle. Turns out she hated the formula we were giving her. She now would rather drink from a bottle. This is great turn of events because it means I can get out and have a date that lasts longer than 3 hours. It also sucks in that she now barely nurses, and my boobs are killing me!
I remember when I was pregnant with Eric. I had read all the literature on breastfeeding, and there was no way I would introduce a foreign substance filled with crazy artificial crap to my baby. Then the reality of breastfeeding set in, and I realized that it wasn't easy. Having to feed Eric every 2-3 hours around the clock made me want to shoot myself. Then again, it could have been the postpartum depression. I don't do well on less than 6 hours of sleep a night, and I was a wreck for weeks. Eric would nurse for awhile, then stop latching on and scream his head off. And then I got an infection which forced me to switch to formula.
That infection turned out to be a life-saver. While it was a pain to mix and wash bottles every day, it made Eric thrive and allowed me the freedom to give bottle duty to my husband, family, and even friends who were thrilled (for some odd reason) about feeding my baby. John and I could go away for weekends without the baby! I lost weight; my breasts didn't hurt. For those shorts trips, I felt like I could be someone besides a mom...
... And I felt horribly guilty. Was I a bad mother for not nursing my son? Am I a bad mother for weaning my daughter onto formula at only 4 months? What about all the research that suggests I was/am hurting their health, their IQ, and their ability to bond with me (among other things)?
I can't speak yet for Rachel. But Eric is 19 months old, and I sometimes wish formula had dumbed him down a bit. That little rascal can figure out an electronic device in record time and has never had a cold, much less an illness (though I'm not complaining about his health!). And it apparently didn't hurt the bonding process because he's now permanently attached to my leg.
Maybe Rachel won't fare as well, but I've discovered that there really are different strokes for different folks. I love seeing women breastfeed their babies, and I feel such pride in what their doing. I also see women feeding their babies formula, and I wonder if they suffered through the guilt that I did. I hope they feel as good about the choice they've made as I have.
I will never understand why we women can be so judgmental on our own sex. It's bad enough that society tells us we should all be a size 2, June Cleaver for our kids, and sex pots for our husbands. What about us? Motherhood has made me feel lost at times. Does it make every woman feel as if she's lost her bearings? Do other moms get pissed off that they always put their families over themselves, as I do? Do other moms feel like they have to choose between their identity as the person they once knew and someone they may or may not want to become?
Or am I totally nuts?