Apr 25, 2016

Dear Talitha {ten months}

Dear Talitha,

Four minutes.

That's how long you nursed yesterday morning. I know it was four minutes because I kept time on my phone. After that four minutes you refused milk the rest of the day. Today you didn't nurse at all.

You are on what they call a "nursing strike." This was only a vague concept to me before this week. I didn't really know what a strike entails or why they happen until you started arching your back and screaming at the very idea of breastfeeding a few days ago. After 9 1/2 months of nursing being the most regular and comforting rhythm of your day, now it's suddenly the worst thing that's ever happened to you.

I took you to the doctor to determine possible causes. She ruled out an ear infection. She ruled out thrush. Then she reached into your mouth and found the possible culprit... those big front teeth might finally be pushing through your gums. I can't see them yet, but I can feel one on the right side. Thankfully none of us remember how bad teething hurts, but I've heard people say it's the kind of pain some adults would visit the ER for. Poor girl.

I went into my pregnancy with you trying to keep an open mind and realistic expectations. My pregnancy, delivery, and baby stage with Zianne went so smoothly. We never had issues with her health, temperament, or development, but I knew not to expect that with every child. "Every baby is different," I repeated in my head often as my stomach grew and grew. I was prepared for different challenges with you... maybe you would struggle to eat or sleep or maybe I would have complications during labor. Anything was possible.

But then you came out and you were easier than I ever imagined. Zianne was a happy, easy baby, but you were even more laid-back. Your delivery was quick, you nursed well, and you slept well from the start. You were flexible about moving to a new state. You didn't even whimper when your first two bottom teeth popped up on Christmas Day. You've been my go-with-the-flow baby from the start. I kept waiting for possible problems to arise that would throw me for a loop as a second-time mom, but they never came. You've been a dream.

But now... suddenly... I don't know what to do. I finally understand the conflict of every mom out there who has had to make tough decisions about nursing or pumping or weaning, while battling guilt, helplessness, uncertainty, and hormones. Right now the pump is sitting out on the counter. I offer to nurse at every feeding, you refuse, and I turn on that blasted machine yet again. I am gearing myself up mentally for at least a month or two of exclusively pumping. I am wondering when I should introduce cow's milk. I am pondering if I should just go buy a can of formula. I'm praying this is truly just a "strike" and you return to nursing again like all the lactation consultants on Google say you will. I'm telling myself it will be okay even if this is the abrupt end to an era.

But mostly I feel inadequate to help you, my sweet girl. I know you are in pain. I know there is something wrong, but my "best" resource doesn't help. It's easy to feel like if I don't have milk to give you, I have nothing.

But I know that's not true. I have love for you. And my love is greater than milk, even the liquid gold variety. In love, I will keep pumping to feed you. Or in love, I will give it up and find another food source that works best for our whole family. We'll get through this baby girl. My love for you has no limit. You can keep time on a stopwatch if you want, but you'll see those seconds tick by forever.

All my love,

P.S. I am happy to report after 4-5ish days, the strike ended! But I thought I would post this any way, since I wrote it in the moment and it describes life with T-Bean at ten months of age.

1 comment:

  1. Hannah4/25/16, 12:18 PM

    So glad the strike is over! My little guy did the same thing and I didn't know what to do. I offered to nurse each time and then pulled the pump out. I was so very glad when the strike was over! Hopefully you are able to continue nursing until she is one - or later, whichever your intentions are and she won't go on any more strikes. It's always so hard to know what to do!

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