This mothering thing is hard. And I’m not talking about my normal complaints of there’s so much to do, and not enough hours in the day, blah, blah, blah. I think I was expecting that part. The hardest thing about mothering is not knowing what to do, and feeling guilty and conflicted about the decisions I make. I wish I were more confident, and that I had stronger instincts. Some women talk about this mothering instinct that just takes over, but I don’t feel that, at least about the big things. I think the minute by minute stuff I can figure out, or instinct takes over, but what about the big things? Like getting your child to sleep at night, and when to start solids, or what I’m dealing with right now – why is my baby sick?
Alex was sent home on Thursday from daycare due to vomiting and diarrhea. She seemed incredibly happy still, just couldn’t keep everything down. Looked like your average stomach virus. And so we started a regimen of pedialyte and once she could keep that down for awhile, a little bit of breast milk or formula. Small and often meals, as directed by the doc. The last time she threw up was around noon on Saturday, and then the last time she had diarrhea was Saturday night. Upon the recommendation of the hubs (who, as a reminder, is not pro-breast feeding, and has been encouraging me to quit for months), we only fed her formula yesterday (Sunday). And she seemed fine. The daycare’s rule is she needs to be symptom free for 24 hours before she can return, so she was allowed to return today, but I chose to stay home with her and watch her. I wanted to make sure she was back to a full day of milk with no pedialyte before I sent her back to daycare. So I nursed her this morning like normal, except I made her take a break in the middle so she would have small and often meals instead of a lot of milk all at once. A few hours later, she threw up all over. And then an hour later, threw up some more. She seems to be reacting poorly to my breast milk. All the evidence over the last few days makes it look like she can keep formula down, but throws up breast milk.
And so, I’m thinking of quitting. I know I shouldn’t quit over a few days of maybe coincidences with a potentially sick baby, but it seems so odd. There’s no fever, she doesn’t act like anything’s wrong, except she throws up breast milk. I’ve actually been thinking of throwing in throwing in the breast feeding towel for awhile. I’m sick of pumping at work, and everything that is involved. I’ve spent five months (can you believe my baby is five months old???) fighting my low milk supply so she has always had formula as well as breast milk, and I’ve hated all of the supply issues, from the herbs to the domperidone, to the constant pumping. But I love knowing that I’m giving my baby immunities (yeah right – look how sick she is!) and I really like the physical act of nursing. I love how excited she gets when she sees my boobs and how she attacks me. I love how she looks up at me, and sometimes gets the biggest grin on her face, with milk spilling down her face. I love how if she wakes up in the middle of the night, all I have to do is grab her, bring her in my bed, give her a boob, and she drifts off happily to sleep. I will miss this so much.
But what if I’m making her sick? I called the doctor, and spoke with the nurse – she said it’s highly unlikely that I’m suddenly making her sick, that it’s a coincidence. But for the last five days, I’ve given her breast milk, and she pukes. And I give her formula, and she keeps it down. My husband of course thinks I should quit. He agreed to stay home from work tomorrow if she was sick, but now he thinks that it’s because I gave her breast milk, so he’s giving me a hard time about staying home.
I wish there was an answer, and that this decision was easier. I’m so conflicted. I want to do the best thing for Alex, but I feel like I’m poisoning her with my milk! At least with formula I know that it’s good for her. I think the most important time for breast feeding has passed – I got her through two rounds of shots, right? I thought I would fight stronger for breast feeding, but after infertility, and after my struggles with my milk supply, I no longer have confidence in my body to feed my child. In fact, I now think that I’m hurting her with it…