Breast vs. Bottle
This is a doozy - deciding whether to formula-feed or breast-feed. Since I've done both, I feel compelled to offer my opinion about both methods, both of which were the best decision that I could have made for my child. The formula-fed child is gorgeous and healthy and I loved watching him grow into himself. The breast-fed child is gorgeous and healthy and I loved watching him grow into himself.
Whichever you decide, know this: She will grow and thrive and love you.
1. Anyone can do it. Even your husband who may try to claim ignorance. Don't let him. He can and WILL feed the child you both created. So there.
1 b) This means you can shower. Alone. For at least 20 minutes, 25 if burping takes awhile.
2. It doesn't hurt.
3. You can eat tons of spicy food and drink a glass of wine celebrating parenthood without worrying that you're risking your child's future mathematical skills.
4. As long as you have water and a bottle, you can feed the baby pretty much anywhere.
5. Around Month Six or so, you can prop the bottle in your baby's hands and she can feed herself.
5 b) You can shower.
6. There is no awkward fumbling about with clasps on your bra or worrying about exposing yourself to passerby. Or your father.
7. It's good for your baby, providing valuable vitamins and nutrients and other such yummy goodness.
1. It can be expensive. If you buy the ready-made tins, you'll pay for the privilege and the powdered stuff involves measuring and teaspoons, which is a LOT to deal with at 3 a.m.and you've been awake since yesterday.
2. It involves measuring and teaspoons and access to hot water at all times.
3. You may find that your child's sensitive digestive system does not appreciate certain formulas. Half-open and discarded tins of various formula brands will pile up alarmingly in your recycling box until you find the right one.
4. The poop of a formula-fed baby is, quite possibly, the worst smell known to man. Unless you've wandered into my house after Luke has filled his diapers, at which point, your baby's poop will smell like roses. I'm just saying.
1. Breast milk is free.
2. Breast milk is always the perfect temperature and portable.
3. Although a light breeze going by hurts them, your boobs look absolutely fan-friggin'-tastic in ANY shirt you own. Take photos because they will never be this high and smokin' hot again. Trust me.
4. It's good for your baby, providing vitamins and nutrients and other yummy goodness ending in "oxidants."
5. If conversations bore you or you just want to drift off for 20 minutes, you can use nursing as an excuse to leave the room. Ditto for any social obligation that you resent having to fulfill: wedding, funeral, baby shower, Pampered Chef party...
6. You are, literally, growing a human being with your body. Powerful, heady stuff.
1. Nursing hurts.
Holy mother of God, it hurts so much - in the beginning - that your toes curl at the mere thought of nursing and you've taken to hunching over while walking because every time your baby so much as whimpers, your milk lets down and you're simply assuming the position in advance. This too shall pass. Eventually.
Everyone will have an opinion about the state/shape/size/dimension and usefulness of your nipples. You will find yourself talking about your nipples with strangers in the ER, the Health Unit or the nursing room at Sears. Some of those strangers may even reach out as though they mean to TOUCH your nipples, especially women who've nursed so many children they consider themselves honourary lactation consultants.
Here are some examples of the sorts of things you will ponder or be asked. Or both:
Are they inverted? Why are there hairs on them?
Is the baby sucking them so that they look like a lipstick, and if so, is she creating the right shape for the nipstick, because it's supposed to matter.
Do your nipples bleed or itch and why are that woman's purple?
Is the baby getting enough nipple or not enough?
Does she prefer one to the other and in the name of all that's holy, will the ever stop feeling like they're on fire?
This too shall pass.
It's itchy and painful - like the yeast infection it actually is, just not in the spot you'd previously envisioned before reading this - and makes you crave bread and sweets and then you fart. A lot. (Which is neither here nor there, except that you may have noticed that since giving birth, farts ripple from areas of your body not previously known for flatulence. Anything you can do to alleviate that sort of weirdness is recommended.)
You can get a prescription for thrush, but it involves the coating of nipples and then rinsing before nursing, so be warned. Gentian Violet is purple and you coat it on your nipples before nursing, too, only the baby will suckle it off, which a) saves you from having to rinse your nips 5,678 times a day and b) coats her tiny, perfect mouth and rids it of any lingering yeast.
Take the drugs.
Speaking of boobs....
S-E-X (alt. title: Are you effing kidding me?)
You're gonna have to do it again, sometime. Perhaps even sometime soon. If you have a wise and compassionate OBGYN or midwife, s/he will write a note to your husband, excusing you from sex for the next three months. It's unlikely, but s/he might, if you ply her with wine and chocolates first.
If you have any friends or relations who "did the deed" before their six-week check up, make certain that they do NOT, under any circumstance, mention this fact in front of your husband.
If you have "that" friend or relation who insists that she made gentle love in the hospital bed mere hours after pushing a human being into the world through her vagina, stop speaking to her immediately. NEVER speak to her again. If YOU are that woman then even thought we're neighbours, you'll understand that I can no longer speak to you.
Let's say you did not receive a "get-out-of-sex" card and are
It's gonna hurt. Maybe a lot. Maybe for several months afterward. BUT:
It gets better. You may find yourself buying stocks in lube and wine from the County, but it does get better.
Now snuggle up with your daughter. Tomorrow, we'll talk about sleep and why housework is overrated.