Thank you everyone again for coming to this neurotic new mom's rescue!
All you comments and e-mails channeling positive energy and sharing your personal experience really helped get me through this past week, as I learned how some of you have gone through the exact same struggle with breastfeeding and the dilemma with formula.
I've since ditched the whole "breastfeed or perish" mantra (where did that come from? More later in this post), and accepted that whatever works for us will have to do.
But here's the ironic thing... no sooner than I semi-gave-up on this whole breastfeeding deal, that things started turning the corner for us. Maybe it's the more relaxed attitude, or the help (i.e. the super potent steroid/antimicrobial cocktail unguent) we got from the lactation consultant, or just sheer luck (or stubborness), breastfeeding has gradually become less like a contact sport (involving lots of sweat and tears), the pain more manageable (I no longer compare that to childbirth itself), and has gone from "there's no way I can do this" to "this is hard but it could be manageable".
We're still supplementing, and I still don't know what the future holds for us in this department, I'm just glad that feeding time no longer resemble interrogation at Guantanamo Bay.
At this eerily calm feeding session at 4 a.m. this morning, staring down at Eva contently attached to my breast, I suddenly realized why new moms (or at least I) am so emotionally charged when it comes to breastfeeding...
For nine long months, you're physically connected to this being in every way. You grow and nurture her without ever having to think about it. It just happens. But when she's born, all of a sudden she's no longer physically attached to and dependent on you. Everything that she needs- diaper change, burping, holding and loving, even feeding if formula is used, can be provided by someone else. It feels as if breastfeeding her is the last visceral connection you can still have with your baby. Being able to breastfeed provides the validation that emotionally vulnerable new moms (i.e. I) need in order to feel "needed" by their babies. In other words, I'm selfishly breastfeeding her more for myself than for her.
Well, at least that's my theory.
By the way, today's my birthday, which I almost forgot if hubby didn't remind me yesterday. It means so much more now that I've given birth to Eva to know what happened today 30 some years ago when my mom pushed me out to this world (and without an epidural too, thanks, mom!) Apparently my parents will be looking after Eva while hubby takes me out to dinner tonight. I've heard of new moms breaking down in tears at their first outings without their babies. I'll let you know how ours go!
Here are some random pictures from this past week (sorry for the poor quality as they're from hubby's phone, don't have time to whip out the "real" camera...) Enjoy!