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Choosing

standard August 9, 2007 2 responses

“I just want to make sure that I’m doing the right thing for everyone.” I sobbed into M’s chest this morning, caught in the grip of a complete hormonal meltdown. Little L refused to sleep anywhere other than in my arms all night and was up half the night. I was tired and hormonal and seriously questioning my decision to nurse.

Little L is a natural nurser. She latched on perfectly from day one and she’s an avid eater. Now that I’ve learned that hour long nursing sessions are perfectly normal for newborns I’m convinced that we could really have a successful nursing relationship.

So then, you ask, what’s the problem?

The problem is me. I’m just not sure I want to nurse. I know! Heresy! Madness! What is she saying! That’s so wrong! If I had read that when I was painfully pumping for C, I would have been pissed. How dare someone for whom nursing seems to be going so well treat it with such levity, such disrespect?

It’s horrible, but I want my life back. I want a schedule. I want some sort of predictable routine. I feel pretty neutral about nursing, I can take it or leave it. I’m fine with my children having formula, and while I know that breast is best, blah blah, I also think that we have to do what’s right for everyone in our family, including me.

When I was on leave after C’s birth I spent a lot of time and effort making sure she was ready to transition smoothly to daycare. She was able to nap pretty much anywhere, she could eat from a variety of bottles, she drank her breast milk and formula both at room temp or straight from the fridge. My breast feeding goal was to make sure that she got at least 4 oz of breast milk a day, though we were usually closer to 10 oz. I spent a lot of time attached to my pump in order to make that happen, time I wasn’t spending with my daughter or husband.

Secretly it wasn’t so bad. All that time was my own. Hours during the day where I had to sit and do nothing, care for no one, focus on me. When I returned my pump to the hospital I lost my right to hours of uninterrupted free time each day. Now that I’m nursing rather than pumping I’m still getting the downtime, but it’s not spent alone.

I’m worried that Little L will become too dependent on me for comfort. I’m worried that her transition to daycare will be more traumatic because of the nursing. I’m worried that M won’t be as close to her as he is to C. He already feels like he can’t offer her comfort because he can’t feed her. I’m worried that C will not get the attention she deserves. I’m spending so much time attached to Little L that I just can’t focus on her the way she so desperately needs. And most importantly I’m worried that I’ll lose even more of myself. For months now I’ve felt swallowed whole by my roles as wife, mother, and employee, I just don’t think I can find myself any time soon if I’m constantly acting as a human bottle and pacifier.

And yet? I feel horrible guilt at the thought of quitting. I don’t know if it’s just societal pressure, I don’t know if it’s knowing how hard many people find nursing. I just know that it’s not a choice that I can make lightly.

********************
In other news… the evening alone with both girls went without a hitch. C was a little moody and grumpy, but everyone survived.

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2 responses

  • Poor you! It is so difficult getting the balance right… but you are doing great.

    Something that worked for me with my second baby was introducing a soother early on and then she didn’t use me as one like my first daughter had! It also meant I didn’t resent the time spent feeding as it wasn’t constant.

    I also bought myself a Medela mini electric pump and often expressed from one side as my baby breastfed from the other – not easy at first but it really worked well. It meant that I got to do two things at once (which we women seem to like!) and then my hubby could feed the baby whilst I rested or did other things.

    I remember finding it really difficult splitting my time between two children at the beginning; but by making a few adjustments to my routine or lack of one 🙂 we managed to keep breastfeeding for 16 months and my daughter is very independent.

    It’s my third child that is the hard one now! LOL

    I hope this helps in some way, but please try not to put too much pressure on yourself; think about chatting to your doctor in case you have post natal depression which is extremely common and often easily treated with counselling and/ or antidepressants (and you can continue to breastfeed with many newer antidepressants if that’s what you want).

    Sending warm wishes your way 🙂

  • OK, I am just going to throw a few things out there, maybe something will help….

    Is C back in daycare? If not, I would think about putting her back in. It will give you some down time and allow her to continue her routine.

    You can still nurse and make a choice to not be a human pacifier by offering a real pacifier which I think you have already done.

    Let M give L a bottle of formula every day. We did that from the beginning with LG for other reasons but then stuck to it.

    Lastly, remember this is all just as new as the first time you came home with C. You have never been a mom of 2 before and you for sure haven’t learned the balance yet. I wouldn’t quit yet. Give it a bit more time to get your hormones worked out and then maybe you can make the best decision for all of you, not one of a hormonal haze.

    Thinking of you…..

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