2am. Evan is whining in his bassinet. Time to feed. I pick up my precious baby boy; stroke his pale, soft skin and smile. “I love you so much,” I whisper, “even though you’re killing Mami’s boobs. They’re sore, chapped, and as hard as fake Beverly Hills’ tetas.” Evan looks at me and cries. “Ok, ok, cheche monster. You can take my teta.””
Rinse and repeat at 3am, 4:30am, 6am and every hour/hour and a half for 24 hours, 7 days a week. I’m the star of the Latina version of Groundhog’s Day. You know, since Mami bitches at me daily to give Evan formula because “la leche de seno no llena!” and “ese niño se queda con hambre!”
Why is my mother so down on breastfeeding? Why is she convinced that my breast milk isn’t enough to satiate my baby? Well, I was a formula baby and, if you were born in the 70s/early 80s, you probably were too. Formula feeding was the shit back then. I’m not sure why, but I’m pretty sure you were treated like a leper if you did breastfeed. Now the tables have turned. Mention the word “formula” and prepare to be met with judgmental stares, lectures about the dangers of formula (you’re kid will be FAT!) and to be labeled a “bad mom” by The Leche League.
I guess I’m a bad mom.
I loathe breastfeeding. After three weeks I want to quit. I want to cry every time I have to get Evan to latch on correctly, every time he nibbles too hard, every time he chokes on my overflow. I loathe that I loathe the experience. I feel guilty because I love my baby and want to give him the best and, as you know and every one and their momma (unless their my momma) tells you, “Breast is best.”
I feel like a failure. I feel like I am letting Evan and Boo down. I feel like I should suck it up even though breastfeeding is triggering postpardom depression.
So I keep going. I sacrifice for Evan. At least for a few more days. To maintain my sanity, I decide to exclusively pump. But my body just can’t take feeding him every hour – even from a bottle – to later pump every 3 hours. I decide to formula feed him at night.
I feel terrible, guilt-ridden, depressed, devastated with my decision. At 2am, when Evan whines in his bassinet, hungry for milk and the comfort of my teta, I pick him up; stroke his pale, soft skin and cry. I feed him his bottle while snorting my snot. I wish to be the mother he needs me to be, one that gives him everything he wants always – even my chapped, tender nipples – but I just…can’t.