Friday, April 15, 2011

What Mother's Instinct?

By his third day home, N5 was no longer the quiet, content baby we brought home. He wasn't sleeping, was inconsolable and was using an unbelievable number of diapers! Nursing N5 was just another chore like cleaning the toilets. I had no emotion for my screaming baby. I remember just staring at him, waiting for him to be done. I could never wait to put my baby down. He didn't like me either. I had to call Michael home from work on his lunch hour just to get N5 to stop crying. I could not wait to hand our baby over at lunch and at night. N5 could not wait to see his dad and get away from me. I didn't hate him or want to hurt him, but I certainly really didn't want to be with him. I still wanted to nurse and do my best for him, however.

Every first-time parent hears, "Don't buy any newborn-size diapers; your baby will grow faster than you can use them." That was not the case at our house! We used somewhere around six 96-count packs of NB size diapers before he could move on to the size 1 diapers. I sought advice with my mom and my mother-in-law. I was told that I am a new mom and newborns just cry. I remember thinking to myself, "My brother (6 years younger than me) and cousins (10 and 13 years younger than myself) didn't cry this much when they were new babies." When we took him in for his one-month appointment at the Pediatrician she asked how things were going. My eyes welled up with tears. I told her, "We love our baby, but we really don't like him." It's true. I had told Michael on the way to the appointment that maybe we'd made a mistake; maybe we weren't ready for kids. The doctor decided to test N5. She directed me to nurse him and then they'd take his dirty diaper for testing. After the nurse took the dirty diaper, the doctor was back in five minutes. Diagnosis: Milk and Soy Protein Intolerance (MSPI). My baby's tummy was being ripped apart because he was unable to digest milk and soy proteins. We were given copies of a strict diet I should follow to help my baby's tummy. No dairy, no soy.

Leaving the office, I felt so much better about my mothering instinct. I knew there was something wrong with my baby with all that crying, but I was convinced I didn't have the "Mother's Instinct" every mom talks about and that I was not going to be able to care for my baby the way other moms do. Within two days of changing my diet, our baby was much happier. He was not better completely. He still cried quite a bit and had some bad days with diapers, but we finally got into a routine. My milk supply took a direct hit, however. We'd have been able to work through it and nurse successfully had I not gone back to work full time. I dreaded every moment away from my baby. Alimentum at daycare and nursing at night. After two and one-half months of working full-time and a great promotion, I came home with N5 full-time. Unfortunately, my milk supply was hit hard enough we still had to supplement with formula which eventually turned into supplementing with nursing. By his 8th month, N5 worked for five minutes to get a gulp. I finally gave in and went full-time formula. I'd felt like a failure; completely defeated.

Failing with nursing left me with a lot of guilt, but I did the best with what I had and what help we could afford to seek out. My baby and I were in tune with one another and we communicated quite well by then. We could enjoy one another's company.

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