We are heading in to week six, and true to the predictions of all the “experts” in the books the evening witching hour is hitting its peak. Saturday and Sunday night, it extended into bedtime hour, with inconsolable screaming after the last feeding. Miguel normally rocks the baby to sleep after I’m done feeding, but both nights after 10 straight minutes of screaming, he put him in his crib, declaring he was going to scream whether or not he was held and he’d have to cry it out. Both nights, I went in and rescued him and got him to sleep, which required maybe an extra 20 minutes of rocking.
Monday was my birthday, and I was not really looking forward to it, knowing that there would be no celebrating, likely only screaming and endless thankless comforting, only to be rewarded with more screaming. Still, when Miguel offered to pick up some good take-out for dinner, I was optimistic. I let the schmoop sleep a little longer than his normal 6:00 feeding, hoping to forestall screamy-fest long enough to actually gulp down my dinner while Miguel ran interference. And then, an accident shut down the highway, causing Miguel to be over an hour late getting home. At that point, I lost all hope of enjoying my dinner.
Though he’d already given me the gift of not one, but two, mid-change projectile poops yesterday, the schmoop surprised me. He sat quietly in his papasan chair all through dinner while we both ate, together. The rest of the night, he was off and on, but not terrible, and went to bed promptly after his feeding. Just when I think I know what to expect, he changes it up on me. I’m not foolish enough to think that this is the end of the nighttime fussiness, but I’m happy for the break he gave us.
In other news, we are now faced with the cruel irony of trying to reintroduce the bottle to the boy who had to be battled to take the boob. My doctor advised me to go slow; every other day, lest he become accustomed to the ease of the bottle and start rejecting my breast again. All the books say to get someone else to give the baby the bottles, but that is just not practical. It’s his daytime feedings he needs to get the bottles for, and Miguel is not around for those. Even if he were, I can not deal with Miguel’s frustration and inevitable anger that we worked so hard to get him to breastfeed and now can’t get him to take the bottle.
So I am going it alone. I’m starting with his 9:00 feeding. Sunday went fairly well, and he took down about 3 ounces of pumped milk. It was just slow and a little fussy as he tried to figure out how to suck on the bottle again. I gave myself a break on my birthday and tried again this morning. It went way worse. Over the course of an hour of crying and switching positions, the bottle was down 2 ounces, but I think most of that just ran out of the bottle and out of his month. I think we got all of about 1 minute of coordinated sucking. And I felt terrible, like I was starving him. His sad little pouty face and eyes seemed to say “why are you doing this to me? Where is my warm boob?” But I did not give in and give him my breast. He fell asleep until the next feeding, which I gave him my breast for.
Given that it’s looking unlikely he’s going to start up a love affair again with the bottle, I’m going to skip the doctor’s advice and keep at it with the 9:00 feeding every day, until he gets it. Like everything else, trying to do this is full of judgments and stress-I’m not trying to deny him my breast milk; I’m fully willing to pump for him when I have to miss a feeding. I just want to be able to not be the 24-7 food trough, you know? I want to be able to go somewhere and leave him with his dad or another caregiver and know he won’t starve. Right now, it’s a matter of want mostly. I want the freedom to be gone during a feeding time. And we have a family trip coming up where my parents will be available to watch him and we can be free to get out and do some things without the baby. But in just over 4 weeks, it will become a necessity as I return to work.
I know intellectually that wanting him to take a bottle when needed is not a crime, but I’ve been on the internets a long time, and can just see some random attachment parent stumbling across this post and giving me shit. Like why did I even bother having a baby if I’m so selfish that I can’t wait to get away from him for a bit? (And don’t get me started on the having someone else “raise” him part, by being a working mom-Gah.)