Last night I cried over spoiled milk. Not 2% or whole, but breast. Breast milk.
This past week I have been struggling with clogged milk ducts as my breasts adjust to the baby’s new night feeding schedule (he had a cold and was comfort nursing the previous two weeks). It’s painful and disappointing. On one hand, I’m in pain because I feel like there are cancerous tumors forming with the need to empty my breast. Just one breast, the other’s just dandy… The “boys” take turns being rebellious. (I refer to my breast when they are being used to feed my sons as the boys- which helps me differentiate between feeding baby and sexy time, sexy time they are the “girls”.) ;-) They clog up giving me burning, achy, sharp crampy feelings. I suppose I should feel thankful they take turns. Glass half full, right?!
On the other hand, I feel disappointed because I have to interrupt my productive streak at work to pump (I’m way too distractable). And when I do pump my rebellious, painful-to-the-touch, clogged boobs… Nothing more than three little drops will begrudgingly drip out. Seriously?!
Needless to say, the painful, hard earned, measly 7 ounces I managed to pump on Friday were very, very precious. I should add that I have a certain pride and obsessed compulsion this time around in my breastfeeding/pumping journey. ‘I WILL EXCLUSIVELY BREASTFEED!’ I feel like it’s one “for sure” way I can be part of my precious, plump, sweet pea baby’s life since I am a full time working mother. So when I got “The Milking Machine” (as it’s been adequately nicknamed by my hubs) on Sunday night to prepare for Monday’s hesitant use, I realized that I never took out the ‘white pain juice’ on Friday.
It sat there, festering.
I cried about my forgetfulness. I cried, blaming that no one thought to remind me. I cried with guilt that I sat and lounged around all day Saturday while my milk sat there all abandoned. I cried for being so stressed on Friday that I suppressed the painful memory of having pumped. I cried that my nipples were numbed with pain in vain. I cried that I suffered for NOTHING. I cried with horrible thoughts that my baby would starve to death…or worse- have to be fed FORMULAAAAaaaa!!!!
I cried that deep, ugly-face cry (you know what I’m talking about) as I poured it down the kitchen drain whilst holding my breathe (it was rotting milk after all). The tears continued as I tediously scrubbed the breast pump parts and bottles.
When I was done I felt much better and I remembered how good it feels to not be “superwoman” by making everything perfect and holding it together all the time. Crying was a natural way for me to release the stress and feelings of self pity.
Later my husband light-heartedly suggested that next time I can “just make COTTAGE CHEESE or SOUR CREAM with it”. And my mom, who is also full time care taker of my precious babe, reminded me, “BABY WON’T STARVE, HE’S BEGINNING TO EAT SOLIDS”. This helped me focuse on the positive and combat the negative thoughts that I was focusing on. I purposely began to think rationally instead of emotionally: “So what, if he eats formula? FORMULA IS NOT THE DEVIL, THAT’S HOW I FED MY FIRST BABY HE DID JUST FINE.” And, “I am sure my boobs will produce much better this coming week..positive boob vibes, positive boob vibes…”
I went upstairs to apologize to baby for ‘momma being so forgetful”, and he just gave me the biggest wide-gummed drooley smile. I soothed myself by thinking, “All is going to be OK“. And “this baby was worth all the that pain and I’d do it all over again.”
My example is only one way of how one can process a difficult emotion as a momma. It’s imperative that you allow yourself to feel negative feelings (cry it out), sort through the thoughts that are swirling through your head (“how could I forget“), do some positive physical activity (washing dishes) versus a negative physical activity (like stuffing your face with a whole box of Oreos).
And talk with others about it (husband, mom) because they can help you get started on positive thinking (‘make sour cream’– OK so he was only 80% serious and 20% to get me to smile) to help you change your mood. I’m still not laughing about it, perhaps in a few weeks?…
But eventually I will be able to look back and laugh about it. For now, I choose not to not feel guilty over spoiled milk. 🙂