Can we be Breast Friends?

When I found out I was pregnant, I pretty much knew what I was in for. Since I said sayonara to my teens, I have been exposed to pregnancy culture from various friends, family, film & reality television shows . I knew there was a possibility I could gain 100 lbs., get stretch marks all over my stomach, or any random thing that happened to a friend of a friend that conjured a fear & sort of stuck in my mind only to resurface once I saw that small second line on my pregnancy test.

Oh man, but boy does pregnancy take on a new life (pun intended). Once you begin to show (around 5 months or so), suddenly you’re an epicenter for unsolicited birth & baby advice. “Did you watch the Business of Being Born?” Yes. “Are you having an epidural, you know it drugs the baby, right?” Probably. The mommy advice never stops. So at some point, you’re spinning around in circles praying for it to stop, then suddenly you find yourself in my position.

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Why doesn’t anyone talk about how hard it is to breastfeed?

Obviously I knew the first couple of weeks would be tough while your nips get accustomed to a newborn feeding on them every two hours, that’s common knowledge. But what happens if your baby, like mine, wants to feed for five hours straight? FIVE HOURS. I thought it was a joke the first time it happened. Nope, P was a cluster feeder and she continued this pattern for 2 months straight.  Imagine feeding her at seven pm and sitting on the couch for five hours with just enough time to change and burp her, and maybe she’d end up taking a nap or two–but she’s asleep in your arms. Your day will fly by, and you won’t accomplish a single thing.

Oh, and food allergies? Your baby has them. Their sweet sterile stomach isn’t capable of breaking down certain foods, so currently I’m on a dairy (especially cheese), chocolate, caffeine, peanut and alcohol free diet. Jealous? Thought so.

Then there’s the whole nipple confusion/milk supply dilemma. You can’t introduce a bottle too soon otherwise you’ll confuse the little one on how to latch properly so your breastfeeding her every time. Oh and two hours? Lies. I have a snacker. Girlfriend feeds every hour or so, still pretty consistent at snacking hourly even at 3 months. “She’ll start to go longer between feeding” they say.

Oh, & you have to constantly worry about your milk supply. I worry more about this on a regular basis then I do about the recent measles outbreak, Russian politics, American Sniper celebrated as a war hero, and my finances COMBINED. As if I wasn’t already sleep deprived, I’m probably losing more sleep on it. Oh, if you pump too much before your milk stabilizes then you’ll over produce which you’ll a) have to keep up with (pump and store–but who has time for that?) or b) you’ll lose your supply because he/she won’t eat enough. For the first month & half, I was her bottle and had to stop, drop and feed at her command & I can’t tell you how many hours I spent feeding her in the backseat of my car because she wanted to be fed at the most inopportune times (like a graduation ceremony).

So then, praise Jesus, you begin to pump. Now you have to introduce the bottle. “If your baby is hungry enough, she’ll eat.” Lies. The first time we tried the bottle at home, she took it like a champ. So for my boyfriend’s 30th, we went out to a nice restaurant & after I had my first glass of wine postpartum it was like she never saw a bottle in her lifetime as she screamed her head off in hunger pains. We went through over $100 in various bottle systems and suffice to say we’ve finally gotten that down (ILY, Dr. Brown). But even so, it’s still a pain–like you are on this endless search for hot water (to warm the bottle), or  you accidentally pack the wrong nipple flow, or you forget to refridge the bottle when you get home therefore you throw out a full bottle.

No matter how many ounces, it hurts me to waste breastmilk.

So then comes the “Is she sleeping through the night?” questions that haunt me every day, and it’s like “no, she breastfeeds and it metabolizes at lightening speed.” Hell,  I’m happy with 4 hour intervals. Leave me alone, judger.

So am I bitter? Probably. It’s like everyone told me how their sister’s birth was the WORST ever, or that if I got stretch marks as a teen I’d get them again during pregnancy making me inspect every indent from clothing under a microscope to make sure it wasn’t one, or tell me I’ll never wear my beloved shoes again because my feet grow with pregnancy, BUT did anyone tell me that breastfeeding was going to be the hardest thing ever?!? No, and I could have used the unsolicited advice.

But here I am. 3 months postpartum and things are finally getting easier & I wouldn’t have done it any other way.

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breaking up

ImageIt seems like now that I’m approaching (gasp) my thirties, relationships have so much more pressure riding on them than they did when I was younger. When it comes to qualities in a possible suitor, I know exactly what I’m looking for down to a science. By now I know what it takes to keep me happy, and how important it is to find a healthy relationship is over a lustful one–but what I’ve noticed time and time again, is when a couple begins to face relationship problems, why does everything you know so well suddenly become so hard to remember?

I realize love clouds all judgement, but it seems like there are so many of my friends in relationships stuck in this sort of grey area and every single one of them is completely miserable in their relationship limbo. Let me go on record, the grey area never works out well for anyone. That whole–are we, aren’t we scenario? It’s a total mind game, and someone is bound to get hurt.

So if you’re stuck–what do you do? Have an honest conversation with yourself. I’m an only child, so this for me is not weird at all, but it’s something you should learn how to do with all serious dilemmas. Why I think it’s SO important is because outside pressures and vocal friends have the ability to influence your own thoughts when really this is between you and your significant other.

What I always ask myself, or friends going through similar situations, is whether or not this is something we/you can work past? For example, one of my best friends (who happens to be the funniest guy I know) sent a series of not-so-nice text messages calling his ex calling her a ‘cunt.’ Any person will agree that it’s a dirty, dirty word, and also, it’s blatantly disrespectful–however, in the grand scheme of things, it’s not really something I would consider a deal breaker (simply my opinion, you’re welcome to your own), however cheating, in my opinion is.

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As prepared as you may be in life, you’ll never know what a deal breaker is until you’re actually faced with it. The most important thing about recognizing one is whether it’s something you can forgive or move past. It’s amazing how many people don’t question this. There are so many relationships I know where there’s a certain bitterness or grudge held over their boyfriend/girlfriend’s head because of something that happened years ago–and that’s not fair for anyone.

Every situation is different, people stay together because they live together or have been with together for such a long time that they don’t even want to deal with dating again, but I promise you if you’re unhappy in your relationship or you’re stuck in a grey area with no avail–you’ll be better off starting over even if it means having to sleep on a friend’s couch while you get on your feet again or joining match.com for a less evasive way to go back to the dating scene.

I just felt so many friends of mine have gone through this, and since I just got out of a relationship myself–hopefully I’ve helped you avoid relationship limbo. But above all, I hope this helps you establish a happy and healthy relationship (even if it means with yourself).

So if you like to just cut to the good part, here’s my how-to on avoiding a doomed relationship:

1. Get out of the grey area–no one is happy there.

2. Have an honest conversation with yourself about what YOU want, and what will keep YOU happy.

3. Establish whether or not you can forgive them, is this something you believe you can work out?

4. Communicate. With them. I didn’t touch on the whole communicating issue, but passive aggressive behavior doesn’t get you anywhere in life and it’s amazing what communication can do for your problems.

5. Be happy, in the end that’s all that matters!

xx