In my inbox this morning was a post from a fantastic mindful parenting blog I like. The first sentence of the post is this:
“A child’s flow is a powerful force, like the traffic on a highway.”
The words that struck me were “powerful.” One of the reasons I am drawn to Attachment Parenting is that it aims to teach parents how to interact with children with true respect. My needs are equally important as my daughter’s needs are. I have no desire to force my power over my daughter. She is powerful and perfect just as she is and I try very hard to listen to her and respect her needs AND wants.
The post came in a timely manner, because this weekend I attempted to use the Lact Aid with Penelope and it has me deeply questioning whether I am going with my daughter’s flow or if I am trying to force my power over her.
The Lact-Aid is a bag of milk that hangs around your neck, with a piece of tubing that comes out the top. You put the tube on your nipple and then latch baby on. They get milk from you AND the Lact Aid. Its similar to Medela’s Supplemental Nursing System or SNS, but its engineered differently so the way the milk flows and the vacuum/suction works is different. Because of this I had heard a lot of women who find success with the Lact-Aid system even after the SNS failed them, like it failed us. I wish I had heard about the Lact-Aid when Penelope was tiny baby and also when she first started comfort nursing at 5 months. Things might have been different. Sigh.
She had a really hard time this weekend with the Lact-Aid. She varied from simply turning her head away from my nipple and wanting nothing to do it, to being completely distracted by the bag and tubing and playing with it, to screaming hysterically like I was poking her with a hot torch. The crying is what really got me thinking: “What am I doing!?!” Why am I am trying to do something she clearly does not want to do? I would never force her to do something in other parts of our life, so why is it OK to try and force her to use the Lact-Aid? Does the benefits of 100% nursing somehow trump all my parenting values? I don’t think so. It seems like forcing her to use the Lact-Aid is a step in the wrong direction. She gets everything she needs now already, 100% breast milk from me because of pumping and all the comfort she needs from comfort nursing. I am trying to quit bottles and go to full time nursing, purely for myself and my needs of wanting to stop pumping.
When I spoke the owner on the phone (which by the way, he was wonderful and kind), he told me to patient and that its a process, especially with an older baby. But it just feels wrong. He gave me some tips, like to try and cover the Lact Aid with a scarf (what a joke) and to try and slip in the tubing when she was drowsy/asleep, which I did and even when she was asleep, sliping in the tubing woke her up and made her cry. Once she was totally asleep I was able to get it in, without waking her up, but by that point she was, well, asleep and not sucking very much at all, so what is the damn point to have the tubing in her mouth is she is not sucking!
Parts of me wonder if I am giving up on the Lact Aid too soon. Having her turn away from me and not want to latch on, or to cry, brought back so many feelings of rejection from when she was a tiny baby and wouldn’t nurse. Even though I know it was not personal, and she physically could not latch and nurse, it was still very painful to have breasts FULL of milk and have my baby to turn away or cry. So parts of me wonder if I am giving up because I can’t handle the rejection anymore.
Other Big Switch updates:
- The sippy cups still have not arrived!
- Increasing solids is going good. The girl really likes eggs, meat and fruit!
- Its been three nights with no night time bottle and that is going ok. She is waking up a lot more, but I think it has more to do with her developmental stage…she just started WALKING!!
- We have been watching lots of YouTube videos of baby’s her age nursing and reading the book Mama’s Milk. It is such a cute book!
- I am also going to do some more research about renting a scale again to see if it works with an older baby like her, who is 22 pounds by the way!
So what do you guys think? Go with my gut or am I giving up too soon on the Lact Aid?