At Peace.

It’s been two weeks since our journey to Albany.

Ruby’s tongue has healed beautifully. There is no evidence of any tie. We continue to pull/stretch her tongue several times a day to be sure that there will be no readhesion. She appears quite pleased with her re-found tongue mobility; especially when eating solid foods.

And yet… once again, my sweet dream of a quick fix, an easy solution has gone awry.

For the two days I was gone, Ruby nursed exclusively. I didn’t bring bottles and I didn’t bring a pump, so all of her feedings were at the breast. When I got home, I continued to nurse her without offering any bottles, and it felt like nursing was getting better and better. Her patience at the breast improved, and she seemed less frustrated. She nursed for longer periods without pulling or pushing away. It started to feel like we were on an upward trend…

… and then I had to go back to work. Always, I end up going back to work. Ruby ends up getting bottles, and I don’t get the chance to nurse her for 48 whole hours. When I got home after the first weekend back after the clipping, I ran a warm bath. It had been several hours since my last pump session, so I was quite full and Ruby was quite hungry. I stripped her down and we got in the tub together. We relaxed, stayed calm, played. I didn’t offer her to nurse, and I didn’t put any pressure on her to try. I just wanted to enjoy some motherbaby love time and see what happened.

She very quickly made her way over to the breast and showed her interest. She pinched and grabbed at my nipple, trying to pull it to her mouth instead of moving in to latch. I helped her get into a comfortable position and she brought her mouth to breast… sucked a few times, got angry, and quit. She didn’t try again. I offered the breast a while later and she turned her head away again. With not a few tears in my eyes, I handed her over to her father, who had a bottle prepared, and I went to pump.

That night, I continued to try to nurse her while co-sleeping, as I have always been. She was brutal. She pinched and pulled. She cried on and off the breast. She seemed frustrated and angry, and I didn’t know what to do. I simply kept offering the breast over and over again until she finally latched, and then I gritted my teeth and tried to ignore the pain of her pinching and pulling back in order to keep her calm enough to go back to sleep. Every nightwaking was this way. I spent most of the night crying too.

Every time I say I’ve reached the end of my rope, I find more rope. Again and again, I’ve found more rope. There might be more rope out there this time – perhaps someone else has more rope to give me. Perhaps someone will be able to help me find more of my own. But right now, I’m grasping on to the wispy threads of the end of this ratty rope, and I don’t feel like fighting any more. I don’t feel like hurting. My hands are tired of hanging on.

I’ve been pumping lots and lots of milk. We’ve been cuddling and snuggling during bottle feeds. She will still sleep in my bed. Not much else will change… but at the moment – this very moment – our nursing relationship on hold. I wanted to write “over” but I can’t bring myself to do it. Maybe that will change. Maybe it wont. But right now I am at peace.

And if anything changes… I’ll be sure to let you know.

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  • hayley

    You are amazing. I love you and admire you soo much. Ruby and Ronan are so lucky to have you as a mother.

  • http://www.naptimemomtog.com Sarah

    So sorry. I know how badly you wanted this and how hard you have tried. You are an amazing mom and you are awesome for pumping and giving her that wonderful milk of yours. That photo is sweet. Don’t ever forget that you are a fantastic mom to Ruby!
    Sarah´s last blog post ..Dustyn’s 1st Digital Camera & Pictures

  • http://www.featheredfriendsy.com Amy

    I’ve been following your blog for quite some time, but wanted to de-lurk to say that I’m really glad you’re at peace. Whatever you decide is best for you and your baby should come first – not what everyone else says, thinks, or recommends. As long as you are both taken care of, you are doing your job.

    From what I can see, you’re an awesome momma and your drive to not give up on your kids is inspiring. Keep your head up and know you have a whole bunch of people out there rooting for you!
    Amy´s last blog post ..From The Flip Side: A Personal Look At Childhood Bullying

  • Elliemahar

    Mandy, I can’t imagine all you’ve gone through. You are such a strong and loving mama. Following your struggles with Ruby & breadtfeeding has helped me cherish every moment that I have with my nursling. It can be so easy to take for granted sometimes. Thank you for sharing your story. You are brave. Ruby & Ronan are blessed to have you as their mama.

  • http://mvstephenson.wordpress.com Verna

    I’m so sorry! ((HUG))

  • http://jessicaandesther.blogspot.com/ jessica Fleming

    At least she is still getting the nutrients she needs from your milk. At the end of the day happiness and health is what makes us mama’s the happiest! She seems to have both!
    jessica Fleming´s last blog post ..Bedtime is my favorite!

  • http://contentedlycrunchy.blogspot.com Brea

    ::Hugs::

    You so deserve to have this work out. I’m so frustrated for you!

    Ruby is 7-ish months, right? I don’t know what your nursing relationship was like with your son or how long you nursed or anything like that, but regardless all I have to offer is the reminder that babies around this age get squirrelly at the breast anyway. Combine that with everything else you and Ruby have going on and – gah! I mean, there were times I have gotten frustrated and had to walk away from my kids because they were pinching/pulling off and latching on, OMGOMGOMG it’s maddening!

    I’m most sad that you can’t have another stretch of weeks spent with your baby, like a do-over of the postpartum weeks establishing breastfeeding.

    It sounds like you are doing everything – everything – 100% right.
    Brea´s last blog post ..Happy Birthday, Mom.

  • http://imperfectbird.tumblr.com Lydia–“Imperfect Bird”

    I’m just now reading your blog, so I don’t know the history of your breastfeeding relationship with Ruby, and you might have already read this, but I thought this might be worth a look:
    http://www.kellymom.com/bf/concerns/baby/back-to-breast.html
    I think nursing strikes are fairly common, but a lot of moms would interpret it as baby-led weaning. I just want to offer encouragement because I know how important breastfeeding is and you sound like you’ve done a great job so far–all is not lost! Maybe try some of these tips and see if she’ll come back around to enjoying nursing again :-)
    Lydia–“Imperfect Bird”´s last blog post ..Sesame Street Sociology