Its been sixteen days since I cried and for someone who knows me, that would sounds unusual. After Malcolm suddenly stopped nursing right before he turned ten months old, I think that finally broke me. In my last blog I tried to convey the feelings of rejection and despair I felt, trying to pacify an infant that seemed to now hate everything. He resisted every other means of hydration, and continues to get virtually all his hydration from baby purees.
I decided to start taking an anti-depression/anxiety medication to see if it could help me manage my days better and I think it has. Although I feel more even-keeled, it also feels like I’m more two-dimensional. Lately I don’t really miss the three-dimensional depth of feeling, as it was mostly negative. I don’t feel embarrassed or ashamed of being on medication, but I plan to stop as soon as things even out around here.
We had a good week. Nothing seemed too overwhelming and I think we have adjusted to the new normal around here, as well as Malcolm’s new feeding pattern. He still does not get any formula or breast milk, but I plan to try and get him some home-made formula in small quantities when he’ll tolerate it. He eats constantly, so I just try to keep up with it and try not to let him get constipated. My milk supply is now gone and I feel the familiar tug in my gut that aches for the connection he and I had, but its like I can’t access that part of myself fully anymore. Crying was always so cathartic for me, but for now I suppose it will have to wait until life settles.
Its hard to sum up what has unfolded the past week since Malcolm began a nursing strike. I’m not in the mood to detail the whole situation, as I am exhausted in more ways than I thought possible, and I’d like to go to bed. In short, Malcolm hasn’t nursed in five days and does not take a bottle, drink from a sippy cup, and resists open cup feeding and syringe feeding. The only hydration he gets is from watered down purees and the occasional forced teaspoon syringe feeding. He’s not sick. He is just going through something that I hope will pass and happens to some kids around his age.
Its difficult to describe how I’m feeling in words. Anxious. Devastated. I never thought I’d feel “devastated” by something like this, but its like I’m looking at my baby through a glass window and watching him scream and cry and I can’t help him. Except there’s no glass. He is in my arms and still crying. And he wants nothing to do with me.
I spend all day trying to give him some solid food, but terrified of constipating him. Trying to give him watered down purees but it doesn’t seem to be enough. I feel like most things Eric and I have done since he was born for hasn’t quite been enough, and that has been difficult by itself. One of the only things he liked was nursing. I’m considering seeing a doctor about anti-anxiety medication, or something that can help me manage better. After ten months, this has finally broken me.
He’s too little to wean yet, and at the very least his hydration is minimal. I feel devastated not only because of his rejection of me, but that was our quiet, bonding time. No screaming, no carrying around a 20 lb baby until my back ached. Just quiet time to be together and I would know his tummy was full. And now I don’t know. Our pediatrician is keeping close tabs for the next few days, but we are all just waiting to see if he will change his mind and start nursing again. Meanwhile, my milk supply is drastically reduced and I don’t know how much longer it will keep up.
The past few days I feel like I’m unraveling. Like my insides are being twisted and wrenched every time Malcolm looks at me and screams, like he needs something I’m withholding. Its the worst feeling.