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Testing Time

June 17, 2007

The first several weeks have been very challenging for me as a new mom. The boys had barely gained any weight at their two week doctor appointment, so I began a strict schedule of nursing every two hours. In addition to that, I was supplementing with formula or pumped breast milk, per our doctor’s recommendation. I can’t tell you how discouraged I was at this time. Disappointed about the boys weight and new to nursing, I began drinking lactation tea, drinking a Brewer’s Yeast concoction to increase my milk, and sought out the help of a lactation support group. These were all a huge help.

During that time, the novelty had worn off and I was tired of nursing. It took up way more time than I’d anticipated. I was as busy as could be, barely finding time to get a shower, eat breakfast, or throw laundry into the washer, and on top of that was mentally bored. It was and still is hard for me to settle down to nurse. There are many other more “productive” things I’d rather be doing and I don’t particularly enjoy it. In my heart I thought all these things and then felt guilty for thinking them. I prayed for my perspective to change. I was very positive breast feeding was what I wanted to do (especially after formula supplementing…I’m not a fan), but basically, the reason I struggled with breast feeding was selfishness.

The lactation consultant asked me at my first visit if I was type A. I told her I certainly was. She encouraged me to think of nursing as my new “project” to perfect. I think it was very funny she pegged me with that type of personality right away. But really, my attitude was uglier than a type A personality. I just didn’t want to “waste” my time sitting around nursing.

I’m sure there’s many understandable excuses I could make. I’m not a “baby person,” so of course the adjustment would be hard. Breastfeeding twins is a challenge. My personality type doesn’t lend itself to this new rhythm of life. I’d been looking forward to my schedule slowing down but wasn’t prepared for how slow the hours in the house would crawl by some days, despite the fact that I barely had time to do anything other than care for the boys.

I had the help of my mom and sisters to do laundry, clean, and help with supplementing whenever I wanted it. Ladies from my church have done a delicious and wonderful job supplying us with meals since the boys were born, three times a week, so I haven’t had to cook at all. Encouragement came in a steady stream. But it was what my friend Lydia said that really helped to change my perspective. She acknowledged that it is hard to let other things go and just focus on nursing, but “it’s just time.” What am I really missing out on? Nothing. I’m just spending my time for this short season to grow and nurture these little boys. Nothing is being “wasted.” It’s just time. God’s shown me how selfish I was with my time before, and now how I use my time is being tested. Will I be willing to spend time nursing the boys with an attitude of peace and joy? I think I’ve grown in that area over the past few weeks. But I know this is just the beginning of rooting out selfishness in this journey of motherhood.

Things are going better now. We all are getting better at this nursing thing and the boys are steadily gaining weight. I’m learning to nurse them together better now, so the time spent breast feeding isn’t so long. Now that they’re staying awake longer, I’m using the time connect with the babies, or I catch up on my movie watching, book reading, or message and music listening with my Nano. It’s still hard sometimes to sit down to nurse, but I remind myself it’s just time. And soon this time will be gone.

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. anne permalink
    June 17, 2007 10:15 pm

    Oh Danielle, I so feel for you. When I was in those first few weeks with Maxwell I was so ready to throw in the towel, I wanted to do so many other things rather than nurse, and I HATED breastfeeding. I thought I was never going to leave the house again! I really did think that!
    Like you, I saw a lactation consultant, sought help and advice from those who had been there, and it was not easy but I did it. Honestly, I still don’t love breastfeeding but I am glad I have done it.
    I could read and bond with the boys during that time and just sit and think, of course I have always done my thinking while doing something else but this forced me to just be still. It was a good thing for me. Slowly but surely things got better and we decided to do it all over again!
    I remember thinking why didn’t anybody warn us? This is hard! It is hard and you realize that you cannot be selfish anymore because now you have your baby(babies!) and life is not as carefree as it used to be. It is not as easy to run out of the house and do things when there were not little ones to think about.
    I am amazed at how well you guys are doing! I am so glad that you are getting support and help from friends and family. It will get easier and you will get into a routine and into the swing of things. I promise!
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  2. Fishmama permalink
    June 17, 2007 10:29 pm

    Thanks for sharing, Danielle, how God has been working in you! That is so exciting! My “surprise” was lack of sleep. And now fifth time around God has blessed me with one who’s been sleeping through the night for months!

    I’m like an A-/B+ personality, but I still have a hard time patiently sitting to nurse. One thing that helps is to spend that time praying!

    Pray for your boys, your hubby, your church, heck, pray for me! You could make a list of ALL the people you could pray for and probably NOT get through the list before the boys are done with their meal. You probably couldn’t spend the time any better. 🙂

    God will give you grace!

  3. June 17, 2007 10:52 pm

    Oh I remember the nursing thing with Seth being a rude awakening too….no one talks about the toe curling pain in the beginning or how. I also had an infection with him and didn’t know it so he would take about 45 min to nurse I would burp him change him and then it seemed like he was ready to eat again. I remeber feeling like I always had to go hide somewhere to nurse him because it was so hard to get him on and such so I felt isolated and like I was missing out. But everyone kept saying give it 6-8 weeks after that it gets better and it did. He weaned himself and 10 months and I cried. I actually missed it then and couldn’t believe it. Jude was easier…no infections and having one child arlready I liked the excuse of taking a break to go put my feet up and nurse. Like others said pick up a book….I devored so many books nursing my boys. Enjoy just staring at them and touching all their little tiny parts….they are going to start growing so fast and you will want those quiet moments back. The more you nurse the easier it gets….to do anywhere and even to do other things while you are nursing…won’t be long. I won’t pretend to know what you are going through with two….I am sure that is much more difficult. I think it is great what you wrote here and how honest you were. Bring it to God he will help you. I know for me having children has really shown me how selfish I am so know you are not alone in that feeling or revelation. I will be praying for you that it gets better. Maybe all of us BFing or soon to be need to make a list of books to read or movie recommendations. I can recommend one book. A mothers heart there is a link on my blog. It has some great practical advice and encouragement on raising kids and praying for them etc. Loved the book.

    Big hugs to you. Hey I want to see a pic of your boys soon. I bet they are changing a lot.

  4. June 18, 2007 1:56 pm

    Thanks for your comments, ladies. Nice to know others find nursing to be a challenge too! 🙂 Thanks for the book recommendations, Bethany, and to use the time for prayer, Jessica.

    I hope to be putting up new pictures soon, so stay posted!

  5. June 18, 2007 3:47 pm

    Thanks for sharing your heart and being so vulnerable. Nursing IS hard, especially at first. But it does get easier! I loved to read while I nursed, but I don’t know how you could logistically do it with twins! If it proves to be difficult, you could try books on tape (or ipod or whatever). Our library stocks all the classics as well as many newer books on tape and CD. You could even play the Bible or Valley of Vision CD and get your little ones used to hearing God’s word and edifying prayers.

    Blessings to you!

  6. June 18, 2007 5:41 pm

    I feel the same way about stopping what I’m doing to spend time with people in my life. I struggle with the similar mindset of being willing to give of my time to others when I’d rather be working (on stuff)!

  7. briana permalink
    June 19, 2007 3:15 pm

    I would say these are lessons most of us w/ kiddos have had to learn. I see much grace in your life as you are confronted with your heart and quickly seek to be right before the Lord about whatever it is He’s showing to you. This will invite more and more grace into your life, not always making the road, but certainly not making it harder than it has to be.
    You’re doing a great job laying down your life for those little boys and one day they will rise and call you ‘blessed’.

  8. June 21, 2007 9:31 am

    Thanks for being so candid. I wish someone had been candid with me before I started breastfeeding. At two months I am begining to love it, so it does come with time. I think those first couple weeks I was grieving my loss of independence, as well as just dealing with the hardness of breastfeeding. For me, every time I sat down to nurse it was a reminder that my time would not be my own for many years. I think it’s OK to grieve over that loss for a while! Thanks again for sharing your struggle.

  9. June 28, 2007 8:39 am

    Daneille, you have given the blessed gift of honesty here. There are so many preconceived notions of how new mothers SHOULD feel that put indescribable guilt into the heart of every new mom.
    I remember wanting big breasts all my life, but when I got them (by being engorged) and my hubby greeted me with “Helllooooooooo, Dolly!”) I cried. Cried till I laughed, they hurt so badly. I look back and laugh now, but I remember thinking it was a huge sacrifice to make for one little baby that couldn’t even thank me verbally. I remember thinking “There’s so much more I could be doing” while nursing, but when I realized that patience produced better milk flow (it really does) and Ben started to put on pounds, it was so worth it. Then I discovered prayer. Pray in detail, not a fly-over-the-city approach. Try praying thru the alphabet God’s attributes. Or for people you know A to Z. (I can help you think of a Z name if need be:). You are in a big transiition phase right now. But nursing is such a Godly picture of patience. Sip by sip, protein by protein, we grow to be like our heavenly Parent.

  10. Sue Timko permalink
    August 27, 2007 7:33 pm

    Hi Danielle and all those from chesapeake who read this blog :). I also remember very well nursing Micah and feeling overwhelmed with the pain and the tiredness. I remember getting a cold and realizing how my life would no longer be about me as I had to wake up and feed her ….sick or not. Then I was thrilled because she never got the cold and was actually very healthy. Allergies are very prevalent in Bernies family and all the nieces and nephews have them and Micah does not. She was also the only baby among them that was nursed and that makes me feel very good. The nursing got so much easier by 6 months and actually became very enjoyable. Many of you dont know this but we now have two foster kids. Skylan is 18 months and Anthony is 4 months. Im sad when i have to bottle feed him but obviously there is no other choice lol. I was thinking today as I sat there feeding him about all the things i needed to do. Skylan was crying to get out of the playpen and Micah was chasing our kittens around the house with some friends. I began to think about how God was blessing me with this little boy because i was forced to drop everything and sit and be quiet. I could spend time praying and even reading in the midst of all the kiddy craziness throughout the day!

    P.S. If anyone wants a kitty we have three of them. They are black with a few small white areas on their bellies. There are two girls and a boy. They are almost ready to be weaned so if interested just give us a call at 410 676 9336!
    Sue and Bernie Timko :+)

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