Somehow, one of those conversations turned to breast milk.
It wasn't a conversation between Adrianne and I but rather her husband (who we'll call Dustin, because that's his name) and I.
Given these facts, and understanding how Dustin could be doubtful that a child could exist without spitting up after every feeding, I didn't take the snarky, uneducated laugh to heart. Instead, I reiterated the fact that my baby didn't spit up and pointed out that this was due to the fact that she was breastfed. I informed him that the one or two times in her existence that she actually HAS spit up, it was after a bottle feeding. Bottles have air, you see. And boobs don't. It's simple. And that wasn't me trying to tell Dustin that bottles were bad or that formula was bad or that there was anything wrong with the way he and Adrianne chose to feed their own children. That was just me trying to say that air causes spit up. Some breastfed babies spit up. Mine doesn't.
And with anyone else, it probably would have been left at that.
But, unfortunately, it wasn't anyone else. It was Dustin. Married to one of my best friends, handsome, hardworking, smartass, slightly hilarious and more than slightly opinionated and judgemental, super-dad and major pain in the ass, Dustin.
So, of course, the conversation continued.
It was then that Dustin told me I should give my baby formula. Then that he told me he couldn't believe I breastfed. Then that he told me that breastfeeding was, and I quote, "annoying."
I laughed. Out loud. And sarcastically apologized for 'annoying' him by breastfeeding my child.
Dustin told me that it wasn't so much him I was annoying but everyone else. My husband, my co-workers, society in general. It put people out, he explained, that I had to stop what I was doing and feed or pump every few hours. It annoyed my husband that my boobs belonged to my baby. Annoyed my co-workers that they had to cover my section while I pumped. Annoyed everyone around me when I had to whip out my breast, although covered, and feed a crying Elizabeth on demand.
Now, through years of experience and training, I have learned not to take anything Dustin says personal. I have conditioned myself not to get my feelings hurt when he criticizes the way I live my life. I have learned that, while he has an opinion and a comment and a smart-ass comeback for EVERYTHING, he doesn't intend to piss people off, it's just a natural skill.
And yet, all of my knowledge and training and defenses went out the window that night and I stayed up until 2am wound up and irritated by his comments. I lost time and wasted energy going over the conversation in my head, coming up with new things I wish I had said. I replayed it in my sleep and let it rattle me into the next morning.
And it was that next morning when I understood.
As I fed Elizabeth with one arm and made a bowl of cereal for Brodie with the other, it became clear to me. Dustin wasn't worried about other people being annoyed by me breastfeeding. He wasn't worried about himself being bothered or put out. He was worried, although I'm sure he'd never admit it, about ME being annoyed.
It occurred to me that Dustin, the guy who has fixed a broken sprinkler at my house, soothed my crying children, found my six year old's lost sneakers, attended every child's birthday party I've ever thrown, picked up my kids from school, made them chocolate chip waffles, taken them to Chuck E. Cheese's and washed their clothes when they've had an accident, was worried that breastfeeding was too hard on ME.
To him, mixing powder and warm water, feeding, burping and then moving on with your day seems much, much easier than being a slave to a baby day in and day out. Being a slave to a pump day in and day out. I imagine it is hard for him to understand why I would pour blood, sweat and tears into feeding my child when there is an obvious faster and easier way.
And for that I'm grateful.
And I'll admit that, while I am happy most of the time with my decision to breastfeed, there are days where I agree with him. There are moments where I think it would be easier to give up on breastfeeding and just surrender to the powder and water. So easy, so quick, so convenient. There are nights where I AM annoyed. Where I AM put out. Where I AM bothered.
This morning, I literally cried over spilled milk. 3.5 ounces, right down the drain, because I was exhausted and forgot to put the liner in the bottle before I poured. I cried and mourned the loss of that 'liquid gold' that I work so hard to make. I called Jeremy and text Megan and kicked myself in the ass for awhile.
I thought about Dustin's words and wondered if he was right. If I should just give her formula. No one cries over formula. No one cries over powder and water because there is always more in the can. No blood, sweat or tears goes into formula because there's a scoop and a measurement and it's easy and fast and convenient.
And then Elizabeth woke up, with that distinct, sweet smell of a breastfed baby and that look that told me she wanted only me and not a bottle. And I fed her because there was enough, because my boobs are magical and have an automatic refill mechanism. And I forgot about the 3.5 ounces of spilled milk. I burped her and she didn't spit up. We cuddled and smiled and played before she drifted back off to sleep, nursing again.
And I remembered why I do it.
I wasn't annoyed but, it's nice to know that people are worried. Even if they have jack-ass ways of showing it.
Happy Saturday, friends.
go. do. be.