parenthood, Sam

Spilled Milk

Sam turns three months old today. He celebrated by falling asleep on his walk around Sharon Woods with Ben (boys’ day out), exploding through several diapers, smiling and cooing, and drinking a bottle like a champ. This brings me to my third month revelation: I cry, literally, over spilled milk. Well, more like pumped and bottled milk, but you get the point.

Each month has brought about a lot of change, but this month has brought the most of all. After twelve glorious weeks at home with Sam, I went back to work. On October 12th to be exact. I circled the date on my calendar, wrote “GO BACK TO WORK” in neon green capital letters with a Sharpie, then drew a face in the calendar square with two eyes and a squiggly line for a mouth. It was neither a smiley face nor a frowny face. It was an anxiety face.

The date stared me down day in and day out. I’m coming for you, it said as I unloaded the dishwasher. You’re mine, it said when I microwaved a Cheesy Blaster. (Disclaimer: I do not actually eat Cheesy Blasters.)

And just like that it came.

Leaving Sam was hard and going to school was weird. I felt late to the party and like everyone knew what was going on but me. Teaching has gotten easier each day, though. I’m thankful for my job, period, but also for a job I enjoy.

It’s still hard to leave Sam.

Last week, Sam liked drinking from a bottle about as much as he likes the fact that most of the awesome rockstar hair he was born with has fallen out. (Or maybe it’s just his mom who’s sad about the rockstar hair falling out.) I’d be gone almost nine hours and he’d only had three ounces to drink. I was in tears. My baby is starving! When I’d rush to my parents’ house to feed him after school, he smiled at me like I was Superman — or at least the Octopus on his playmat that I’m pretty sure he has a crush on.

By the end of the week he was taking a little more from the bottle, and come Monday he was pounding milk like a freshman at a frat party. Then evening came and he didn’t want mama. Didn’t. Want. Mama.

I was in tears. This was too much change in too little time. Plus, none of my modeling teacher clothes fit the same way and my hair is now falling out in clumps, just like my “mom” friends warned me it would. And I missed Sam.

I know that the important thing is for Sam to eat, but I’m not ready to give up breastfeeding. I want him to want a bottle during the day but want me whenever I’m around. Is this the same thing for babies as dating two people at once? If so, I’m doomed. How can I compete with silicone?

I can certainly understand well-established dairy preferences. I, for one, always want my yogurt in a cup (not a tube, damn it!). So I get where Sam’s coming from.

Today he took twelve ounces — four times what he was taking when I first went back to school. I know that he is fine. Babies are resilient. It’s me who this is hardest on. I know kids need to become independent. It’s just that no one told me it would begin so soon.

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7 thoughts on “Spilled Milk

  1. Erin, can I put in a plug for La Leche League? Email me for more information. We have lots of working moms at our evening meetings and leaders are available by phone or email 24/7.

  2. Hey lady! Stay the course! He will adjust. Think of how overwhelmed you are and all the coping skills you have. He doesn’t have any. This could totally be a phase. Please call me if helpful.

  3. Erin- I totally understand. There were so many things that I cried about when I was teaching when Mallory was a baby. Keep plugging along, Sam is probably just figuring out his rhythm now too. But, no matter what happens with the nursing thing, keep remembering that you will totally be your son’s first love (except for that cute octopus) and will be the one he compares all girls to. You are definitely the coolest baby mom that I know and your son will understand that very quickly. I mean…you put him in Bill Murray onesies. It is ridiculously cool.

  4. Hey Erin–he will want you when with you and a bottle when not with you….it just may not always seem like it! CeCe has not always been that great of a nurser–from about 3-5 months (right when I went back to work!) it seemed like she didn’t want to nurse–would push away and twist, etc, but drink PERFECTLY from a bottle. I was frequently devastated and feeling rejected, but kept plugging along—insisting on offering only nursing from me (even if she only ate for 3-4 minutes). I discovered during that period she would nurse fine lying down..which we did…all the time… for 2 months! Which got a little old. In any case from 5 months old she has been a champ again, and actually the last 2 months (she is 8.5 now) she seems to actually LOVE to nurse, which wasn’t really like her. So, this is far more info than you (and the world) probably wants to know, but bottom line is that your nursing relationship will probably have normal ups and downs and be ever changing, which is good and bad! This has been a huge focus of my year and I can have long discussions about it, so feel free to email me if you need to vent!

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