She was the David Koresh of mommy world, stockpiling enough breast milk in her freezer to feed an Ethiopian orphanage should Armageddon occur.
“We had to remove the ice trays to make more room,” the woman with DDs at the YMCA’s new mom group had the audacity to complain.
Hormonal as is, I felt a surge of envy. My Bs might fit nicely into a black lacy bra. Do justice to a form-fitting, low-cut shirt. But what became apparent within hours of giving birth was that I had to mini Mojave deserts on my chest.
Hell-bent on sidestepping the mistakes of my mother’s gin drinking, smoking generation, I was determined to breastfeed, so doled out hard-earned dollars on sophisticated pumps and lactation consultants.
“Well, you got the latch on right,” an Earth mother type said, as I wrote the check for $250, which drove me to drink.
Told whey was the key, I stocked the frig with Coronas and tracked down Dr. Jack Newman, the supposed “world’s premier breast-feeding expert” at Toronto Children’s Hospital. His advice: thistle and fenugreek.
Pumping, drinking and pill popping, I still could only produce 10-12 ounces a day at best.
I cursed La Leche League for their propaganda that “every woman has the innate ability to produce milk” and took my lack of as mommy fail until one hot June morning I went to pick up Savannah from the crib and her eyes began to roll manically. What looked like a child possessed was actually seizure.
Immediately admitted to Pediatric Intensive Care, where she was wrapped in wires, she became impossible to hold, more so nurse. Diagnosis
“Look, all those terrorists were breastfed and see how they turned out,” a friend joked in an attempt to get me out of my despair.
Surrounded by sick kids, one a ward of the state who moaned and groaned all day, my friend was right. It wasn’t about whether my child was fed formula or breast milk, but whether she was healthy and loved.