Parenthood 101: Keeping Your Baby Alive Without Having a Nervous Breakdown

Warning: I'm too tired to proof read this. Don't judge me for typos.

Dudes. This shit is hard. And I have it easy, because Semisi? The kid never cries. I shit you not. He sleeps, eats, poops, and lets out an occasional grunt, and that's. about. it. So you're all probably like, "Cry me a river!" and "Where's my violin?!?!" and "I suppose your diamond shoes don't fit either, you lucky bastard!??!" You would be right to say all of those things on the baby front. He's rad. But it's not him. It's ME!

This sounds like a bad break up story. NO I AM NOT BREAKING UP WITH MY BABY. Come ON. It hasn't even been two weeks yet. I have to at least let him take me out for Thai food first. DUH.

Okay, but in all seriousness, trying to keep this kid alive is tough work. I almost had a mental breakdown the first week. There are a few reasons for this.

After having the little man home for a few days (two...TWO days) we were scheduled to go in for a quick follow up appointment with our doc to get him weighed...and we did not get good news at this appointment. We discovered that he's lost almost a whole pound since his birth, and that he was getting little to no nourishment from the boob. Basically the little guy was just a sucking away and was getting NADA from me...much to my surprise.

Of course, because he'd only been born a few days earlier, I was a damn basket case, so this, along with the tumbleweed blowing across the doctor's parking lot, made me break in to tears. We were sent home and forced to feed him formula, which we've been doing right along side some serious attempts on my part to pump some milk out of these gigantic boobs of mine.

For a few days, I got nothing...NOTH.ING. Then I'd get an ounce a pumping session, which is basically enough to keep a knat alive for an hour. However, slowly but surely, I'm getting a little more at a time and we're able to give him what little I can pump while supplementing with formula.

Why am I telling you all this? Well I don't know!??! Why are you reading? I guess I expected breast feeding to be some damned hippie ass experience where I would casually lift of my shirt and my son would nuzzle in and drink to his heart's content, giving me a slight hand signal when he'd have enough...upon which he would roll away and begin hiccuping and rubbing his belly in satisfaction...maybe saying something like, "That's some good shit."

But instead, I was basically starving my kid. NOT exactly how I pictured all of that playing out.

Partner this with my uncontrollable urge to cry every five seconds and my constant fear that every thing ELSE I was doing was putting my baby's life in GRAVE danger too, and well, the "experts say breast milk is best" warning on the side of the formula can label can just go F*@& itself.

My psychotic fit of hormone induced wailing has been a damn joy ride for Paul, let me tell you.

Because everything I do feels like it's putting my kid in danger. It's like, if I hold him this way, or burp him that way, HE COULD DIE. AND OTHER BABIES MIGHT DIE JUST BECAUSE I DID IT WRONG. JUST BECAUSE.

But it's getting better. I wake up each morning with a huge sense of relief that we've managed to keep our child alive for yet another day - this brings me a great feeling of accomplishment. And our kid seems happy.

Yet, I'm still a total basket case, and I'm looking forward to the day when I can just enjoy motherhood without being scared to death of it. But the good news is Paul is leading me through this adventure - and he stays as calm and collected as always, which is precisely why I married him. And my mom, who just retired after 35 years of doing day care, is here helping. So really, I have nothing to worry about, right? RIGHT???


So...tell me something good! Tell me you thought you were going to accidentally kill your baby every five minutes too! Tell me it gets better! Tell me it will all be okay! Tell me that not breastfeeding my kid every ounce he takes in will not result in a major arrested development!

Or tell me to shut the hell up and go eat the cheeks off of my sweet baby boy.

Yeah, that sounds like a plan.

Ohhh...and here's our week, in photos. As you can see, Paul is doing everything...likely because I'm off crying in a corner shouting "I'm killing him!"

In between those fits of hysteria, I managed to get these pictures:

Yes. That's a maxi pad. That's the shit they give you at the hospital. Scared yet, mom-to-be-who-have-never-been?

It's not the baby that's exhausting him. Trust me.

Pure bliss. OH YEAH. THIS is why I had a kid with this man.


  1. No, you won't kill your baby, but you will, at some point, maim him and draw blood. When this happens you have permission to feel horrible for every time you remember this incident in the future until he graduates high school, but it's just the reality of motherhood. We will, at some point, do some fucking damage. Might as well just try to reconcile with this fact and plow through those moments when they happen.

    I'm going to bring you your lasagna at lunch this week. The damn snow made me want to not go anywhere except the bar this weekend :)

  2. Oh Megan, you are doing a wonderful job and experiencing all the feelings every new mother goes through. Breast feeding is quite the job and it works better for some than others. I was one of those mothers that felt I failed, I was unable to have my children naturally...c-sections equaled failure, then breast feeding, baby would eat, baby would projectile vomit, clothes would be changed on both mother and child, baby would cry...hungry again, but I HAD to breast feed so we would do it all over again. Don't get me wrong I'm all for breast feeding when it works for both mom and babe but when it doesn't it's okay, really it's okay! Keep trying the breast milk and supplementing with formula but, don't ever feel bad if you end up using formula only. You are a great mom, you have a great mom from whom you learned.
    be happy and enjoy each and every moment you are going to be given.
    Children bring so much joy, we are so happy for you. :)

  3. FOCUS, Megan, FOCUS. It's not about the boobs or the formula. Formula-schmormula. NO NO NO. It's about your baby and you and your husband. Are you all three alive? Yes? Well, then, you've done every single possible thing exactly right. "Alive" is the key word here, and everyone in your little family is "alive." In awhile everyone will be "calm" again, too.

    For about four months, every morning that I woke up and my kid was still breathing, I thought, "Oh thank god he didn't roll over on himself and twist himself to death in his own arms or get tangled in his blanket or strangle in the crib slats or get smothered by the cat or get his head stuck between the mattress and the wall." This feeling you're having will go away and your baby will get stronger and funnier and make weird little cute schpoopy noises that you're sure are words and you'll forget, after awhile, that you were worried every day about killing him.

    And then he'll fall down half a flight of stairs when you weren't looking and you'll have a mini-stroke and remember it 26 years later with a great deal of guilt like...um...my girlfriend did.

  4. Yes, motherhood is hard. My sister-n-law was in the same boat you are when my nephew was born. She had to breast feed him every two hours which was measured at the start of the feeding. Each feeding would take 45 minutes, so she had an hour and fifteen minutes between feedings. During that time, she would pump to boost her supply and supplement with formula.

    I was lucky enough to have an oversupply of milk at first, but I had my own breastfeeding issues. (Don't read between the *'s if your squeemish)

    *Chase had a horrible latch for a long time, possible because I had such an oversupply that he would bite down to try to stem the spray. The result was that my nipples were peeled for two months before they healed.*

    Now, I have to boost my milk supply because pumping isn't as efficient as direct breastfeeding so my supply starts to lower when I pump at work. Since Chase is having a growth spurt, he's drinking a TON right now.

    Mothers Milk Tea helps me a lot. You might try that to help boost your milk supply.

    If for some reason you have to formula feed completely, you're still a good Mom. Just the fact that you worry, proves this. Congratulations on surviving you're first two weeks as parents!

  5. first, the jealous person in me can't believe your little stud doesn't cry. it's the only thing my ladybug does.

    second, i am in the exact same boat feeling nervous about everything, but don't worry....babies are resilient.

    third, i'm so sorry to hear breastfeeding isn't working out as planned. i'm pretty sure that formula fed babies still turn our pretty rad. i'm positive of that actually. and every little bit of breastmilk you do give him is just a little bonus.

    you're doing great. i know it!


  6. Everything that you're feeling has been felt by every new mom.

    The best thing of a first-time mom experience is that you don't know what you don't know. Everything happens for a reason. You'll zig and zag and doubt and worry that you did something wrong. But the reality is that, doubt as you will, you are a MOM. You have instincts that you didn't know you had. Sometimes you'll wonder where the instincts are, and that's normal too. You will feel like you can't keep up or don't know what to do but - you'll get it. :)

    You got it!

  7. I'm gonna go off topic for two points (okay, three). one, LOVE the blog design! LOVE LOVE. two, your bedroom BLOWS ME AWAY. It is truly awesome! And put together! And all kinds of wonderful that is distracting me from the man nap happening in the middle. :) three, your baby is gorgeous. GORGEOUS. Good job, mama.

    Now: hormones suck. Suck suck suck. I actually told Carson the other day "I really hate all men sometimes because they don't ever have this hormonal thing happen so they think we're just crazy and irrational and faking it. And guess what? THIS IS REAL!!! And I HATE IT." And PMS hormones are a teeny percentage of post-partum hormones. So you? You're kicking ass. And Paul is too, he just doesn't have to fight through all the hormones to do it.

    Labels on formula cans are totally salt in the wound. You are an excellent mother. And formula is totally legit. They have all these chemicals for brain and eye development! As does breastmilk! Natural! Good for you! :)

  8. You are not going to kill him (unless he's a teenager and it's on purpose). My kids survived...and let me tell you, that's a major accomplishment! Babe already has a scar on her head from me, Bud has one that you can't see because of his hair, I've also closed his fingers in a door (when he was 5 months old) and couldn't figure out why the door wouldn't close so I slammed it harder (that was one for the record books, I don't know how I didn't break his fingers!)

    So you see, you'll mess up but kids are super resilient and won't even remember half that stuff anyway (I'm pretty sure. I hope.)

    Oh, and my youngest is 2 but I still have nightmares about them dying. In fact, just two nights ago I dreamed Babe died but I was able to revive her. That was a fun one!

    I've really made you feel better with this comment haven't I? You're welcome.

  9. @ Shelley - once again, you've managed to make me lol.

    @ everyone else... thank you SO MUCH for your encouragement. You're saving my heart right now.

    Fo realz.

  10. You don't know me but I will be a new mother in a matter of days and I am already scared to death. Your blog made me feel much better about impending parenthood and all teh emotions I am feeling. Keep us updated. I hope it is going well!

  11. well....I have a pond goldfish that got it tail eaten off by the other goldfish. I scooped it out of the pond and put it in a glass bowl with air pump and medicated the water. I put the bowl in a wood cabinet under our pole barn....because if you transfer and outdoor fish indoors in the winter you could kill it....well, the next morning, in late February, the goldfish was frozen in the top half of the bowl dead. The air pump still circulating the bottom half unfrozen part. I was devastated. The pond wasn't frozen....and it really wasn't that cold outside to me. If I can kill a fish...what about my kids?

  12. This may not help a few years too late, but for other readers.....not that this will help everyone and not that this is healthy, but when I drank Sprite my breast milk would come in really fast. Not helpful if you're diabetic, but for me that's what would happen. I didn't need the extra sugar, my breast milk produced fine as a vegetarian. I drank almost 100% H2O. Occasionally we would have a soda. I realized this my 3rd baby, I would have a sugary drink... and boom I was Dolly Parton. I think that corn syrup is the culprit. That is was they use in baby formula.


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