breastfeeding,  Life in Italy,  motherhood,  Parenting,  sleep issues

Language Barriers

So I have this incredibly weird relationship with breastfeeding. (Pulitzer prize material, that opening line.) On the one hand, I’m so thankful I can feed my babies this way, and completely in awe of the way my body works.

On the other hand, I’m sick of being 10 lbs overweight, waking up at all hours of the night, and being on call 24/7 for an almost-20-lb ‘newborn’ who can’t seem to self soothe because, wait for it…he has never had to. Idiots, we are.

“I own you, Mother.”

Yesterday, after a lengthy facebook chat with my best friend, and the 23rd consecutive night of broken sleep in Italy, I made the heart-wrenching (Really? wtf is wrong with me, seriously?) decision to (gasp) buy formula and (shudder) put it into a freaking bottle and let Daddy go on night duty.

It should be noted, I actually have a rocking breastpump, a perfectly willing husband who has offered multiple times to take over night feedings, and an apparent complete inability to relinquish control of this area of child-rearing, but for whatever reason, last night was the night to pull the trigger.

I think it maybe had a little something to do with the 9.6% ABV of the Scotch Pub Ale I consumed with dinner at our (our) very own little Irish pub downstairs from our apartment. I swoon. But I also digress.

Fortified by strong drink and terrible, terrible salad topped with fennel, raw salmon, and radicchio, I made my way down the block to a nearby Farmacia (highly confusing to this Colorado girl, as they are marked by neon-lit green crosses, which mean something a bit different in my mind) where I stared stupidly up at a shelf of overpriced baby goodies for something like 15 minutes.

As I scanned the shelves, looking for something that looked like formula, the internal debate raged:

Am I a terrible mother? Is this admitting defeat? Will this actually help me sleep at night? Will I get pregnant in 11 minutes when my cycle comes back after feeding JP one bottle? Are the store workers talking about me right now?

I finally settled on a can of what looked to be promising powder, and read it while walking home, trying in vain to decipher the Italian.

Dave, whose schooling has continued and who is much more fluent already than I can ever hope to be, was equally puzzled by the stuff, but I consulted my memory banks from years of babysitting adventures and scooped 4 tbs into a bottle of sterile water (actually, flat mineral water, which probably tasted absolutely delicious.)

I went to bed after nursing the little beast last night, filled with a mixture of hope and guilt, and much to my delighted surprise, he woke only once last night. ONCE. And he drank some of the bottle Dave offered him, only to demand a top-up from yours truly around 2 am. But still….going from 3 or more wakings to one was a dream come true.

I faced this morning with a strong cup of espresso and a new gleam in my eye, and I examined the bottle from the night before, noticing something rather odd, something that seemed quite out of character for formula to do.

Breakfast of champions.

The bottle had completely settled out in solution, so that it looked like on of those Jello desserts from the early 90s, with 3 different layers of something special, each a different shade of taupe.

Um, ew.

Being the fantastic mother that I am, I bravely lifted the bottle to my lips to sample what my youngest wolf had been feasting on in the night.

Powdered biscotti is the answer. I shit you not.

I don’t know, it felt right at the time of purchase.

I gagged on a mouthful of chalky, biscuit-y mineral water, feeling a mixture of disgust and relief. I mean, technically, I hadn’t given him formula after all…he had sucked down a bottle of gruel last night, and he slept! Hallelujah.

Still, after tasting that stuff, I think I have a better idea of why the Italian birthrate is so low.

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