I should have known what I was in for when you came out of the womb and went straight for my breast. You nursed for 45 minutes! I was smitten and so proud.
Once we were home, I cheerfully raised your helpless body up to my chest. Daddy helped you learn where your mouth should be. I swooned at your gulps and sighs of bliss. Everyday you were home with me and I fed you. I happily spent my days dispensing and collecting milk because you were so precious. You knew I was your lifeline and rewarded me with your affection.
Watching you be so tender and sweet and dependent upon me touched me every time, even in the fog of the night. Nursing you was the greatest experience of my life.
But things have changed.
You are out of control.
When it is bright in the morning I wake to my breasts being fondled. It is you. Now that your fine motor skills are beginning to develop, you no longer hit me in the face or kick to rouse me. You attempt to help yourself. I bare my breast to you and you feverishly latch as if we didn’t go through this routine 60 minutes prior. When you begin to drift and I think you are done, you are not. This goes on.
In our waking hours, I enter a room and your desperate eyes laser on me. You nearly jump out of your Gan Gan’s arms to reach me. Pleased, I take you into my embrace and nuzzle your cheek, but you ignore my affection and instead stoop down to my breasts in search of your fix. I should have by now learned that your preference for me is just a front for your compulsion.
You have lost control so greatly that you plant your mouth over and over across my shoulders, chest, neck, and face and suck anywhere as if we haven’t been through this hundreds of times before. Get a hold of yourself, baby.
As I sit to prepare to deliver your next hit, I am forced to pry your strong baby hands from my shirt to allow me to get to my bra. You grunt. Once a breast is exposed you zone in latch with abandon. You used to take my entire areola into your mouth, but after your days on the bottle, you settle for crushing my nipple.
Desperate, you attempt to nurse, but when the milk doesn’t let down immediately you pull back as if to make sure you’re in the right place. You fuss. You do this multiple times until the milk comes.
Once your drip has begun, you begin to relax as your dopamine receptors are flooded. Your eyes roll back and close and you are my precious baby again; no longer a hopeless junkie.
But then, inevitably you pull away exposing my breast to the masses. You don’t care because all you think about is yourself. You fiend.
I coax you back on. You grab at my face and shred my skin with your sharp baby nails. I hold on to your hands but I am afraid.
You drink so much that you throw up, nearly every time. You are constantly wetting your diaper and you can’t even walk. The other day you threw up while eating and hardly skipped a beat. Look at yourself! You’re a mess.
You can’t even make it through church without tapping the bottle, you are so far gone.
When I am not around, you enlist your father to do your bidding. “Will you be home soon?” he texts; trying to be cool but I know you have put him up to it with your wails and threats. In the night, you call out to him and he runs to your aid like the enabler he is, and brings you to me to fuel your habit.
When you come to my bed, my haven, I can’t roll over fast enough. You have grown to be aggressive and you need to know that. I present my breast to nurse you, but it’s not good enough. You still cry “more!” We go on like this.
Baby, you are six months old and you must do better. Awake or asleep you want the milk to excess. My nipples grow sore from your incessant latching. I try to cut you off when I think you have had enough, but I am afraid of what you might do. You have become such a tyrant you dictate what I wear and how long I can leave the house.
What happened, my child? Your addiction is so strong you want the white to flow constantly like an IV drip. You used to get your fill and go, but now you don’t give up unless you fall asleep or can be distracted. You are combative and unruly, and we just want you to be quiet so we give in to your radical demands.
I feed you sweet potato, apple, and salmon yet you still cannot be satisfied. You must have the breast for dessert. I am at your behest. You use biology and mind control to keep me committed to you, but I am starting to realize what we have become.
What was once beautiful and precious is now a toxic struggle for power. You are calling the shots but you can’t even burp on your own. Am I so weak?
I must take back control from my infant. I know you are a master manipulator, but I am Mommy. You are beautiful and cunning, but I ruined my vagina for you. I have to put my foot down. Your pediatrician urged me to breastfeed you for at least a year but he didn’t know about your ways. He didn’t know how your addiction would control our family.
I have done some thinking, baby, and I have made a decision. Because I don’t want you to grow up thinking you can abuse your loved ones and have us afraid of the tantrums you throw, I have to stop you here.
Listen closely: if you bite my nipple one more time it will be your last. Tread lightly, my friend. Your precious, gummy, delicious smile and baby coos will only take you so far. I love you, but I can’t let you do this to me- to us. You must be stopped, but ultimately the decision is yours. It’s reform or formula. What will it be?