Chemical Dependency

I regret to inform the internet that Larissa is officially a full time, formula fed baby.

Because the first 3.5 months of her life were defined by all. the. time. crying,  we were forced to launch a full-scale investigation into the matter, the likes of which hasn’t  been seen since the Kennedy assassination.

Of course, when something goes wrong with a child the first suspect is always the mother (Munchausen, anyone?), so since I was breastfeeding I checklisted every single reason that my child was the equivalent of a wailing meatloaf.  She was getting too much foremilk.  She wasn’t latched correctly.  My letdown was too forceful.  It wasn’t forceful enough.  When all of those theories (and more) didn’t check out we moved to my diet, which as we all know is exceptional for its dependency upon iced coffee and Milk Duds.  How could there possibly be a problem?  I added and subtracted foodstuffs to my body until there was the week where all I consumed was water and Saltines.  Not only did I NOT lose a pound, people, the crying remained, strong as ever (it was likely withdrawal from her associative caffeine dependency).

As time went on, her crying not only involved open-mouth wailing and real (real!) tears, it also involved writhing and flailing.  It’s as if her tiny body was possessed by the devil himself.  And honestly, that wasn’t so far from the truth since the gas this little gal was emitting rivaled that of my husband.  What resulted was that every time I tried to nurse she clawed and scratched and screamed at me as if my breast was dispensing antifreeze rather that the all-powerful elixir that is breastmilk.  When I would finally get her to latch and eat, we would both have tears drying on our faces, exhausted by our shared struggle.

By the time our pediatrician pulled a “C.S.I.” on her soiled diaper to find trace amounts of blood and declare a potential protein allergy, I was already developing a chemical dependency…on formula, that is.  However, our doctor deemed our current brand impotent, and guided us to the gold-standard of formulas; that designed to soothe the ailments of a protein allergic baby.  As all veterans of war know, peace comes at a cost, and in our case it runs approximately $25.00 a can.  I haven’t been in on the drug scene in over 2 decades but I’m pretty sure that formula could give crystal meth a run for its money in terms of core street value.  In addition, our wee girl was given a menu of prescriptions that rivals those of your average middle-aged man with a high-stress career: antacids, laxatives, gas-reducers…the only thing she’s missing is the loosened necktie and dirty martini.

I have nursed four children and all but one has had formula at some point, but Larissa is the first one to go cold turkey on the breastmilk at such a young age and head directly to the hard stuff.  Disappointingly, Larissa has taken to formula like it is sweat from the baby Jesus, so great is her fervor and enthusiasm for the bottle.  After surving a potentially lethal in-utero birth defect it’s as if our baby has decided to permanently live on the edge.  Bring on the compromised immune system and the average intellect!  She’s off the boob and on the bottle, and I anticpate that this kind of rebellious, devil-may-care, in-your face attitude is the way it’s gonna be for good.

As a parent I’ve feared that I might one day have to address a chemical dependency with one of my kids.

Little did I know it would be with our four-month old.

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