Before I start, I want to make it clear that I am not knocking breastfeeding. I have many good friends who breastfed their children for an entire year and I think that is great. If you have the desire and ability to breastfeed, more power to you. If you don't though, that is okay too.
Although the thought of breastfeeding was never really appealing to me, I had always intended to do it for 6 months and continue longer if it was going well. During my pregnancy, I had no doubt that breastfeeding would be easy for me. My boobs were huge, like throw them over your shoulders huge, so I figured breastfeeding would be a piece of cake.
My first inkling that something was wrong was in the hospital when I was "nursing" her and nothing was coming out. The
Night #3: my mom and I were sleeping downstairs at my house with my sweet little Moose (my husband was upstairs because he had to work the next day) and she wouldn't stop screaming. I called the hospital and was lucky enough to get a nurse who told me to just give her formula, which I happened to have in the house thanks to a good friend who had given me some of her hospital samples.
That night started 6 weeks of pure hell, which I will detail in future posts, but the end result was that I put myself through hell, both physically and mentally, and still was unable to breastfeed.
During that time, I desperately needed support. I needed to know that I was not the only one struggling with breastfeeding issues, yet every single medical professional just kept telling me, "keep pumping and nursing and you will eventually make enough milk." Or, my personal favorite, "your body is making enough milk for her even though if seems like it isn't." Really? Did they teach you that in medical school because it is week #2 and my baby is still losing weight.
Every single thing that you look up online about breastfeeding says that it is a fact that only a very small percentage of women actually have trouble with milk supply. They claim that most women just aren't trying hard enough. Bulls*&%. I tried harder to breastfeed than I have tried to do anything else in my life. It just didn't work.
It didn't work and, you know what, that's okay. It is okay to not breastfeed your baby. Whether you try as hard as you can and it just doesn't work or whether you just don't want to...it is okay. Because guess what? It is not the end of the world. Your baby will be okay. Trust me.
When I was struggling (read: on the verge on a mental breakdown) with the decision formula feed my Sweet Moose, my husband asked me something that still sticks in my mind. He said, "Becky, you run a daycare. If you were to walk into every room, would you be able to tell who was breastfed and who was formula fed?" Obviously the answer to that is no. Apply that to your own life. The answer is still no.
Again, that is not to say that breastfeeding is not a wonderful thing if it works. IF IT WORKS. We all know the benefits of breastfeeding, but it doesn't work for all of us. And that is okay. What is not okay is that society makes you feel like a bad mother if you can't, or God Forbid, don't want to breastfeed. I didn't breastfeed and I am a great mother. My daughter eats an all organic diet, but more importantly, she is unconditionally loved and cared for, which, let's face it, is the most important thing we can do for our children.
As I started to recover from the experience, I began to share my story with people and was shocked to learn how many women struggle with breastfeeding. I was both blown away at how many people were in my situation and saddened that I didn't know that when I was going through it.
I will go into more details about my breastfeeding issues in the near future, but in the meantime, if you are struggling with breastfeeding, please know that you are not the only one. It is normal. You are a good mom and your baby will be okay.
Nursing my sweet girl (who is getting some extra love
from Scooter) when we got home from the hospital.