To breastfeed or not to breastfeed…that is the question.
If you’ve followed me from when I gave birth to Mabel, you’ll remember that I was super pumped (pun intended) to breastfeed and give her breast milk. I read all the books I could get my hands on, looked up websites on tips, info and positioning, bought almost every product out there to help be successful, and I can’t tell you how many times I heard ‘breast is the best’…and I had it all figured out (or so I thought). But Mabel had other plans.
Mabel was born, my milk came in on day three, and Mabel wouldn’t latch. I tried, and I cried…and I tried some more, and I cried some more. Nothing worked, she wanted nothing to do with the breast and would pull back out of frustration each time. It was killing me…every mom should be able to feed their child, right?
Mabel lost weight…a lot of weight. And at the 1 week checkup, they figured out she had a tongue tie which was preventing her from latching (it’s when that little flap under your tongue is too tight so your tongue can’t move as much as it should). So it was clipped…but it didn’t solve the problem. Mabel had gotten used to the fast flow of bottles and despite many meetings with lactation consultants, breast feeding just wasn’t meant to be this time around.
I cried some more…I continued to feel like I had failed her and just couldn’t understand how it could be so easy for some mothers and it had been a task as daunting as climbing Mt. Everest for me. It wasn’t fair. It was obvious I had entered the world of postpartum depression, couldn’t stand to see anything breastfeeding related on tv or in person, and I was sad when I was around Mabel being fed by a bottle…it made me feel even more like a failure.
Not to mention, I still to this day remember getting nasty messages left on YouTube videos and blog posts about how I was a bad mother for not breastfeeding or that Mabel would have died back in the day before formula was created. I was amazed at how easily I was judged from women who didn’t even know or care to hear the whole story.
I pumped for two months before giving in to formula. I had been pumping religiously but had started resenting the amount of time I spent hooked up to a pump (I’m pretty sure the depression was why I felt that way). I let myself dry up for my sanity. And I remember the first bottle of formula being so hard for me to prepare (I actually had my husband do it and feed it to her).
And you know what…it wasn’t the end of the world.
Mabel was happy…my husband was happy…and I was getting there. My postpartum depression slowly faded and I began to feel like a real human being again. But the kicker was that in the whole stupor of feeling bad for myself about not being able to breastfeed, I feel like I missed out on the first three months of Mabel’s life. Nothing can give me that back again.
And trust me, I’m not going to let that happen to me again this time around.
So if you’re wondering if I’ll give breastfeeding a shot with this little baby, the answer is yes. I will give breastfeeding another go…BUT I will head into it knowing that the breast is not always the best. I know some will disagree with me and that’s completely fine but you know what? Breastfeeding doesn’t always work out…and that’s okay!
Neither breast milk or formula will determine your child’s future or what kind of parent you are. Simple as that.
I feel kind of silly looking back on all of this and how hard I was on myself. Babies don’t care how they are fed…breast or bottle…breast milk or formula…they just want to be fed.
I’ve got all my breastfeeding essentials prepared this time; nipple creams, pads, nursing bras, and a trusty pump (on it’s way to my home as I type this) and I’m optimistic…but realistic too. 🙂
I guess all I can do now is sit back and wait for Baby Girl’s arrival. And trust me, I’ll keep you all posted as to how it all pans out…
But right now…cheers to feeding whatever way works best for you and your baby!
Was breastfeeding challenging for you? Did you decide to formula feed from the get go? I’d love to hear your story!