Like many new moms, I didn’t know a thing about breastfeeding before having a baby of my own. I just knew what I had heard from so many friends and family members : breast is best. So, I decided to do what was “best” for my baby . . . breastfeed.
I attempted breastfeeding for the first time with the hospital lactation consultant present. My son latched perfectly, I was producing breast milk, and that was that. We were breastfeeding.
Once home and settled in, my son ate ALL. THE. TIME . . . and he was a slow eater. We’re talking 30 minutes on each breast, and then he was hungry again about 30-45 minutes later. Even after all of these feedings, my son was barely gaining weight. I had to take him in for weekly weigh-ins at the doctor’s office for months.
I was pumping like a madwoman in between each feeding session to try and boost my milk supply. By the end of each day, I would barely have an ounce pumped.
Around four months in, my son and I both got thrush. He had it in his mouth, and I had it on my nipples.
I was stressed out. I was frustrated. My nipples constantly ached. My breasts burned. There was (a now permanent) indention on the sofa from where I sat to breastfeed. I couldn’t go anywhere, because I was the main source of nutrients for my baby, and I wasn’t brave enough at the time to try breastfeeding in public. I had to apply medicine to the inside of my son’s mouth before and after feedings, I had to apply medicine on my nipples after feedings, and I spent hours triple sanitizing all of the pumping equipment.
My life revolved around all things breastmilk . . . and it was driving me bonkers! I felt trapped.
The thought of quitting breastfeeding had crossed my mind several times and each time the thought passed, an overwhelming amount of guilt would engulf me. Words from loved ones would ring in my mind: Breast is best. Breastfeeding is the best bonding experience for mom and baby. Enter all the facts about the benefits of breastfeeding here.
It was my mom’s words that lifted the weight of the wanting-to-quit-breastfeeding guilt off of my shoulders, “You know, you were never breastfed . . . and you had to have soy formula.”
It was like the heaven’s opened up and the sweet angel’s voices were singing all around. I never in my life breastfed . . . and here I am, in good health, talking to my mother who I have clearly bonded with just fine.
That very day, I went to the store, picked up some formula, and fed it to my baby. It was a really happy day.
In fact, my son and I started building a better bond when we quit breastfeeding.
So, mama friends who are struggling in the breastfeeding department . . . I’m here to tell you that it’s okay to admit that breastfeeding isn’t for you. It’s okay if your baby has formula. A fed baby is best . . . whether by breastmilk or formula or both.
Do what keeps you sane, because THAT will make both you AND your baby happy.