Why do moms just give up trying with breastfeeding?
Isn’t breastfeeding so much cheaper?
Isn’t it healthier for the baby to breastfeed?
Don’t you think it’s a little selfish to not even try?
Does it really hurt that bad?
All questions I asked before giving birth to my daughter. All questions I asked before my daughter was bedridden for five days, around the clock laying on lights because she was jaundice. All questions I asked before my neck was so sore from leaning over to try to get her to latch after not holding her for five days. All questions I asked before my milk supply plummeted
I won’t pretend I’m not disappointed. I do feel as though the opportunity to breastfeed successfully was somewhat taken from me. But I also won’t lie when I say I hated it. I hated the way I felt. I’d pump and be angry. Angry that my SO got to sit there all normal-nippled, while I leaked into the ugliest misshapen nursing bra that I’d already washed 56 times. Angry that my back was becoming a question mark from leaning over a pump for an hour, just to get less than an ounce. Angry that I never knew how much she was getting to eat. Angry knowing that a bottle of formula would fill her hungry belly and knock her right out so I could sleep.
The reason I’m writing this is NOT to discredit breastfeeding moms. I want to make it VERY clear that moms who exclusively breast feed deserve the worlds biggest glass of guilt-free wine and 27 back rubs. Maybe toss in a chocolate bar or two. The reason I am writing this is because I was soooo naive and maybe I want to be a sounding board for moms who are sitting in their gliders and rocking chairs squeezing their boobs to death to get out one drop of breast milk. It’s okay to keep going. It’s also okay to quit.
My experience was very unique as Jo had at home light therapy for 5 days after leaving the hospital. This meant feeding her 2oz every 2 hours. From start to start. Meaning if I fed her, changed her, and took her temp at 2am she might not fall back to sleep until 3-3:15 allotting me 45 mins to fall back asleep before doing it all over again. Add in pumping to keep up my supply to match the demand and you had one zombified mama. I had no choice but to supplement. I felt defeated. I came to a point where I started to think about the kind of mom I wanted to be, one that was breastfeeding and miserable, or one that supplemented and was happy. Naturally over time my supply decreased more and more and after hours of ringing out my udders like a cow for a single drop of that liquid gold, I said f*** it. I quit. I was relieved. I could finally enjoy motherhood. I was no longer shackled by the tubes of my breast pump. I WAS FREE. Free to wear regular bras without nipple pads. Free to lay on my boobs in the night without waking up in a puddle of sticky booby juice. Free to have a glass of wine. I no longer had to squeeze my entire areola into the shape of a burger or taco to shove it into my babies mouth. Yes, I was free.
So with that being said, the next time you pass judgement to a mother who “gave up” breastfeeding remember this: In two years your snot nosed little angel is probably going to only want chicken nuggets and ice cream so shove your well-to-do “breast is best” nonsense, and let us feed our little ones how we see fit.