Some people take to breast feeding like a duck to water. I didn’t glide or swim quite that easy. At all. I have taken to it more like a cat to water. So has my son.
I think that the breast is best. Absolutely the best thing for Mom and baby. And before I gave birth I never thought there was any other way I would ever do it. When I heard other Moms talk about the bonding experience and the closeness it created I imagined me with my little monster as I gave him the liquid gold that my body just naturally created as I nourished and loved him. And truthfully, when I heard the stories of people that couldn’t breastfeed or didn’t do it for very long I thought they were lazy or just didn’t try hard enough (baring any medical reasons of course).
All these thoughts were only solidified more for me when I read all my pregnancy books and went to the breastfeeding class. I was worried about breastfeeding (and being able to since I have had breast enhancement surgery) so I felt so much better when I learned that babies are naturally drawn to our nipples by sight and smell and they want to drink. And though I think that is a beautiful thing and am amazed by a woman’s body, I wish they would have told me that it isn’t all sunshine and roses.
Nobody told me, “breastfeeding is hard”. Nobody said, “you may not enjoy it”. And nobody said, “Your little one may struggle with it”. But I wish they had.
After struggling with it for the first few weeks, things started to go smoother which made me very happy. And I was really relieved when he started eating quicker and not taking his standard 45-60 minutes. But it was never smooth. I actually looked forward to the times when I knew I would pump and bottle feed. It was so much easier for both of us.
When I took him in for his 2 month check-up (actually at 10 weeks) he had only gained 2 pounds in 8 weeks. Not good news. I explained that I thought he had acid reflux (which he did) and was prescribed some medicine and told not to change anything he would start gaining weight. Well a couple days after the appointment we started refusing my breast. Sometimes he would suck for a few minutes and then stop and cry. Other times he wouldn’t latch on and would cry every time I would try. It was very disheartening and I felt rejected.
I did a lot of reading and asked for a lot of advice but he wouldn’t eat and since he only weighed 8.5 lbs I didn’t feel comfortable with letting him skip meals. So I started pumping and also supplementing with 2 ounces of formula (I just don’t make enough – although I still eat oatmeal every morning and drink milk tea and lots of water). I still offer the breast at every feeding and there are times, like this morning, when he stays on 8-10 minutes. And there are other times he is completely uninterested.
Although I am coming to terms with it, I feel like a failure. Yes, I made it to 3 months *sort of* but I am 9 months short of my goal. I am still pumping but my supply seems to be slowly fading. I only get about 12 ounces out a day.
When opening up about all the issues I faced I have found a lot of other Moms that have similar stories and also had a hard time. Why don’t we share that information before hand? Why don’t we start with, “Breastfeeding is the very best thing for your baby. Although it comes easy to some, it is difficult for many others…”
There are things that I will probably do different with my next baby but really, there wasn’t much I did *wrong* this time. Maybe this was the Lord’s way of humbling me. Now when I hear women say they didn’t breastfeed or only breastfed for a short time I wonder, “what is their story?”.
I have learned that although breast is best, it isn’t always possible. And more important than breast is love- which he gets no shortage of.