I’m pro breastfeeding. How couldn’t I be? I was breastfed and practically everyone I know successfully breastfed their children for
months. While pregnant, my husband and I attended the prenatal classes. We even attended the three hour breastfeeding class. From the nurses at the hospital, to my friends and family to the “Experts agree on the many benefits of breast milk” blurb on the formula packaging, I’ve heard the message loud and clear: “Breast is Best”.
Nursing may be a natural process, but for me, trying to determine the “perfect” position while holding my floppy, wriggling newborn, either wincing, sucking in a panic or falling asleep was anything but natural.
My daughter was a pro at latching when she wanted to be… Breastfeeding didn’t cause me terrible pain. My nipples weren’t cracking and bleeding, which many of my friends have experienced. However, she either fell asleep right away or seemed terribly hungry even after 40 minutes on one breast. At that point I would supplement with formula to make sure she was getting enough, get her back to bed and then pump to keep my milk supply up. After the nearly 2-hour process, we would start all over again…
Normal or not, the nighttime feeding process wasn’t working for us. I was getting sick. I found myself frazzled and not eating during the day. I was completely overwhelmed and consumed with the “Baby Nursing” app that I was forgetting the most important thing: enjoying time with my newborn and doing my best to make sure she is healthy.
I visited a lactation consultant on two separate occasions. My daughter was gaining weight and everything seemed to be going just fine, but we couldn’t tell if it was because I was supplementing or if she was getting enough breast milk. In order to help eliminate the nighttime craziness we decided that I would pump when she wanted to eat and bottle feed her breast milk. We bought a great pump and stocked up on freezer and refrigerator storage containers. However, I had no use for storage; I was pumping at most 2 ounces combined in a 20 minute pumping session. I was in tears and had the feeling that I was failing my first mommy test.
After going back and forth with my husband, who was going to support my decision either way, and a conversation with her pediatrician, I decided to stop the breastfeeding madness and transition to exclusively formula feeding.
The decision was made. Despite the fact that I felt like a failure and was consumed with guilt, the feeding process became smoother and more enjoyable for both of us.
Since I’ve made the decision 2 ½ weeks ago, I dread the topic coming up in conversation with other moms because I feel like I’m being judged or viewed as a quitter. The guilt is still there because we’re now determining which formula works best with her tummy and gas, but we’re getting there. Haven just had her 1 month check-up and got rave reviews.
The reality of my vision of a glowing breastfeeding mom cradling her happily latched baby is actually a sleep deprived, un-showered mom with a formula-filled bottle feeding her gassy baby. However, at the end of the day, I realized that don’t get an award whether I breastfeed or formula feed. The award is looking into the eyes of my newborn baby girl and having the mutual feeling of true love and knowing that we’re doing what works best for us; “breast” or not.