DISCLAIMER: PER USUAL I DID NOT SPELL CHECK OR GRAMMAR CHECK, NO TIME OR PATIENCE.
I have said it a million times, motherhood is always something I dreamed of and a huge part of motherhood to me was breastfeeding. There was something magical tied to breastfeeding in my mind; between the super powers of having the ability to feed a child anywhere/anytime with my body and the bond shared. While pregnant I racked up on all things needed for breastfeeding: the nipple creams, the crazy looking bras, the wild contraptions that came with pumping, an assortment of feeding pillows (which even came with me to the hospital), and tons of pads for my soon to be leaking boobs!
When I finally got my hands on Kennedy in the hospital it was immediately time to get her on the boob (yay!!) my excitement very quickly turned to fear when I heard my little baby scream for bloody freaking murder the second she assumed position! The rest is a little blurry (I was heavily medicated) but I remember pumping at some point and her always screaming bloody murder when it was boob time in turn causing me to cry out of fear, frustration, and disappointment. The lactation counselor came in and spent a good amount of time with us trying to find positions that would work and guide us through the process; the bloody murder cry never ended but we kept trying. One very early morning a nurse came in to wake me up and tell me Kennedy dropped 12% in body weight and that she highly suggested supplementing; while I was heart broken because this is not what I wanted without hesitation I told her to feed my baby...I knew she needed to eat and regardless how she got her food the most important thing was she got it!
MISSION: GET THIS CHILD TO LIKE MY BOOB continued throughout our hospital stay and once we got home; I also continued pumping to keep the supply up and so that she would have boob milk for feedings. The story remained the same she HATED the boob or the positioning who knows; we tried nipple shields, different positions, different rooms, lighting, and times...nothing worked! I continued pumping (a very exhausting and at times painful job) and fed her breast milk via baby bottle and she was happy. Even though I was feeding her through a bottle I kept trying to get her on the boob and it was breaking my heart that she wouldn't take my boob BUT I was happy that I was still providing her with breast milk. Like I mentioned pumping was a full time job, my boobs would get super hard, full, painful, and leak (very glamorous); my boobs also gave NO FUCKS if I was out and about or trying to get sleep they needed to be pumped on their time (there goes zero control again). What blew my mind is when my boobs got to that super painful point it felt like I had gallons of milk ready to gush out of them but oddly enough after 30 mins of pumping I would only have enough for her next feeding at most her next two feedings; but with no experience I figured that was how it went. As time went on my little gorditas appetite was increasing but my milk supply was decreasing so I found myself having to supplement with formula again, my supply was not meeting her demand.
I was starting to feel very defeated; I was trying so hard to make it work! It was bad enough that she didn't want to feed off my breasts and we didn't get to share that special bond but now I was not even able to supply her with all her food naturally. At this point I was trying everything; pumping longer, eating foods that increased lactation, my grandmother made me a concoction of seeds, lactation teas, education, extra pumping time...EVERYTHING! It also didn't help that the first question almost everyone asked me was "so are you breastfeeding", it was a constant reminder and conversation that I wasn't succeeding. Now 99.9% of the folks that asked this question meant ZERO harm (it's a normal and common question) and were super supportive and understanding when I shared what was happening, most had the same response "as long as your baby is eating and healthy, that is what's important". BUT there were a few hard core folks who kind of made me feel like shit about "giving up" and "not being committed enough" (like wtf!); they said giving her the bottle of breastmilk was a fail because I was making it too easy for her (apparently letting my baby go hungry because she wouldn't eat from the boob was a better idea) they really made me feel like I was doing a disservice to my baby by not breastfeeding..after I cried a little I put on my big girl pants and stopped responding to those people; I was already being hard on myself I sure as hell didn't need the outside pressure (girl(s) bye!)
Unfortunately, the demand beat the supply eventually; I was producing at most one ounce between BOTH breasts after 30 minutes of pumping. It freaking sucked and killed me inside but I finally made the decision to stop; breastfeeding/pumping was not working for US! Once I finally let it go and did what was best for us I felt great and was able to feel proud about MY CHOICE! I am able to confidently talk about how my child is fed and explain why I made the decision; I know I don't have to explain but I think it's very important that women know they have a CHOICE and not to feel the immense pressure that comes with motherhood especially breast feeding. There are so many crazy pressures put on women from having a child to how the hell you feed the child! If a woman doesn't want to have a child KUDOS TO HER for knowing that and making the decision that is BEST FOR HER; if a woman doesn't want to breast feed because she wants her partner to handle night feedings KUDOS TO HER for making the decision that works BEST FOR HER FAMILY. It will always be a mystery to me why people feel so compelled to judge aspects of other peoples lives that literally have ZERO impact on their own. So kudos to those women who are willing and able to breast feed (or pump) for years and to those who shake up that formula and pop a bottle...congrats your child is being fed!
Holy crap I ramble sometimes and once again this post took me way longer than it should have to write. Moral of the story don't let the myths and outside world pressure you in any aspect of your life; do YOU BOO BOO!