This is more of a personal post, if anything. But I want the other moms who struggle like I did to know its ok, you’re not alone. The debate between bottle or breast is a real one-and I whole heartedly promote and feel that breast feeding your child is the best choice. But sometimes things just don’t work out the way they should-and well, I wanted to share my struggle in hopes that if I can make one other mom out there feel better about themselves, then I’ve made a difference.
When I was pregnant with Little, I was bound and determined-when he popped out, he was going to be a breastfed baby. My mom had breastfed my siblings and I, my sisters have breastfed their children-why wouldn’t I choose to do the same for mine?
I didn’t know how real the struggle was going to be. Not only did I receive very little breastfeeding support during my hospital stay- Little’s birth was unexpectedly quick, and as a result, we had a few minor issues with his sugar levels being too low and him getting the “trembles”, and his poor teeny heels being pricked for blood work every hour. Because he needed to get his levels up, he ended up being supplemented with formula.
Despite being tongue tied, he latched on to my breast quite quickly and easily, and we began trying to schedule feedings before we left the hospital, to what seemed like great success. When we got home, he’d feed on each side for extended periods of time, and then fall asleep, and we slowly started to fall into a routine.
But then I began noticing the times between feedings grew shorter and shorter, until I felt like I was constantly breastfeeding at all hours. He began not wanting to latch, until one evening, when he was a few days old, he just became inconsolable. He was refusing to latch, but was rooting feverishly, and just seemed panicked. It was fairly clear he was hungry, but was adamantly not wanting to latch, when before he’d been such a champ at it. We had been given premixed samples of formula from a friend of mine, and when we’d exhausted every other option we could think of to console him, we tried that-and well, he very quickly gulped down two full vials of it.
My heart broke right then. I thought that breastfeeding had been going so well, but in fact, my milk had not come in. He had been getting next to nothing from me, when I thought I’d been feeding him adequately.
We scheduled an appointment with a lactation consultant and tried several suggestions she had to get my milk to come in, to no avail. I tried pumping, but would end up with a half an ounce after pumping both sides for half an hour or more. I began taking Fenugreek with no luck. We read books, I researched myself silly online of possible solutions until each time it came to feeding, not only was Little wailing and in tears, but so was I. It just wasn’t working.
I felt like I had failed as a mom. How could I not be able to feed my child?
That’s when I realized that fed is best. It doesn’t matter how he was fed, just as long as he was. It didn’t matter how he was growing and developing, just that he was. I found support online and in person from other moms that had felt like I had-and I slowly began to realize I hadn’t failed as a mother. I was still caring for my child, loving my child, nourishing my child. It just wasn’t necessarily the way I had planned.
Motherhood is the hardest job in the world-it truly is. And as mothers I feel we need to lift each other up, support and encourage each other instead of judging one another just because we may not feel their choice is best. We all have our struggles, each and every one of us.
If you are a struggling mama, whether with feeding or anything else-I highly recommend you check out Similac’s Sisterhood of the Mommyhood. It’s an awesome support site where you can connect with other moms, and as they say “get encouragement, not judgement. A place to nourish each other, like we nourish our children.” When you’re there, be sure to watch their #EndMommyWars film as well.
Because as Ellen always says, “be kind to one another.”