It Aint Always Rosy {Breastfeeding}


I have had a fairly easy time breastfeeding. My children, from the start, had a great latch and breastfed well. And they seemed to really enjoy breastfeeding. There was not something I did, or read, to allow for this. It really was just the right combination of everything that allowed me to continue to breastfeed with ease. And because it was so easy for me I just kept going.

I had to introduce a bottle to my son fairly early on. When he was only two days old I was told I had to supplement with formula until my milk came in due to jaundice. He had no problem taking the bottle and nipple confusion was non-existent. He took a pacifier, he breastfed and he took the bottle. It was pretty awesome. Then he gave up the pacifier at 9 months. And only wanted me to soothe him. It was hard. But we got through it. And now, even though I am not breastfeeding him anymore, he still rubs my arm to soothe himself.

When my daughter was born I just assumed she would take a bottle as well. Trying to figure out our lives after we brought her home we just forgot about the whole bottle thing until I started pumping when she was about 3-4 weeks old. I wanted to start a freezer stash for when I went back to work so I started pumping once in the morning. I asked my husband to give her the bottle when I was out for a bit one evening and came back to a screaming child. She had refused to take anything from the bottle.

We thought it was a fluke. So we continued trying every few days and she never seemed to take anything from the bottle. I was starting to get worried when my return date for work fast approached. The day before I was scheduled to come back to work I tried the bottle again. And she took 1.5 ounces!!! I was relieved. And I happily left her with my husband for the day. And she didn’t take anything from him so he ended up coming to me at lunch for her to nurse. And so it continued.

The two days I worked she would hold out until my husband, mother-in-law and aunt-in-law brought her to me. I couldn’t handle it any longer and decided we would be better off if I was home with her 100% of the time until we could focus on other foods for her main source of nutrition (solids are not the main form of nutrition for infants until they hit 12 months, formula or breast milk should still be the main portion of their diet). So I have actually quit my job to feed my child.

I don’t know what would have happened if things didn’t go well with breastfeeding from the start. I really didn’t have a large support group of lactivists around me when I came home with my son. Sure there was the friendly internet but I didn’t feel like I had a buddy right next to me whom I could confide in for help. I think I felt more of the opposite. Those around me were more willing to encourage me to throw in the towel and start formula. I’m not sure if I’d push forward and seek the help I might need if I did need assistance or if I had problems I couldn’t figure out the answers for.

I now know that I need to be more open about my knowledge of breastfeeding, my experiences and the research I’ve done. I want new mothers to feel empowered, not scared to admit that it isn’t as easy as everyone makes it to be. I want new mothers who run into problems to know that if they truly want to exhaust all resources before throwing in the towel then there’s someone here for them to help them along the way. I also want new mothers to know that they AREN’T horrible parents if they choose to formula feed. That is their personal choice and no matter what the story is behind it they should not be chastised or feel bad about their choice.

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  1. Breastfeeding isn’t easy, especially when you see mother’s around you breastfeeding with ease. I remember the first month Payton was here and being around all my mommy friends and constantly being told to stick with it because “it” gets easier. Well, for me it didn’t and it made it more difficult to be around moms when I constantly heard, “just keep trying”. I consider this period of mommy-hood the hardest, I summed it up as to why I distanced myself and why I sunk deeper into my post-partum depression, because if they could do it, why couldn’t I? Now, being well over a year away from this stage I am happy I went with my decision of using formula. No matter what she got the nutrients she needed, she thrived and she’s healthy.

    Each child is different, like you experienced with Molly. Some latch with ease and some just don’t get it. I have been thinking lately how this second child will do with breastfeeding, will he feed with ease? Or, will I make it a month like I did with Payton? I will most likely try to BF for a few days, maybe a week or two but then we will probably switch over to formula. I enjoyed getting my independence relatively early on. I know some may think that is a selfish statement but my other half was able to help and bond; feeding time wasn’t solely mommy’s duty.

    I am sure Molly is thriving enough, especially now that she is six months and solids have been introduced. I thought that you left your job because of Joseph’s new job and his promotion? I wasn’t aware it was because of Molly’s lack of consuming milk from a bottle.

    Do you think that having the difficulties with Molly opened your eyes to the other side of feeding? I guess what I mean is, did you finally feel and see what maybe I went through? That may not have come out right, but seeing that not all mommy’s have it easy? I know you might have been aware of this, but going through it sometimes opens your eyes to what others are going through.

  2. I definitely see where you’re coming from, Mel. And while I do know that some if not most mothers don’t have it “easy” in one way or another I do think that what we’re going through with Molly refusing the bottle is peanuts compared to the problems we could have had.

    I don’t think you are selfish in any way to switch to formula though. That is what works best for you and your family and honestly it comes down to is your kid getting fed? That’s what’s really important 🙂 And what I’ve come to find is that, like you said, no kid is the same. One may have every problem under the sun with breastfeeding while the other comes out knowing exactly how to suck and what to do with no help or coaching.

    I consider myself a little selfish because I enjoy breastfeeding my children so much. Some may consider my love for it a bit crazy. However at times I do wish Joseph got the bonding time feeding Molly like he did with Ethan. But every bottle he was fed I had to pump. And that part sucked. And another reason why I really hoped breastfeeding worked for us is the cost of formula! They talk about breast milk being “liquid gold” but with the price tag a can of formula has on it I think they got that wrong!

    I really think though that if more moms talked openly and honestly about what was going on they might find that they aren’t as alone as they thought they were. There are others out there who are struggling with the same problems, issues and concerns. And not just regarding feeding their child.

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