I see a lot of blog posts and comments that seem to make women feel less of a woman if they choose not to breastfeed and it made me think a lot about why I chose not to. In a day in age when Time magazine publishes a mother breastfeeding her 3 year old on the cover it seems as though the world is obsessed with the topic. I am not against it all and in fact I praise you for doing it, sticking to it, and reaching your personal breastfeeding goals. What I hate is the fact that many women feel that they are failures as a mom for not doing so.
With my first son I was very strong willed...I WOULD breastfeed. I honestly thought he would just come out, latch on, and we would bond through our breastfeeding experiences until he got teeth or turned one. It turned out to be one of the worst experiences ever. I am not trying to turn anyone off from breastfeeding as yes, breast is best, so STOP READING NOW if you do not want to here my horrible experience.
1. He would not latch on we tried every way and every device possible and this kid was not having it. I remember the lactation nurses being stumped and telling me don't worry he will eventually get it. Nope.
2. Since he would not latch on I was forced to use a hospital pump. I have never experienced a more horrible pain then pumping dry boobs (and yes I had just given birth and there was NO comparison). My milk had not come in yet so pumping every couple hours was excruciating! I would bite my tongue and whisper curse words to myself as I turned on the machine.
3. I was determined to give this kid breast milk though so I pumped and pumped. I was so proud of myself my freezer and fridge filled with milk. I was like a dairy cow pumping away. I had so much I could donate it I thought to myself. ~ I did have one happy memory :)
4. Then it happened I woke up in the middle of the night and my boob was a rock. I am not even exaggeratting it was so hard and hurt so bad I wanted to chop it off. I pumped to find no relief. I googled "boob hard as rock" and realized I had a clogged milk duct and it should go away within a day. Fine I thought I could handle a day, hot shower maybe that will help.
5. I woke up that morning feeling like death. It had now become infected. I was not moving from that bed at all. It felt like I had bubonic plague. Thankfully my husband was home to take care of our newborn son all day.
6. 24 hours later it did go away I felt fine and I went to pump and nothing. I pumped the next day, every 3 hours, and got maybe an ounce total. I tried the next day and it was the same. Seriously I thought, where did it all go I was a freaking cow with bottles overflowing I had to stop pumping just to put more bottles on the pump I had so much milk.
I was DONE!! I just couldn't take it anymore and was pleased I at least had enough milk to get through the first month.
When I became pregnant again I made the decision not to even try. Mainly because of me. Some people may think I am selfish and maybe I am but it was my choice to make. I would have been home alone with a 2 year old and a newborn and didn't want to have to worry about pumping. Being attached to a pump every 3 hours for 15-20 minutes is time consuming and draining and then add keeping track of a curious two year old while your boobs are attached to a pump. Washing all the parts after you pump every single time, sterilizing them, is draining too. I didn't get that cute little sign in his bassinet at the hospital that says "I am a breast fed baby". Was it the best choice? Who knows, but I do know I was stress free (as a mother can be with a newborn and a 2 year old), my baby was happy, and isn't that what truly matters.
I just want all those mothers out there to know whether you tried and stopped or decided to use formula you are not a failure. You are just as much of a mama to the little baby as a mama who breastfeeds. Do what you think is best for you and your situation and don't feel the pressure of what society has defined as the perfect mommy.