Why Breastfeeding Wasn't for Me Either
A few months ago, Julia shared her story of why breastfeeding wasn't for her. She'd always wanted to breastfeed and took it a little hard when she wasn't able to. I, on the other hand, am a different case...
Ya know how you basically plan the type of mother you'll be? I'm talking before you're in the position to be a mom. When you imagine your dream wedding, man and family with your teenaged friends (and prioritizing what society expects from a female, but I digress).
In the days prior to being "woke," I did this. My wedding would be a good size, my man 6'2" with wash board abs (hahaha) and I'd be an open and honest mother of 2. I'd have two healthy baby boys, a year apart, and I wouldn't have breast fed either one.
That's right, I said it. When I was growing up, I had no interest in breastfeeding.
It was for a pure selfish reason. At the time, my boobs weren't big and I didn't want to risk losing any of what I had. I got the notion from somewhere that once your breasts stopped filling up with milk, the end result would leave them less perkier then before. I didn't want small saggy titties.
Fast forward to the real life moment of growing a life and preparing to be an actual mother, I ended up changing my mind. The saggy tits weren't a concern. Well a prioritized concern. As life got real, so did the decisions.
I changed my mind to breastfeed because of the cost. I knew that formula was expensive and a reoccurring purchase that I didn't want to make. Especially sense the alternative was free. That was my frugal rationalization.
Beyond that, I love the breastfeeding movement that's happening right now. How mother's are more open to feeding their children in public situations despite the unwanted opinions of others. I think it's brave even though it should be seen as something natural.
My modesty wouldn't let me pull my tit out to feed but I also wouldn't feel like I'd have to run to the car everytime she needed to eat. I could probably do it with a cover-up or wrap.
Breastfeeding also provides more nutrients than formula and is tailor made for your baby.
Now fast forward again to my delivery story and getting a c-section, flat lining, being stuck in ICU and being with my daughter 2 days after she was born. Unfortunately, going through all of this blocked my production of breast milk. Something else to add to the list of trials of tribulations of this birth. Despite this, I still had the goal to breastfeed Ava.
The troubles started the first night while in the recovery room. Jumping into Love and Ava's routine, I tried to breastfeed for the first time. It hurt. She cried. I was confused. And it hurt. The nurse continued to help and set up a tiny tube that would dispense formula milk as the baby sucked on my nipple. Getting her to latch on right and while trying to shove a tiny tune in her mouth at the same time proved very difficult and annoying.
After two days in the hospital and constant assistance from the lactation nurses, I thought I had breastfeeding down. I was ready to go home and put all of that horror behind me. That didn't really happen.
We get home and the contraption was still annoying as ever. I couldn't get Ava to latch right. Very little, if any, of my breast milk was coming out. And I didn't want to get up in the middle of night to deal with any of it. That last one was pretty selfish...but I really love my sleep and any disturbance makes me cranky.
My breastfeeding experience got so bad that I became paranoid at every interval she was supposed to be fed.
Every time she moved in her sleep, it scared me because I thought we would have to go through an early feeding. Every session was a nightmare of trying to get my nipple and tube in to her slightly opened mouth only to take my nipple out and redo it because it wasn't right. I often "took one for the team" and sat through the pain until she got what she needed.
A week after being home, I made a lactation appointment hoping that I would gain the confidence to make this work. I did gain that confidence...but it only lasted in the doctors office. During the appointment, I was able to put her on my breast twice by myself with no pain and pump out 2 oz of breast milk. I left that office happy, refreshed, hopeful and ready! That was short lived.
At her next feeding, she chomped the s#!+ out of my nipple. Confidence blown. There were three feedings that followed that made my nipple pain worse, agitated Ava and forced me to hold back tears.
The final feeding...was...a heavy one. Sitting on the couch, I had Ava in the cross cradle position ready to feed her. As I brought her up to my nipple to push her on, my reflexes made me jump back. I did this a few times which made her scream. When I finally got her on, it was as if a needle were going through my nipple. I immediately took her off and we both cried as I made her a bottle of formula.
Love came out and saw me crying as I fed her.
I gave her to him and finished my breakdown in the bathroom. After calming myself down I decided I was done.
A week later and this was the best decision for me and my baby girl. As much as I would love for her to get the super nutrients from my breast milk, I'd rather us have a stress free relationship. I don't need her going through life with a stigma that mommy teased her and wouldn't feed her. Or have her feel my anxiety everytime she was awake. Or have my nipples continue to be a casualty.
Giving up breastfeeding has made Ava's and my relationship that much sweeter. I can fully enjoy her now. Not to mention that Daddy was also able to take over nights when I felt completely exhausted.
I don't feel bad about my decision or feel like I'm a bad mom because of it. The situation is what it is and I made the right choice for me and my family. I still think breastfeeding is a beautiful thing and should openly be embraced, I just won't be the one doing it.