Avoiding Breastfeeding GuiltMolly Thornberg
Not breastfeeding my first child was not my choice. Nor was it the case with my second or third. As much as I tried, breastfeeding just does NOT work for me.
These boobs don’t make the milk that my babies need to survive. So yes, I have 3 healthy children raised on formula.
With my first child, I was gung-ho on breast is best. The doctors, nurses and friends had brainwashed me into thinking breastfeeding being the only way you fed a child the first year of his or her life. My daughter arrived a wee 6lbs 1 oz. She was tiny. The nurse presented her to me, insisted that I start breastfeeding immediately. Not knowing what I was doing, she grabbed my breast, showed me what was up – and I thought all was peachy.
Fast forward to my daughter’s 2 weeks check-up. She wasn’t up to her birth weight yet, the doctor called in a lactation specialist and I was put on a strict diet with herbs to increase my breast milk. My baby wasn’t gaining weight. I returned at the 1 month check-up to be told, she was failure to thrive if I didn’t change to formula. I instantly felt like a loser. I couldn’t even feed my own child. What type of mother was I to feed my child FORMULA? Hello, breastfeeding GUILT.
After birthing my second child, I explained to the nurses at the hospital my situation with my first and challenges breastfeeding. It was as if she didn’t hear me. A lactation specialist was called in, I was hooked up to a hospital grade pump, and BOO-YA – proven. I wasn’t producing much of anything.
By the third go around, I had relaxed enough to explain that while I was happy to feed my child whatever I had, it wouldn’t be enough. Again, the breastfeeding police charged in and explained how breast is best. It took a stern conversation involving my husband for the nursery to understand my child would need to be supplemented.
After experiencing the misunderstanding of the breastfeeding police, I’ve learned that avoiding breastfeeding guilt is hard to do. While most experience challenges with latching, positioning and sleep – it’s not explained nearly enough that you may just not be able to breastfeed. On top of that, there needs further explanation that if you aren’t able to or choose not to breastfeed – your child WILL survive. You can still raise a healthy child on formula. I have 3 children to prove it.
Image source: survival4moms.com
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