Before my first was born I was sure I would breastfeed, no question about it – no problemo. To me, nothing is more beautiful, more sustaining, more natural. Respecting, even then, in my naivety about it all, that to BF or not to BF is a personal CHOICE, one strife with controversy and mayhem.
Am I an advocate for the benefits of breastfeeding against formula feeding? Yes.
Do I judge other moms who choose not to for completely cosmetic reasons? Or those who find it ‘gross’? Try not to, it’s HARD but – Not. My. Business. Hard though, because, simply put – most of us were born with this gift, this source of life-giving sustenance for a reason, surely. That’s in it’s simplest terms. I could get into citing article upon article, foundation upon organization, research upon staggering amounts of research as to why breastfeeding is best. The topic is constant, huge and touchy to say the least.
What I don’t jive with however, is the holier than-thou attitude that
some many, breast-feeding activists have. You see, it’s not all so black and white. Perhaps I’m already preaching to the knowledgeable - although with all of the backlash and shocking commentary out there on the interwebs on the subject it would appear, NOT.
It’s not a matter of choosing not to breasfeed or to breastfeed. For some yes, but don’t be giving me the stink eye Lactivista Woman in the park, when I feed my baby a bottle. I mean, it’s UNREAL! I say this because just as quick as I would be to get the stink-eye for bottle-feeding (unbeknownst to giver on whether it’s pumped or formula), another mama is getting looks or, asked to stop BF’ing in a children’s store, or ogled by some dude in the mall. All of this? Makes my mind boggle and ears steam.
My story falls in line with that of; we are not all created equal, with great, leaking mammaries gushing out the gold.
Sure, I heard all about how wonderful breast-feeding is, how it’s the most natural thing, the most beautiful, bonding, amazing, best-thing-ever. With all of that comes the unspoken/outspoken pressure. Especially if it’s something that you truly want to do, not because you should, but because you agree with all of that. Not because you should (or you’re a bad, selfish person), agree with that either. But because you really, truly, deeply, personally and instinctually, plain old agree.
What I didn’t hear about were the struggles I might face and how to cope. That information is just not as forthcoming. Perhaps I had on the blinders and was not informed because of my own lack of perusal of information.
I’m told I’m but of a small percentage of women who had ‘trouble’ producing enough milk. If you call trouble agonizing physical pain from cracked, ravaged bleeding nipples. TMI? Well they were, withered and battered, as was my soul, before I went to see a lactation consultant who’s jaw dropped in disbelief.
Not one to admit defeat, especially when it came to something I wanted to provide for my son SO BADLY, I tried everything. My midwives were there for me every step of the way. Herbs, prescriptions, pumping after the 6 week mark, trying not to be stressed about it because that affects milk flow too. It took about three moths before I was fully healed, where-in I kept at it, somehow – (there were lots of tears and fits of frustration), it became that beautific experience. One like no other. They way my sweet baby boy looked up at me while he fed, the instictual feeling I had knowing he felt at peace, completely blissed out, secure, loved, comforted and safe with a full tummy of the most nutritious stuff ever, to boot. Knowing I was giving him the best that I could.
Of course we had to supplement with formula, all throughout those 3 months and after, as it was apparently clear that I was not producing enough. It also took the better part of those 3 months to get over feeling like I was a failure because we had to supplement.
Now, only weeks away from having my new babe brought to my breast, I wonder if it will be the same hard road to travel – or do I now have Bond girl nipples, tough-as-nails, ready to weather the storm? Will my body bless me with producing more milk this time around?
I’ve read so many stories of how just as with labour, not to expect the same experience next time ’round. So. Is there anyone else in this small percentile with me? Not meaning to scare off you first time expectant mama’s who can’t wait to BF, but these challenges do happen. Thankfully, or so I’m told, not often. I hope my story reaches out to out to even just one BF’ing mom who is experiencing this right now. If you are reading, no matter how much you may not listen to me, you ARE NOT A FAILURE! I would love to hear from you.