[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #9b9b9b;”] S[/dropcap]o I’ve been praying and thinking a lot about breastfeeding and if I will try it again, and this post has just been sitting in the queue as I wasn’t sure if I wanted to share something so personal. However, seeing how often I’m asked about this topic, I thought I would take the open/honest approach from the get-go.
Here we go . . . if you haven’t already heard my struggles, let’s recap: Ryder was not able to breastfeed at all. We saw lactation specialists, sucking specialists, and did everything possible to help him nurse, and nothing worked. We had every feeding/pumping/sucking apparatus you could get (thank the Lord that we also had awesome health insurance back then). The specialists finally said that he had a very poor sucking reflex, and there was nothing that I could do to trigger it. So I pumped until I went back to work, and then I gave it all up due to pure exhaustion. I would spend an hour pumping, followed by an hour feeding, followed by an hour of sleep, only to start it all over, and then get up and go to work. Not great, especially when also recovering from a c-section. I went through a lot of guilt, a lot of kicking myself, a lot of fear about formula because I read far too many articles on formula and all the options available, and was embarrassed every time I fed him in public. It took over two years to get over all that garbage that I put myself through. I was one unhappy mama.
Fast forward to Ezra, the big baby who was born hungry, and guess who couldn’t breastfeed this time? Me!! No milk = starving, angry baby. He was such a big, happy baby, yet it very quickly went into a situation of baby losing lots of weight, hungry, frustrated, and screaming his head off when it came time to try to get him to nurse. I was about in tears every time we would sit down for a feeding, and Mark and my parents were beyond questioning why we were even going through all of this again. And I’ll leave out all the details of what I went through this time as it was literally a bloody, painful, frustrating situation. Suffice it to say . . . 6 months later I ended up having a mammogram and seeing a breast surgeon due to a lot of issues, which were all probably the reasons for why I was not able to breastfeed E. These issues have still continued . . .
Fast forward to today, and let’s just say that I have a lot of hesitation about both breastfeeding and formula feeding. I don’t know which way to go, what to do, who to talk to, etc. I did speak with the head midwife at the practice that I go to, and she had great input. But she put the decision fully into my hands. I can go see the breast surgeon again and see if she thinks I’m even physically able to breastfeed. I can go on a prescription to really prepare the mild ducts and see what happens. But both of those options are pricy. I can try the herbs and extra fluids way and see if they do anything beforehand, and then what happens when baby comes. Or I can just say that I’ve been through enough (and I really have), and baby will be formula fed like her brothers were. All the options are expensive, and from where I’m sitting, there appears to be no great solution.
So all I know for now is that my husband fully supports whatever I decide. He points out how smart our boys are, how he can help feed the baby if she is bottle fed, and how he just wants it to be stress free. He’s up for whatever I’m up for. And I know that regardless of whatever I do decide it’s our decision. If people disagree, that’s their problem. If while out and about in hippy-trippy Boulder or in Longmont with all the progressive, liberal, let-me-criticize-your-lifestyle types, I get comments on how yucky formula is, how yucky plastic bottles/nipples are, how I’m lazy to not breastfeed, etc. (you’d be amazed at what people say to your face), then again, that is their deal. If I decide to try out breastfeeding again and somehow both baby and I just click and there’s milk, then thank the Lord! At least we gave it a try, and it all worked. But there is no guilt, no shame, no fear if we don’t succeed. My midwife pointed out that some women are never able to breastfeed. For multiple reasons, it just does not happen, an that is OKAY!! She flat out told me that there should be no guilt allowed this time, and that is why I’ve chosen her practice . . . I appreciate the ability to honestly chat, get good feedback, and be supported.
So in conclusion, for all you mamas out there who were able to breastfeed easily, be so thankful for that. Give the rest of us grace as not all of us have had an easy time. Don’t just judge us and say we didn’t try. Don’t assume that you know everything and why we didn’t breastfeed. Don’t speak negatively about formula while we’re feeding our babies; don’t tell me that I’m feeding my baby poison as that is completely NOT HELPFUL and it’s flat out rude. Keep your opinion to yourself as it’s not your child. And for all the moms like me who have had a hard time with feeding and have used formula, give yourself grace. Make the best decisions you can and move forward. Trust your children to God as they will encounter a lot worse situations in life, and you will be forced to make harder decisions as they age.
Give grace and receive grace; that just might be my newest motto in life . . .