…after all, I’m a mom, and it was Breastfeeding Awareness Week recently. So, I’m going to talk about it now, after the fact. Because, while I 100% believe in breastfeeding, I deliberately avoided reading/watching/listening/breathing anything that had to do with Breastfeeding Awareness.
Both of my children were exclusively bottle fed. Neither of them could figure out how to latch properly. All the lactation consultants said, “You’re doing everything right! The baby just needs to cooperate!” Well, those babies would literally open their mouths half an inch. It would be an understatement to say it was incredibly frustrating and painful for me, and equally frustrating for them.
I did the “struggle” with Tori for about 8 very long weeks in the hope that she’d figure it out. The “struggle” meant putting her to my breast to feed, trying to get her to latch until she got so frustrated that she started screaming bloody murder, at which point I, also crying, would give her a bottle of breastmilk and then pump after she ate. It was truly a terrible, painful and emotionally exhausting experience.
And low and behold, when Anders was born, he did THE EXACT SAME THING. Ironically, the nurses at the hospital saw me trying to get him to latch and said, “I can tell you’re an experienced nurser!” Uh, no, actually, I’ve never truly nursed a baby before…
So, we did the “struggle” again, except this time I had a two-year-old running around, asking me if she could put the pump on her nipples, too, and why is Anders crying, mama, and why are you crying, mama, and I have to go potty!
I have absolutely NO doubt that this struggle contributed greatly to triggering my major post-partum depression. If he had nursed, I probably still would’ve had PPD, but I really believe it might not have gotten quite so extreme. Of course, there were other triggers, such as the stress that came from his gastro-esophageal reflux disease, but more on that later!
So, back to Breastfeeding Awareness Week. I got to see many of my friends post beautiful pictures of women serenely breastfeeding and post articles that always have written somewhere, “breastfeeding is by far the most important thing you can do for your child” and go on to list all the wonderful benefits that neither of my children received. And while I wholeheartedly agree that breastfeeding should be embraced by our society, you can understand why I chose to avoid delving too deeply into all the excitement.
There are few things as sweet as seeing a baby’s foot sticking out from under a nursing cover, or even better, her little hand curled up against her mother’s breast. It is truly a beautiful, amazing thing. It is also a reminder of a not-so-beautiful part of my life. But it’s part of my story, and for that, I’m grateful! And my kids are healthy and beautiful and growing perfectly, thanks to the wonderful invention of formula. :)