You know the old saying, “Breastmilk is best?” I wholeheartedly agree with the fact that nutritionally it really is the best–the immunities that breast milk provides is far superior to formula. Plus, it’s completely free. However, sometimes it’s not necessarily best for the baby or the mother or the family.
[ctt title=”Breast isn\’t always best for your baby or for YOU! @themorrelltale” tweet=”Breast isn’t always best for your baby or for YOU! @themorrelltale” coverup=”e_Ss6″]
I was able to nurse Rhys for four months. Many say that is a huge success. Sometimes, to me, it still feels like a failure. I try not to let the mom guilt get to me. Yes, I wasn’t producing enough due to stress and other factors. Yes, Rhys wasn’t growing as much as he could. Yes, it was causing such horrendous anxiety between both Rhys and I. And yes, he immediately had a big growth spurt as soon as I switched him over to formula. But, the fact still remained that I wasn’t able to provide him with enough breast milk. The fact that my body failed to work properly the way I wanted it bugged me.
Plus, it was very painful. Even before I gave birth to Rhys, my OB had prescribed a specific behind-the-counter cream for me to use to help soothe the pain. The lactation specialists at the hospital all felt terrible seeing the bruising I had because of Rhys’s poor latching. All four months, I had to use a shield to help ease the pain, but it never went away fully.
This time round, I was excited to nurse again. I was sure it would be much better–I wasn’t teaching, I was on anxiety medication, I knew what I was doing. My goal was 4 months.
I lasted four days.
Evelyn was not tongue tied. The lactation specialists all commented how well she latched. Yet, I still bruised, I still broke, I still bled. The pain of the initial latch was excruciating. My whole body would tense up and tighten. I would need something in my mouth to chew on to distract me from the pain. It didn’t help that Evelyn had a very powerful suck and was nursing every 1.5-2.5 hours, never giving me any time to heal. I started to dread feedings, especially at night. I’d start crying and panting during the initial latch.
I wanted to wait it out. Everyone says to try 2 weeks and typically it gets better.
I knew from experience that wasn’t 100% the case. But, I tried. My goal then wasn’t four months; it was two weeks. Surely, I could last that long.
Dealing with a 2.5 year old trying to get used to a new family member, the pain, the demands of a newborn, and my postpartum hormones was just too much for me. I wanted to give up. I wanted to be done with the pain. I wanted to not dread feeding.
[ctt title=”Don\’t dread feeding your baby.” tweet=”Don’t dread feeding your baby. @themorrelltale” coverup=”XFf03″]
But, I didn’t want to stop. I wanted that intimacy that comes from nursing. I wanted that joy of knowing I could do what other mothers could do. I wanted to have the privilege of being able to boast that I nursed my baby until her 1st birthday. And, I didn’t want to pay for all that formula–it’s expensive!
And, then came the mom guilt. Not only was I dealing with postpartum hormones, but I was also experiencing postpartum depression and anxiety (which I knew I was prone to). I wasn’t enjoying motherhood.
After having some heart-to-hearts with my mom (who had nursed us all for different lengths of time and fed us all formula and is super sensitive like me), discussing it with Justin, and getting advice from my pediatrician, I finally decided to stop nursing Evelyn.
I felt peace about that decision. It would alleviate a ton of pain and stress for me, which would help the overall atmosphere of my home and family. And, it would allow others to bond with Evelyn by feeding her.
Almost immediately, both my mom and Justin commented on how my entire countenance changed. I was more relieved, more calm, more relaxed. True, I had to endure the engorgement pain as I let my milk dry up. But, I was happier.
Formula helped Rhys catch up on the growth chart after four months of nursing. Formula is bringing peace to our home with Evelyn and relieving me of daily pain.
There are times I miss nursing, especially because formula is a bit rough on Evelyn’s digestive system, but I know this is the right decision for our family.
As my OB and mom have both told me: “Breast can be best. But happy baby and mother is best.”
[ctt title=”Breast can be best. But happy baby and mother is best.'” tweet=”Breast can be best. But happy baby and mother is best.’ @themorrelltale” coverup=”PvjU0″]