Were you one of the so-called unlucky ones that struggled with breastfeeding? So unfair right?!
Everything you read online, in journals and in pamphlets make it sound like it’ll be super duper easy.
A few days ago I started sharing my journey with breastfeeding struggles. If you haven’t yet, check out Part 1 HERE.
My struggles were all so very different with each child.
Not sure what it was, but I always wanted to be that mom who could feed her baby with the most nutritional milk on the planet and have that special bond.
What society doesn’t tell you is that both can still be achieved without breastfeeding.
When I found out I was pregnant with my second child, my anxiety rose through the roof at the thought of breastfeeding. Some days I was really anxious and nervous and other days I had it set in my mind that I was set and it was something I could accomplish.
I watched videos, I read articles, I even remember going through some motions imagining I was practicing with my newborn. (I know! Super weird!)
You name it! I did it. Anything that anyone could possibly do to prepare themselves for breastfeeding, I did.
In the back of my mind I also made the decision that I would exclusively pump if all else failed.
On July 17, 2010 my second child was born, Kason.
I had a normal labor and a healthy baby.
I attempted to breastfeed while in the hospital but again I was out of luck.
But I didn’t give up yet.
I pumped so that my milk would come in sooner and I fed with a medicine cup again.
This second time around I wasn’t as depressed about it not working out.
I was hopeful, I was patient and I was trying my best.
About a week after I gave birth I started leaking excessive blood.
I remember sitting on the toilet watching and hoping that it would slow down and stop.
Instead it only got worse. Large golf ball sized clots started coming out.
I started to panic inside. I calmly told my husband I needed a towel and we headed to the ER.
I ended up needing stitches.
The main recommendation from the ER doctor was to REST. As much as I tried telling him that I was getting rest, my husband said otherwise. They both knew that I ended up in the ER as a result of me not resting.
You may be thinking, what does this have to do with the breastfeeding struggles?.
Well, while in the hospital, I pumped. But just enough to relieve my engorgement.
I was away from my newborn for a few hours while being treated.
Once home I got back on routine and continued to try even though I was weak.
Within the next couple weeks I started to feel really sick. Fever, chills, and dizzy. I could also feel a lump in my breast.
I went to see the doctor and I had a clogged duct others wise known as mastitis.
Before I took antibiotics I was so ill that I could barely sit up. It was difficult to try to breastfeed and pump.
By this time, my husband had to supplement with formula while I recovered and got better. I had already decided that maybe it was time to focus on exclusively pumping.
I was finally recovered from my hospital visit and from my mastitis. I was ready to pump again and provide some breast milk to Kason.
I came to terms that I would be exclusively pumping.
It wasn’t until a month later that I fell sick again.
It was the same symptoms. Fever, chills, dizziness and a lump in my breast.
I went to the doctor once again to get antibiotics.
As you can imagine by now I wasn’t even sure if it would be possible for me to exclusively pump.
I was heading back to being a classroom teacher in a month where it was highly unlikely that I would have a chance to pump throughout the day.
As much as I wanted to feed Kason breast milk, I already had 3 health incidents.
I contemplated over and over. Going back and forth between stopping and continuing.
Would I be a bad mom if I didn’t feed him breast milk? Would I be a failure? What would other’s think if they saw me feeding him formula?
Again, I asked my husband the same questions over and over. Should I stop? Should I keep going? But instead he told me that he would support whatever I chose to do.
In the end I threw in the towel and fed Kason formula.
Was I ok with it? Not really. But at the time it seemed that it just wasn’t in my best interest. I needed to take care of my health and hope that I would finally recover from labor.
Not only could I focus on healing, I could also now enjoy my newborn and my 2-year-old.
Each time I fed him I held him close and we still created that special bond that mothers do when they breastfeed.
The plus side is that family members could also feed him and bond with him.
Have you struggled with breastfeeding? Are you struggling currently?
I hope you know that there is absolutely nothing wrong with giving your baby formula.
Feeding your baby formula through a bottle does not make you a terrible mom!
You know yourself the best. Don’t forfeit your happiness and health to satisfy society’s pressure that breastfeeding is the only healthy way. All that matters is that you are feeding your baby and keeping him/her healthy.
Stay tuned for my breastfeeding struggles with my 3rd child Temana♥
I would love to hear your thoughts and comments! Submit a comment♥