Guess what…I am officially fed up feeling like a failure. Done.
I gave birth to three beautiful, smart, and healthy babies over the past six years. And none of them were breastfed for more than a few months. Actually, none of them were technically breastfed.
My first born received breast milk that I pumped for the first 2 or 3 months. She never latched on. I didn’t know what I was doing and the nurses at the hospital and the one lactation consultant I saw didn’t help much. Honestly, the pain I experienced while healing from an unplanned c-section was a huge deterrent.
My second born received breast milk that I pumped for the first three weeks. Again, we tried getting her to latch on but it was not working. I was overwhelmed with trying to get her to latch on while taking care of a toddler.
My third born actually latched on! But he was a big baby and I was not making enough milk to sustain him. He lost too much weight while in the hospital. I would nurse him, supplement with formula when I ran out but he was still hungry, then I would pump in-between feedings to provide him some bottled breast milk and try to increase my milk supply. I did this (and other things to increase my supply) for two weeks. I did not sleep. There really wasn’t time for sleep. And so, after two weeks, we decided that my sanity and the health of our entire family was more important. And so we began formula.
All three of my babies received formula for the bulk of their baby-life. All three of my babies were and continue to be healthy. And smart.
I made sure that I was the primary person who bottle fed them. We created that mother/infant bond while bottle feeding.
I cannot even begin to tell you how much I beat myself up over the last six years about not breastfeeding. Blaming myself. Hating myself. Feeling like somehow I was less of a mom. I lied to people when they asked me about breastfeeding. I was ashamed.
I understand that breast milk is best for baby. I fully support breastfeeding moms! But I believe that what I did was best for my babies. Bottle feeding my babies allowed me to be a mom to them. While trying to breastfeed, I became so physically exhausted from pumping all the time and emotionally exhausted when I couldn’t get them to latch. It was not healthy for either one of us.
I’m writing this because I recently saw that Mom It Forward was going to have a #gno Twitter Party sponsored by a formula company. During that Twitter Party they were going to be discussing safety and feeding tips for baby. Unfortunately they cancelled the party after a number of moms took issue with it on Twitter. They were appalled that Mom It Forward was working with a formula company.
Really? You guys! I get it, I understand that you were being advocates for breastfeeding but let’s be honest. Not everyone can do it. I couldn’t. I didn’t. Adoptive moms can’t. So, what? Should we just pretend like we don’t exist? Like our babies don’t need to be fed?
Here are the facts: formula companies exist because, like it or not, there is a need. It sucks. I wish there wasn’t a need. I wish that all moms could breastfeed. But they can’t. Or don’t. And those babies need something. My babies needed nourishment that I couldn’t give them.
So please, continue to let new moms know that breastfeeding is absolutely amazing. That is unbelievably the best thing for a baby. Share with them tips and support. But stop making the non-breastfeeders feel like failures.
I did not fail my three babies.
I DID NOT fail my three babies.
I am not a bad mom.
If you are pregnant or are a new mom, I encourage you to breastfeed. Try. Talk to lactation consultants. Not just one. Ask a friend. But ultimately, do what is best for you and your baby.
You are not a failure. You did not fail your baby! You are not a bad mom!