I Didn’t Breastfeed – And That’s Okay

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I remember the complete and utter funk I was in after my son was born. I mean, let’s be honest, it lasted way past the “newborn” stage and didn’t clear out until he was, maybe, a year or so old. I remember all too well sitting at home, after my partner had gone back to work after his paternity leave, with my little baby in my arms. Feeling SO out of it was the norm. As a new mom, EVERYTHING was a learning experience. And, to be completely honest, I had a ton of failures that I look back upon today and grimace. Some things, I don’t care too much about. Other things, I feel regretful about and will desperately try to change the scene once we decide to have Baby #2. One of those complete fails was breastfeeding.

      Breastfeeding just…. didn’t work.

Yeah, I’m one of those I-Couldn’t-Breastfeed moms. Whatever your opinion on breastfeeding is, remember that the experience is different for every one. Here I was, a new mom, very obviously struggling in the role and then I had supply issues. But damn, I tried. I pumped in addition to nursing, I took SO many supplements, and I cried during almost every feeding. Cried with my hungry baby, cried about failing as a mother. Cried and asked ‘why’ my body was failing me and this little creature that it was supposed to sustain. I just couldn’t comprehend why I physically could not do what my body was made to do.

Every time Baby B was ready to eat, anxiety flooded my being. I became so anxious about the feeding process, which ultimately made everything worse. ‘You’re supposed to relax when you breastfeed‘, they say, ‘the baby can sense the stress‘, they say. ‘Your milk supply will suffer if your body is even slightly tense’ is something I read time and time again.  I read article after article, medical research, watched videos of new moms boasting about their milk supply. I studied up on the foods that supposedly helped, but ultimately, turned to formula to supplement my baby.

As someone who suffers from depression, I knew this was my best bet to keeping my baby healthy. The constant stress of breastfeeding, the normal lack of sleep for a new mom, the flood of hormones circulating in my body- I knew I needed some outside assistance. My mental health took precedent over my desire to breastfeed.

Would I attempt to breastfeed again? Absolutely. Whenever Baby #2 decides to join the family, I will be ready. Ready to do whatever my body can to keep my baby healthy. If that means pumping exclusively, that’s what I’ll do. If that means only breastfeeding a few times a day, that will be my plan. But, who knows, every pregnancy is different and my boobs may be overflowing by the time Baby #2 arrives!

-Halle

 

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