When I got pregnant, I KNEW I wanted to breast-feed for at least 6 months. I knew my boobs could handle it because gosh my nipples increased in size along with my boob size! I kept telling my husband over + over that I would have no issues with breast-feeding. Gosh did I feel confident.
Then she was born was a lip + tongue tie, which made it way too painful to latch, so I sat there in the hospital absolutely defeated because here I was giving my daughter formula.
I sat on the hospital bed + cried as I fed my daughter formula.
I knew I needed help, so I requested the lactation specialist to come in.
I was emotionally drained, but was hopeful that she could resolve this issue. She suggested I go to the Ear, Nose + Throat doctor to repair her tongue tie.
I set an appointment and it was successful. In the meantime, I pumped + supplemented. A week later, I met with the lactation consultant, who helped me latch her. She did great + I felt accomplished!
As the days went by, she was never satisfied with my boobsv though. After each feed, which lasted about 1-2 hours, she still needed a bottle.
I attempted to nurse for a week straight + it would eat up my entire day! I'm talking on the couch ALL DAY LONG. So, I gave up nursing + started exclusively pumping.
Boy was I happy because I finally got into the rhythm + soon after, on my 30th birthday, I no longer needed formula.
Every 3-4 hours, I was at the pump + felt great because I was finally producing enough milk.
But, then, I got clogged milk ducts.
That's when things went South. That's when I felt the lowest I had ever because here I was again almost having to use formula, but I was remedying the situation as fast as I could. Luckily I didn't need to succumb to formula because after 4 days, it was gone + I was back to my regular pumping schedule.
But, it became a tad difficult because I had to bring that thing, along with the parts EVERYWHERE I WENT. I couldn't do anything for more than 3 hours because I had to come home + pump. But, still, I was committed.
A few weeks later, bam, it happened again. This time it was mastitis in one boob + a clogged duct on the other.
This is when I started questioning if breast-feeding was meant for me. I felt guilty for even considering formula because gosh I wanted to strictly breastfeed so fucking badly.
At 2am, I sat in the bathtub, which I filled with hot water, expressing my breasts. After not getting ANY milk, I sat in the tub + cried my eyes out. I cried because of sleep deprivation. I cried because I wanted to continue, but my body was not allowing me to do so. Again, I felt defeated. I read article after article about how to stop feeling guilty for not continuing to breastfeed.
The truth was I was in pain, discomfort + I was so over it. All I did was cry + I told myself if I was trying to speed up time wishing my daughter was 6 months already, that was no way to live. I knew if I stopped I could drink wine again, enjoy as much coffee as I wanted, sleep better, and honestly, be a better mom because I wouldn't be worried about my pump. I would finally have my body back + no longer have to share it. Maybe that was in part selfish, but I knew of the possibilities formula could bring me.
I truly knew what I had to do. I knew it for a while, but I would not allow myself to come to terms with it.
I wasn't a failure, yet I felt like one. I knew I wasn't any less of a mother. But, despite it all, I was still battling my inner thoughts on a daily basis and was crying religiously every day.
I knew I could no longer do this to myself. I just felt like I needed permission to stop. I needed someone to look into my eyes + tell me it's okay to stop. You should be proud of yourself for making it this far. You should feel a sense of accomplishment instead of failure because you were being quite selfless. You, my friend were sacrificing your body + well-being for your daughter.
And, after battling with these issues for 2 weeks now, I've decided to make the switch because the thought of getting this again scares the shit out of me.
This is my message to moms in a similar boat: please don't feel like you’re any less of a mother. Please don't feel like you failed your baby. You tried + remained dedicated despite having issues. They don't tell you this, but breast-feeding + nursing is fucking hard. Heck, being a mother is hard + I'm here to tell you that you should so proud of yourself regardless.