When I first became pregnant with Kensington, I had a vision that breastfeeding would come easily and naturally. I even met with a lactation specialist before I gave birth to prepare.
Put mildly, I really wanted to breastfeed, especially for all of the health benefits it would bring to my baby girl.
Well, my dreams of breastfeeding easily did not come true. It was SO difficult for me. I used all the resources at the hospital to help me and ended up hiring another lactation consultant to come to my house to show me what I was doing wrong.
Things didn't seem to get better, and I began to get extremely stressed and hard on myself for it not working the way I had hoped. Looking back, I regret stressing so much. I wish I would have given myself grace and just given her a bottle of formula in those moments of pure despair.
Being the determined Cancer that I am, I just didn't want to give up. I thought that if I broke down and gave her formula I would be failing her. Of course, this was not true!
I think the stress of trying so hard to produce milk, led to me not producing enough. I lasted four long months of exclusively breastfeeding and then switched over to formula.
It was such a difficult and emotional decision for me to stop, but it was the right thing to do for both of us. I was so relieved when she was just as happy and healthy on formula!
My Second Attempt
When Sean Jr. was born, I tried again with such high hopes! I started off great, but he was such a big eater that I couldn't keep up with how much he wanted to feed.
My milk would literally dry up, and I had nothing left to give him.
Given what I knew from my experiences with Kensington, I decided to supplement with formula, and it was the best thing I ever did. It took so much pressure away.
I'll never forget this one day, I was so upset, I was crying and overwhelmed. My husband was consoling me and said in the calmest voice, "Baby, why don't we just give him a bottle of formula when you don't have any breast milk to give him?"
His support and understanding helped so much. It took so much stress and anxiety away. It then hit me how much my desire to be an amazing mom extended to thinking I was even letting Sean down for not "successfully" breastfeeding our children.
Oh the pressures we put on ourselves — when you're trying our very best and more. It was such a loving thing Sean did for me.
Moral of my story: things don't always go as planned and that's okay. So if you choose to breastfeed, bottle feed, formula feed, or pump, you're doing an amazing job.
A full baby is a happy baby!
I would love to hear your breastfeeding stories. Please share so that we can support and inspire each other through this important (and sometimes very stressful) stage of motherhood.