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Why My Breastfeeding Experience Was a Huge Growth Experience

BY LUVEY

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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.

Author Profile Picture for Casey Beau Brown

7 comments on “Why My Breastfeeding Experience Was a Huge Growth Experience”

  1. I had my third child at forty. She’s currently four months old. I never had an issues breastfeeding my other two who are sixteen and nineteen. But with my daughter I was crying and blaming myself for not having enough milk for her. I supplemented for a couple of weeks until I met a lactation consultant and she told me she had a lip and tongue tie. Never even heard of either one of these. I got them fixed and have been more successful at breastfeeding.

  2. I have a baby daughter named Sophie.
    She’s my only child and 8 months old.
    I had the same hope before having her and struggle after she’s born as you did with Kensington. When Sophie was few days old, my husband suggested to give her formula. That made me very stressed because I thought it would make our baby dislike being nursed because eating from bottle is easier than mother’s breast. My husband fed our daughter with formula couple times without telling me then. He confessed later on, but that was it. I was able to get me going by pumping every three hours even at nights. The pumping sessions were 30 minutes each time regardless if there was milk or not. I also tried drinking a glass of beer after nursing couple times. It magically helped too. Of course I had to make sure at least 2 hours passed after drinking. I also used alcohol indicator to check my breast milk.
    My breastmilk was so much at some point I had to freeze it!
    I still nurse her with no formula! I was and still am very hard in myself about this. However, her doctor said formula is completely safe since day 1.
    I learned that neither me knew how to fed my baby, nor my baby knew how to drink of my breasts. It takes time and patience. For my next baby, I would use formula if I have to and will work on my breast milk supply meanwhile using breast pump.

  3. I think becoming a mother changes you. I had a breast reduction surgery a few years ago and at the time I didn't think being/not being able to breastfeed mattered that much. So during pregnancy I knew there was a good chance that I wouldn't have enough milk and I was pretty ok with it. But right after my son's birth which was four months ago, I had all these thoughts and feelings about breastfeeding my baby. I didn't have enough milk and he was a good eater. We had to supplement from day 2 because of his jaundice. Also he was a tall baby but thin, he ate a lot and his weight on the growth chart went from 15% at birth to 70% at 2 months. I felt guilty for not wanting to try harder, for not pumping more often, you name it. I was formula fed like many other babies from the 80s and I know too well that while breast milk is the best, our babies are going to start eating foods that are far from perfect and our modern diet is nowhere near what our bodies were designed for ( insisting on exclusive breastfeeding is like trying to have the diet of the hunter gatherers of thousands of year ago). I believe that the society's attempt to go from formula only to breast milk has gone too far and has created all these expectations that only make mothers who can't breastfeed or don't want to feel guilty and stressed out. I finally decided to only pump and stop making my son breastfeed while he was visibly dissatisfied with the slow milk flow. I didn't want to give up that bond but I know it was more for me than him. I just hope that they would dial it down a bit and help mothers enjoy their newborns instead of adding stress and anxiety.

  4. Thank you for sharing this! I had a similar experience with my daughter.

    I tried for 3 months, and nothing worked. I was eating all the right foods and practically downing myself in water, I still wasn’t producing. I spent nearly a grand on multiple lactation consultant visits, and baby still wouldn’t latch well. I even got her tongue tie clipped! Still, I powered through the pain, I pumped and pumped, nothing worked.

    Finally, my pediatrician said “you’ve been supplementing with formula for about 50% of the time, and she does fine right? Then why don’t you just switch to formula full time?” I don’t know why I needed the validation from her doctor, but I did. I was getting depressed, feeling like a failure and was quickly falling into a dark place. I was resenting my daughter and we were not bonding.

    Once I switched to formula I was so much happier, and so was my baby. And my husband haha. I was finally able to bond with my sweet girl and say to myself “I tried my absolute best, and she will be healthy and happy”.

  5. Omgggg! My story is a little different... The thing is my nipples are and were soft and tiny my whole life, but the size of my chest was always good (C, thanks to grandma's genes) so after giving birth of course my boobs became even larger BUT my nipples didnt change that much.... My poor baby couldn't take Milk out of my chest8q90even though it was full of milk (in our traditions the woman who have given birth are taken care about 40 days by relatives and during that days she every Day drinks hot broth of beef or other chicen broth, sheep broth, so it is collagen and also helps with milk supply, and mostly stays at bed, that also helps, because if she moves a lot milk supply become less). But i wanted to breastfeed with my milk, and i decided to pump (thanks for Avent pumper) every 2-3 hour that also helped with milk supply because body think that if there is demand we have to produce more and body starts to burn callories, so i also lost weight (12 kg that i gained during pregnancy) even though i are frequently and drunk a lot of Hot liquids as doctor said to have more milk. I pumped about 6.5 month, and after that we switched to formula))...

  6. My girls are now 9 and 11. I tried so hard to breastfeed and the stigma attached to formula feeding left me feeling miserable and thinking that my girls were being deprived. It’s horrible and very real that that’s actually what I thought! But guess what? Being formula fed for much of their first year was a relief to me and to them. And they are happy, healthy, smart, and wonderful kids. In the long run, how you feed your baby WILL NOT matter as they grow up. To have loving and involved parents/guardians is the most important! <3

  7. Thank you for this very honest article. The same thing happened to me and it affected me greatly. We shouldn’t be so hard on ourselves but for some reason we are! Hearing honest experiences from other mothers really helps!

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