I want to share a very big issue I had to deal with. Something that brought me to tears even though it was supposed to happen and so good for Mommy and baby. Yet for me, it did the opposite.
The issue: Breastfeeding.
An all natural, easy, feel good bonding activity for mommy and baby, right? I call BS. Of course it’s natural, but that does not make it easy nor does it make everyone feel good. And no, it’s also not free as some people say.
To be honest – and no I won’t earn any good mommy points for saying this but whatever – I loathed it.
Before you judge me, bear with me here:
My breastfeeding journey started with excruciating pain and bleeding nipples over the first 2-3 weeks. After that, the pain was still there but minimal and bearable. I never got that high/good feeling that is supposed to come with breastfeeding and the hormones that go along with it. I did not look down at my son and feel an amazing connection because he was nursing. Rather the opposite…
My son ate A LOT. And for long times. By the time he was done I had a bit over an hour before I had to whip my breast out again. I loathed having to be this milk bar – cause that’s how it made me feel. Not like a caring mother that nurses her child, but like a bar that has to open on demand and get half naked every time I did so. And that’s not the only thing I hated…
I hated not knowing how much he was drinking. His weight gain was awesome, but was he getting enough or was that why he was feeding every hour and a half?
I loathed having to watch what I eat and when my baby boy got a tummy ache to find myself wondering “was that something I ate?”
I loathed having to consider if I could drink that glass of wine or beer – if I’d have enough time before I’d have to breastfeed again.
I loathed that on days when my man was home, this perfect man wanted to grant me longer sleep and a bit time off, I still had to get up or be here in order to breastfeed to avoid blocked ducts.
For 3 weeks our little man had a fit once every couple of days where he just screamed at my breast. According to our pediatrician, this happens around that age and is normal. All right… but have you ever held a hungry baby in your hand that is crying and screaming from hunger but won’t drink from your breast even though there’s so much milk he would just have to take a sip to get it going? Probably not. Let me tell you, for me, it was psychological torture, even worse than the lack of sleep. At most times this happened I’d sit there get sad, start crying and sometimes get aggressive over this little ones behavior. I already hated taking my breast out and then he even screamed at it. Of course he sometimes screamed at the bottle too – but that was not as personal if you know what I mean.
I didn’t want to feel this way. Breastfeeding was tough for me at the start but my little man never had issues drinking and always latched well, right from the start – so in that aspect I had it very very easy. But I was afraid of what this feeling could do to the relationship between my son and me.
For months I had been battling with this. Battling with the fact that I hated breastfeeding but that I wanted to do it for at least 6 months because the WHO says that’s best for the baby. But what is best for me? For nights this consumed me. My partner took the little one off my hands when he just screamed at my breast once again. I started crying and re-thinking this problem all over. It went round and round in my head all night long. The baby was sleeping, I was thinking.
And finally, after 14 weeks of breastfeeding and nearly constantly feeling this way, I reached a decision. I was stopping. I wanted to do it slowly and took 2 more months to fully stop. It was still giving me a bit of a bad conscience but getting up that morning, for the first time in months, I felt relieved.
I am sharing this with you because throughout this process, I felt alone. My partner understood because he saw how much this tortured and depressed me. My mother understood this decision because of similar experiences, but there are so many voices out there that scream “breast is best” and they are so loud.
I don’t believe that. I believe “fed is best” and if one of the two people required for breastfeeding decides it’s been enough, then so be it.
I am not in any way inclining that you should not breastfeed your baby. If you like it, please do it! But if it’s causing problems and especially if it starts making you feel depressed like it did for me, there is no shame in stopping. Do your research and make the decision for yourself.
It has helped me so much reading and hearing from other women who have gone through a similar experience – that is why I wanted to share this. So if you know someone in a similar position, feel free to show this to them and comment.
I want those Mommys to know: We are definitely not alone.