Coping With Breastfeeding Failure
I never understood why new moms always got so depressed and disappointed for not being able to breastfeed. I always saw it as something that it either happened or it didn’t.
Towards the end of my pregnancy, I was set on breastfeeding. I wanted to be able to provide food for my child. I wanted that special bond between my baby and I. Unfortunately, things never happen according to plan. That first night at the hospital, I breast fed my baby right after she was born. It was amazing! I was worried, excited,happy and scared. It was a roller-coaster of emotions because I was not sure whether I was going to be able to breastfeed or not. The women in my life weren’t able to do it and I didn’t have a positive example.
At the hospital everything was going well as far as breastfeeding. At least in the beginning, but then things took a turn in the other direction. My milk hadn’t come in yet and as a new mom (with zero experience or knowledge on breastfeeding) I was worried that my baby wasn’t getting enough “food”. Isabella seemed hungry even 30 minutes after feeding. I was confused as to why that was happening and scared that I wasn’t doing it right. At the hospital, the nurses weren’t the most helpful when it came to breastfeeding. They even apologized for not helping us a little more while we were there.
The night before we left the hospital my nipples were feeling extremely sore. Isabella was not latching on properly and it made it very painful for me. I asked one of the nurses for assistance (since I was feeling very stressed and confused) and she suggested a bottle. I really didn’t want to do a bottle, but I was so exhausted and in so much pain! Not only were my nipples sore, but I was still sore from giving birth and I had a second degree tear. The nurse assured me that it was fine to give a bottle. That this way I could also get some rest while she fed Isabella. It was 4am and in all honesty, getting at least 3 or 4 hours of sleep sounded amazing at that moment.
However, the next day was even harder for me to breastfeed Isabella. She wouldn’t stop crying and being frantic about not getting enough milk. As for me, I was feeling stressed and in a lot of pain. My breast were also very engorged, which made it difficult for Isabella to latch on. I refused to give another bottle and just kept trying to breastfeed.
At home, my parents were waiting for us. They had come to visit for a month and I was so thankful because they had come to help us with the baby (or so I thought). Once at home, me and Isabella continued to struggle with breastfeeding, but being at home with my mom made it even more stressful. Remember, I said she never breastfed, so she didn’t know the science behind it. The more I tried, the more Isabella cried and the more my mom pressured me to give her a bottle. In the end, I gave in. I did not want Isabella to be crying because she was hungry and because my mom made me feel like I was already being a bad mother. I kept telling her that my milk hadn’t come in yet, but that everything I read online said that was normal and to keep trying. However, my mom didn’t get it, she kept saying Isabella was hungry and I was being crazy for not giving her a bottle. This went on for a few more days. In the end, Isabella got used to the bottle and would cry every time she was on my breast.
I kept trying to turn things around, but with my mom here and Isabella getting frantic it was not working out. If you also add how stress I was , it was just a bad combo all around. My parents were here for a month, so it really made things difficult because they have a different way of doing things. They have old traditions which are not very helpful in this day and age. I really appreciate my parents being here and I loved seeing them and spending time with them. However, I wonder if my mom hadn’t been here, if things would of turned out differently.
I miss that special bond I was able to have with Isabella while I was breastfeeding. It sure was special, it brings tears to my eyes even just thinking about it. I wish I could of done it for a while longer. I am still making my peace with my decision of just using formula. Some days I am totally okay with it, but other days I feel terrible about it. I envy those women who are able to do it and wish I was doing it too.
Lets end this on a positive note though, at least now I know better. Next time around I will be ready and I have the knowledge now to make it work 🙂