Throughout my whole pregnancy a question I was constantly asked was, “Are you planning on breastfeeding?” My response was always the same, “Yes, as long as I am able to.” You always hear the phrase, “breast is best.” Which I fully agree with if it truly is best for BOTH you and your baby. But I quickly learned after giving birth that the most important thing was that my baby was happy and well fed. It didn’t matter how he was getting fed.
As soon as my son was born we started breastfeeding. As expected, it was hard. Very hard at first. He had a hard time latching on one side. So it took a long time to feed him, as I would constantly be helping him re-latch. I always did my best to keep a positive attitude about breastfeeding. I was perfectly fine at home. But often when we would go somewhere I felt left out. Because my son had such a hard time latching at first it was very difficult to use a cover. So I would leave the room when he needed to eat, which was every 2 hours. I felt like I was unable to play games when we would visit our families, because by the time he was finished eating I knew he would need to eat again soon.
Eventually things started to get easier and he would eat great on both sides. Which I was very happy about. I felt like we had accomplished a big milestone and it felt great!
But then more problems started to occur. My baby started spitting up a TON every time he would eat. I started to get concerned after a couple days. It didn’t seem like he was keeping much down, so he was constantly hungry and wanting to eat. I was worried that his stomach was sensitive to something I was eating. I started to give him some formula to see if that made a difference. He seemed to keep the formula down better.
So I waited to see if whatever I had possibly ate would pass through and he would be able to breast feed again. This means I needed to start pumping to keep my milk supply up. Which was very difficult, feeding him and then pumping right after. It took up a lot of my time. I tried breast feeding him every so often, with no luck. He would immediately be spitting up more than normal.
When I took him to the doctor it did seem to be my breast milk that was the issue. I was told I could track what I eat and see what was making his stomach hurt. Which, I’ll be honest, I wasn’t so sure about. It didn’t seem worth it to me, especially because I hadn’t been eating anything out of the ordinary. So I had no idea where I would even begin.
I had to make a decision. I decided to keep trying for a week. Keep pumping and breast feed every so often to see if there was any change. I really struggled with this. I cried every time I tried to breast feed my baby. It made me sad that it was making him sick and I felt like I wasn’t meeting his needs.
It got to the point where I needed to make a more firm decision, for my emotional benefit. I couldn’t be on the fence anymore. I either needed to commit to breast feeding again and cut out foods from my diet. Or I needed to quit and switch to bottle feeding.
I cried and cried. As I tried to make a decision I went back and forth constantly. I think deep down I knew it would be better for both me and my little boy if I quit breast feeding. But I couldn’t make the commitment to quit. I felt pressure to keep going, because of what you always hear, “breast is best.” How could I quit and let my sweet baby down?
Eventually my husband asked me why I wanted to keep breastfeeding and I could not give him an answer. He was very firm and loving as he told me that if I were to keep breast feeding I was doing it for the wrong reasons. Also, it was proving to be very unhealthy for me emotionally, and our baby physically.
So I quit. I quit that day and felt a huge weight lift off of my shoulders. I knew I was doing the right thing for both myself and my baby. A few weeks later fhe is doing much better. And I am much happier knowing that he is growing healthy and strong.
Is Breastfeeding Right For You?
I think the main question to ask yourself is, “Is breastfeeding best for both you AND your baby?” It can be best for your baby, but if you are struggling that isn’t healthy for you. Or in my case, if it isn’t healthy for your baby then it starts to wear on your emotions and becomes unhealthy for you too.
Do what is right for you. Do not feel like a failure if you aren’t able to breastfeed. It does not mean you love your baby any less, or my least favorite thing I’ve ever heard, “you won’t have as strong of a bond with your baby if you aren’t breastfeeding.” That’s ridiculous. I love my son and would do anything for him. He still smiles when I come to pick him up and wants to be close to me. Our bond has just gotten closer over the last few weeks. It has not become strained because I stopped breastfeeding.
I still have my moments where I feel bad for quitting, but those are becoming few and far between. When those moments arrive I just remind myself that my baby is healthy and happy. And that’s all that really matters right?
I would love to hear your breastfeeding story! Everyone is so different in their experience with breastfeeding and I enjoy hearing what worked and didn’t work for others. 🙂