There. I said it.
I know, I know. “Breast is best … Do what’s best for the baby …”
Well, what if I can’t?
Not won’t, but can’t?
I want this whole breastfeeding thing so badly. I (semi) successfully breastfed my two older children, but this third time, it’s different. It has gotten progressively worse with each child and now it’s just not working.
I’ve tried it all: Supplements, special tea, extra feeds, lactation cookies, more hydration and pumping. I attempted supplementing at the breast to help stimulate production. I have drug myself into lactation consultant offices and struggled through their recommendations and guidance.
I did it all and nothing has worked.
If nothing else, it has aided in elevated stress levels for everyone in my home. The baby is hungry, mom is frustrated and sad, while sisters and Dad take the brunt of it all.
This isn’t how it is supposed to be, right? Breastfeeding is supposed to be natural. It is supposed to be easy.
So what’s wrong with me? Am I not a natural mom? Have I failed my baby?
Society will tell me I have. Strangers and friends alike will encourage breastfeeding and offer suggestions (or condemnation) because of my struggles.
What they don’t realize is that I want this to work, too.
And I want to love this. Those bonding and tender moments I hear other moms rave about – I want them, too. The best nutrition for my infant – I want that, too.
But not like this.
Not with an infant screaming her level of hunger because my let-down takes 15 minutes. Or with more hunger screams because after 1-2 minutes, all milk has been consumed. I don’t want it with a body that isn’t performing as it should.
So what’s “best” for the baby now? I can tell you what’s best…
Fed is best.
Until breastfeeding starts working (or not), I need to emotionally and mentally be okay with providing formula and possibly not nursing anymore. Because in my situation and so many others, it is not what’s best.
I don’t need more supplements. Or more feeds. Or more time. Or more suggestions.
I need my baby fed.
And I need society to be okay with that – my decision on what’s best for my baby. I need the stranger at the restaurant to fuss over how beautiful my baby is instead of the bottle in her mouth. I need friends and family to offer to clean bottles or feed the baby themselves instead of suggesting ways for me to increase my milk supply.