Motherhood Real Talk

REAL TALK: My Alternative Breastfeeding Journey

 photo breastfeeding_zps41zsjrkf.jpg

I was very hesitant to share this post. Not necessarily because I was ashamed to
have quite breastfeeding Theo, but because I am aware of the stigma there is
for mothers that don’t exclusively breastfeed. I’m a big advocate of
breastfeeding however I would never judge a mother that bottle feeds or formula
feeds their child. There
was just a story
about a mother who accidentally starved her newborn baby
because it didn’t occur to her to offer her baby a bottle. It breaks my heart
to think that her lactation nurse didn’t even make that recommendation, because
“breast is best.” But no, it’s not. In the end, fed is best.

Naïve Expectations

Priorto Theo’s arrival, I had these preconceived notions of a positive breastfeeding
experience. I did it with Remy so of course the second kid would follow suit. Ah, how naïve
I was. I successfully breastfed Remy for nine months, until my body stopped producing milk, and supplemented with formula until her first birthday. With Theo however, things were a
little different.

The day finally arrived when the littlest Mason made his appearance and I was fully
prepared for what was in store when it came to nursing him. I had my nipple
shield prepped and ready for use. I may not have been prepared for the title of
mother of two but I knew I had the whole breastfeeding thing in the bag. Or so I thought.
Right off the bat the entire first experience nursing Theo was off. He didn’t
latch correctly so it made it extra painful. But I didn’t let it deter me and
continued to breastfeed through the pain and discomfort.

Pain and More Pain

Weeks went by and I began to dread Theo’s feedings. It became so bad that I started
to secretly resent the whole experience. But like clockwork, every two hour I held
back the tears as he nursed. Then I began to stop his feeding early because I couldn’t
stand the pain. Because of this I developed mastitis which only brought on more
pain. I started to notice that the lymph nodes underneath my armpits were severely
swollen and I immediately saw my OBGYN. She recommended I start pumping after
nursing Theo to completely empty out my breasts and relieve any latent pain.

The Decision

Three months in and breastfeeding was less painful but still not the best experience.
I remember that connection Remy and I shared when I nursed her, why couldn’t I have
the same bond with Theo? After much discussion with my husband about my
feelings, he finally suggested I just exclusively pump. I was already pumping
at work, and Theo was already taking a bottle well, why not make life easier on
myself? And so I made the decision to pump exclusively and try not to look
back. Writing our experience does weigh heavy on my heart. Did I give up too
early? Are we still able to create that bond? The mom guilt is real, y’all. But
I just couldn’t put myself, or Theo, through those nursing sessions. I felt
like he felt my disdain for the whole experience and that made each and every
session miserable.

Here we are, Theo is six months old and happy and healthy! I am still exclusively pumping
but do supplement with formula if we are out for an extended amount of time and
can’t heat up a bottle. Pumping isn’t necessarily easier, though. I still have
to carve out time to pump, and have to feed Theo at his scheduled times. Constantly
cleaning the breast pump parts and never ending bottles make me miss the no
cleanup that comes with breastfeeding but I know that this is the right path for
me and my little man.


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