I consider myself intelligent and sufficiently educated. I know the laundry list of stated benefits to breastfeeding. I know it’s the best. But, I didn’t want to. I was afraid to breastfeed again.
With my first baby, it took me about 8 months to finally throw in the towel, begrudgingly. In retrospect, I should have given up sooner. Everything I had known and believed about breastfeeding hadn’t prepared me for the fact that my daughter wasn’t handling dairy or soy in my diet. And we didn’t figure that out right away. The doctors kept blaming the crying and screaming on colic or reflux, but medicines and passing the 6 month mark never alleviated the hell we were living in. At the time, I didn’t have knowledge food intolerance or allergies. I didn’t realize I had food intolerances, so it never crossed my mind to suspect it for her.
My stubbornness and her troubles wreaked havoc on our home. My daughter wasn’t happy. I was insane. My husband … I can’t speak on his behalf because I don’t know what was going through his mind. I feel like our marriage was failing. All he saw was me staying at home hardly able to get food on the table, struggling to clean anything, and unable to be any semblance of the wife he had married.
Once we switched her to Nutramigen, she began making progress with eating, weight gain, and sleep. Quickly, we found some relief from completely terrible sleep and dealing with a baby who spent the majority of 24 hours crying and screaming.
We’re well past it now. I recognize that being stubborn and not having tried formula sooner could have spared us a few months of the hell we endured.
When we got pregnant with baby #2 in 2015, I began to realize I was still deeply affected by what we endured. And, I didn’t really want to breastfeed.
I didn’t want a baby attached to my breasts half the day, while the other half of the day I’m hooked up to a machine pumping more so that I can have a stockpile of boob juice. I didn’t want to be a slave to milking. I’m not cattle. But I sure didn’t feel human the first time around because all I did was nurse, pump, nurse, eat, nurse, pump, nurse. Surely there was more to life …
No. No there wasn’t. At least not that I can remember. Wait … yes … doctor’s appointments. Okay, that’s it. And, I DID want someone else to get up for middle of the night feeds, because mama wants some sleep, dang it! I’ll say it … I was feeling too old to pull all the night shifts again.
But when I thought about all the reasons I should be nursing, I felt that old familiar mom guilt.
And then I decided to attempt breastfeeding again
Ultimately, I decided to attempt breastfeeding during the day because no one is home to help me anyway. Though, I chose not to pump. Like I said, I didn’t want to be stuck in some milking fashion all day, feeling like I couldn’t do anything more because something is hooked to my boob.
At night, I wanted someone else to pop a bottle in that baby’s mouth so my boobs get some rest. I was hoping to break away from the baby to regain a snippet of my sanity sooner than later. Still, I told myself to go straight to formula at the first sign of trouble.
If I were talking to my pre-mama self, I’m sure I’d be stoning myself to death. I used to be so adamant that nursing was the only way. Now, the only way is the way that makes everyone happy.
Although I was afraid to breastfeed again, I endured it. And now I’m in the process of slowly weaning my baby.
What encouragement can you offer a mama who is afraid to breastfeed?
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