I’m nearly 11 months into breastfeeding. I spent a good deal of my 2nd pregnancy on the fence about breastfeeding. When I was pregnant with my first, there was no doubt in my mind that it was the right choice. Yet, when she was born, we went through absolute hell. The thought of breastfeeding, since, was terrifying. I was truly afraid of breastfeeding again and had seriously considered heading straight to the baby aisle at the store for formula.
My son was born 13 days past his due date. At the end of the pregnancy, I was faced with a few extra decisions, but I was still on the fence about breastfeeding. In the end, I decided I’d give him the opportunity, but secretly hoped he wouldn’t take to it. The moment he was placed on my chest, he latched. There was no turning back, whether I liked it or not. So, 11 months into this gig, I’d say we’ve experienced breastfeeding success.
We’ve overcome a few hurdles. Many of them have been my own doing. We had one run-in with thrush which was quickly remedied and never returned. The others were completely due to my mental state. I was looking for any reason to throw in the towel on breastfeeding. The newborn stage was rough. He would, literally, nurse for an hour or longer, give me about an hour break, and then we were back to it for another hour.
I wanted to quit when …
I was tired.
We got thrush.
My nipples were raw.
I couldn’t get anything done.
He was teething.
Then, something amazing happened. Several months in, I began to not hate breastfeeding.
But, with our new found breastfeeding success, I also began to having feelings of remorse.
I realized I was experiencing a bond with my son that I had longed for with my daughter. Our breastfeeding story seemed doomed from the beginning. She didn’t want to latch at the hospital. And, the rest of the breastfeeding story was riddled with pain, food intolerances, and eventual transition to formula by about the time she was 7 or 8 months. We never could get it right. And, we never had any moments during her breastfeeding time that I felt things were going right.
It felt as though any moment I wasn’t nursing her, I was pumping. There’s a chance I pumped more than I ever needed to because I thought I was going back to work. But, when that didn’t happen, I was on auto-pilot. I had an ever-growing stash of breastmilk in the freezer and completely hated breastfeeding sessions. I felt like my baby hated me. And, not that I really did, but I felt like I hated her at times.
So, here I am. I get to sit with my son in peace. I get to stare at his beautiful blue eyes. He plays with my face or pulls my hair. We find ways to laugh during nursing sessions. Or, he finds ways to continue being a wiggle worm. He even began downright refusing bottles or cups because he prefers the real thing. Things just feel right. And some days, I regret that I never had that with my daughter.
Our breastfeeding success story makes me feel like I love my son more than my daughter. I know I don’t, really. But it sure feels good that things are easier and I feel capable. We have a good routine. I’m comfortable nursing almost anywhere. And, I’m making my son happy.
I never ever felt that way nursing my daughter. And, I wonder if our poor breastfeeding relationship negatively affected us for good. So, I have moments that I’m ecstatic I overcame obstacles and successfully breastfed my second baby. Then, I have moments I experience pangs of regret over that bond I never got to have with my daughter. It hardly seems fair.