When I found out I was pregnant, I was so excited to start learning about breastfeeding! Everyone I knew raved over how amazing the connection was between mama and babe! I couldn’t believe I was going to get to experience that!
So, I began researching breastfeeding, learned about latching, how to keep my supply up and how important breastfeeding was for baby. I went into labor knowing I would be breastfeeding no matter what.
Then, they laid that sweet baby on my chest and I completely froze. The nurse helped me get my daughter to latch, I talked with the hospital’s lactation specialist and, while it didn’t feel normal, I knew I would get the hang of it.
Fast forward a couple days, my daughter was screaming all the time. I felt like no matter how much I was breastfeeding she wasn’t happy or satisfied.
On the 9th day, I gave in and gave her a bottle of formula our pediatrician had sent home with us because she wasn’t gaining weight. As I gave her the bottle, I apologized profusely for not being able to give her what I thought she needed.
I cried all day. I felt like I was failing as a mom.
Feeding didn’t ever get easier. In fact, it got harder when we learned she had severe reflux. I finally threw in the towel and switched to formula 100% when she was a month old. I remember feeling scared someone would find out I wasn’t breastfeeding. And was sure they would think I was a selfish mom and talk negatively about me.
Keeping it a secret wasn’t possible for the obvious reasons, so I just started talking about it! You know what I learned?
That there are a lot of mamas that have had terrible experiences with breastfeeding.
They, too, felt like they were failing as moms.
I was glad to hear I wasn’t alone, but I was also sad to hear so many women felt the same way I did.
Why aren’t we talking about this more openly? Why am I scared to tell people my children weren’t breastfed? Why am I being shamed for nourishing my child the way that best fits our lifestyle?
The bottom line is that we shoudn’t be shaming anyone for taking care of their child. Breastmilk from the breast? Great! Breastmilk from a bottle? Great! Formula? Great!
Both my baby girl and I started thriving once we switched to formula. We found a formula that helped with her reflux and she started gaining weight! I started to feel like myself again! And I felt PROUD that I had made a really hard decision, but the RIGHT decision for US.