So here I am two months postpartum with my second baby and breastfeeding has not turned out to be what I thought it would……again.
I fully support, admire and respect mamas who can successfully breastfeed, choose to breastfeed and love every second of it. While I hate feeling like I have to explain my personal journey with breastfeeding, I do it in hopes that I can encourage another mama who is struggling with these very feelings.
I’ve shared before about how breastfeeding didn’t work with Hudson, my firstborn son. I’ll be honest in looking back-I really have no idea WHY it didn’t work out. All I know now is Hudson is a healthy 16 month old that thrived on formula. With Hudson I pushed through extreme postpartum anxiety and pumped for 12 weeks. 12 weeks! That is insane. I have no idea how I did that.
Jack, my second son, was a big boy from birth, 9 pounds, 2 ounces and 22 inches. As I write this, he’s at least 13 pounds at 2 months old. Jack had a beautiful latch from the moment he was born, literally. Within 10 minutes he was on the boob and wouldn’t get off for at least 2 hours. He continued this for the first few days of his life. But I was truly a newbie to breastfeeding since Hudson only ever latched a handful of times.
I endured the painful, cracked nipples that got so infected my midwife prescribed me antibiotics. I would swear, cry and sometimes yell every time Jack would latch. I was so engorged I felt like I had the flu for a week! I went to the free breastfeeding clinic and had a sweet friend (whose a lactation consultant) stop by a few times in the coming weeks to help. Those were great resources for me and eventually the pain went away. Jack became a very efficient nurser. He could nurse for 5 minutes on each side and be satisfied! But that eventually started to change. I want to share reasons WHY breastfeeding has not been for me and where I am with it now at 2 months postpartum.
- The pain. I had both my sons without any pain medication. I don’t say that to pat myself on the back but med free birth is freaking painful. The second time around I remember yelling at my husband between contractions that I NEVER wanted to do this again. I still feel that way. You know what else can be quite painful? BREASTFEEDING in the beginning. It does get better but holy crap, pushing through the first 3 weeks is tough in all honesty. That might sound really discouraging but I’m keeping things real-I was not prepared for the pain.
- Pumping. Chances are (if you’re anything like me ) you’re going to want your partner to help. It’s nice to have a break in the middle of the night or be able to leave your house and have someone else feed your baby. But if you’re avoiding formula that means you have to express your milk. To avoid tanking your supply you have to pump as often as your baby would feed. This can be time consuming and a pain in the butt. I have a 2 month old AND a 16 month old to take care of. There are days that I simply forget to pump enough and then my supply starts to tank. No bueno!
- Worrying about how much milk baby is getting. All I knew was bottles with Hudson so it was all new to me to figure out if Jack was getting enough milk with nursing. I hated it and I found myself topping him up with expressed milk anyways. That was time consuming and counterproductive to nursing.
- Postpartum Depression and Anxiety. These are both things that I have and am struggling with, currently. They come in waves and while I have support, breastfeeding has only made these worse for me. I’m not new to these struggles and I know that removing things that compound postpartum depression/anxiety is very important.
- I just didn’t enjoy it. Everything you read says that breastfeeding is all about the bond you create with your child. I didn’t find that to be true, for me. I’m not saying it isn’t true for others but for me, this wasn’t the case. I was really disappointed by that with my second son, this time around because I thought something was wrong with me. Initially I really enjoyed those first couple days of his life with him nursing but eventually I found myself feeling the opposite with breastfeeding. I began to dread it. I also stopped reading those articles on how breastfeeding is the BEST way to bond with your baby. Bond with your baby however you can, that is what matters! I also was NOT comfortable trying to breastfeed anywhere except my own home. I just couldn’t get the hang of it. I was more of a, take everything off type person and you can’t really do that in public. Well, you can but I didn’t want to do that.
Eventually, Jack started losing interest in nursing. It began slow with him dropping a feed and only taking a bottle. When I found myself pumping every 2-4 hours and Jack only nursing once or twice a day, I knew our breastfeeding days were coming to an end. I’m currently in the process of weaning myself off the pump. I know I am not my best self when I’m struggling to breastfeed or pump exclusively. I want to be the best mom that I can be and I can be her when I’m not breastfeeding or pumping. I love bottles and formula. They are literally lifesavers for ME and my sons.
If you find yourself identifying with these thoughts or feelings, I want you to know you are NOT alone. There is nothing wrong with you. You aren’t a bad mom and you aren’t failing if you choose to stop breastfeeding. Feed your babies however you can. It all goes so quickly and I know I don’t want to waste my time feeling frustrated, guilty and sad all the time. Much love to all you mamas out there. You are doing amazing!
Did you hate breastfeeding? Did you love it? Why or why not? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!