One Mother’s Thoughts on Breastfeeding
I’ve been thinking about writing this post for a while. I hesitated because it’s such a personal and intimate topic. But my hope in writing this is that I can share my personal experience and encourage other moms along the way! This is a post about breastfeeding and my experience. I know this is a very sensitive topic and I have friends who felt heartbroken they couldn’t breastfeed the way they hoped or desired. Please do not feel ashamed, embarrassed, or upset if you could not or chose not to breastfeed. There are many other ways to connect with and provide for your precious new baby.
So here it goes: I have a love/hate relationship with breastfeeding. Hate is a powerful word so maybe I should say strongly dislike. First I’ll start with the positives. I feel extremely blessed that breastfeeding has gone so well for me and that I am able to provide the best nutrition possible for my little one. I remember crying when I was pregnant because I was so worried I wouldn’t be able to breastfeed. I did skin-to-skin with our baby girl the first hour after birth and she latched on right away. It’s a beautiful thing to hold your baby so close and I truly believe it has played a role in building a wonderful connection between me and Izzy. As mothers, God perfectly created us to do this with our children. I feel blessed to have experienced it!
But there are always two sides to a story. Breastfeeding isn’t easy. Sometimes I feel trapped and think in my head ‘can’t somebody else just feed her for once.’ Some days our baby takes a bottle fine, other days it feels like we are torturing her trying to get her to take it. It usually results in tears and me throwing away perfectly good breast milk. Maybe I waited too long to introduce it or maybe she’s like her daddy who also hated the bottle as a baby. Yes I am grateful that she breastfeeds so well, but am I the only one who ever wishes for a break?
I had this perfect plan to wean our baby around 9 months. It seemed to work out because my husband had two weeks vacation, which never happens as a medical resident! I thought it would be great if he were home to help with the bottles and be a support during this transition. Well our baby girl had different plans. She strongly dislikes formula and is now refusing bottles of straight breast milk. I have to admit I was disappointed. I thought I would feel this new freedom when I stopped breastfeeding. I wanted my body back. I wanted to wear clothes without thinking ‘can I breastfeed in this?’ I didn’t want to have someone relying on me all hours of the day!
Thankfully I have a supportive husband and family. They helped me get out of my pity party and look at the brighter side. I am still trying to get our baby to drink from a bottle and/or sippy cup, but in the meantime I’m going to try and soak up all the minutes I have breastfeeding our precious daughter. I want the feeling of freedom when I stop breastfeeding, but I also tear up at the thought of stopping!
My prayer is that you won’t feel alone in this. Breastfeeding is hard work and it takes time and dedication. The hours seem long, but the months go by so quickly. When I think about this with a heavenly perspective, 1 year of my life breastfeeding our baby really isn’t that bad!
I feel for you. That was one of the reasons I chose not to breastfeed at all. I didn’t want to be the only one who could feed the baby. I wanted to be able to take a break, and I wanted my husband to be able to participate in feedings. Take as much time as you can for yourself between feedings. Maybe she’ll be ready to wean sooner than you think. Some kids start the babyfood and don’t hardly want milk anymore.
Aw, hang in there! I hear the same from other breastfeeding friends! I have inadequate milk glands (in number and ability) and wasn’t able to get more than 1-2 Tbsp. of milk per feeding (with all the meds, pumping, tinctures/teas, seeing 4 LC’s, even encapsulating my placenta!)… so I had to formula feed my 4 babies.
Just like with breastfeeding, there are pros and cons with formula and bottles. It’s nice to be “real” about the cons and then to focus on the pros in day to day life.
Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experience. As you said there are pros & cons to each decision.
Great post! I have had a love/hate relationship with breastfeeding also! I feel incredibly blessed that I was able to breastfeed Gracie for 9 months, but I felt ready to be finished. I cried during my last feeding because it was sad to realize that chapter of my life is now finished. I’m sorry that weaning isn’t going well for you! Praying she will take a bottle soon!
Aw Lindsay! I’m sure I will cry during my last feeding as well. Thanks for the prayers, I truly appreciate your support 🙂
Hang in there! I can totally relate to this and had similar feelings breastfeeding my own kids. I managed to breastfeed them each for their first year, but it was really tough. I was working, so that meant lots of pumping (yuck) and extra stress at work. It meant I was the only one who could get up with the kids at night – and set us up for ‘mommy’ being the one they want when they wake up in the night. I was tied to them for every meal. But, I loved it. Loved the closeness it gave me to them. Loved the special time – just the two of us. Loved filling them with all the goodness of breastmilk – and am convinced it helped build their really strong immune systems. Nothing wrong with bottles or formula, but I figured this was one year of our lives where I could do something really special for my kids. They do grow up SO fast! Thanks for your honesty!
Thanks for the encouragement! Some days I love it and other days it’s a struggle. But as you said time goes by so fast!
I have been on both sides of this and I feel you! With my first child, I didn’t know any better and allowed them to give him bottles in the hospital nursery, and by the time we got home, he wouldn’t breatfeed and it was heartbreaking. With my 2nd, I made sure to repeat “no bottles” to every nurse and she breastfed just fine…the problem is she wouldn’t take a bottle! At all! So by the time she started sleeping through the night at 11 months, I was completely exhausted and since I was the only one who could feed her, I felt trapped! It’s totally natural. You are doing just what you should and feeling just as you should. Great post.
Thanks for stopping by Holly! I totally know what you mean about feeling trapped. I’m not sure there ever is a perfect baby or breastfeeding scenario!
Lauren, you are so close to a major transition with your breastfeeding. The longest I BF was 22 mo & the shortest was 13mo the rest were close to the 20 mo range. I’ve been where you are many times & your feelings are normal.
You mentioned that you’ve started your little one on solids. Once she gets really going on them you can begin to drop a feed. If you aren’t already offer her lunch first with water in a sippy, when she is finished then offer to nurse her after she’s run around a bit if she asks. Within the next 2 months during the day offer her more solids, then to nurse. She will definitely settle into wanting to nurse around nap times & bedtimes. Depending on my kids personalities there was usually a mid-morning feed, but you’ll definitely see what she needs. Around a year I rarely nursed when out & about because they were more able to take solids. This is your future very soon, but I can also relate to that “nursing fever” that is so overwhelming. Around 9 months was always the most challenging for me.
Between 12-18 months I typically only nursed 3 times a day, 4 if they were sick.
I did have one that sounds so similar to yours regarding refusing breastmilk in a bottle and bottles period. With him when he was 5 weeks old I had to be hospitalized & was unable to nurse him for 3 weeks. I was able to re-lactate with him & he would never take a bottle again. Interestingly, this almost 7 y.o still has a strong personality. Now that he is older I see that this was apart of his personality & that he needed more than just nutrition from me. He ended up being my shortest nurser. I cut him off because he was only nursing 2 times a day and was on & off before I could even let down. He was done. Thankfully by going through a slow/ drop a feed here & there process I never was engorged during the last part of weaning for all my kids.
I never intended or planned to be a longer nurser, but it worked out well for me. Sounds like she needs you a lot. If I may suggest, you’ve already invested so much time into BF already & you are so close to a major transition with it, so save the money you’d spend on formula & get a nice treat for yourself.
If you do decide to become a longer nurser as she gets bigger don’t let her undress you. Maintain that control. It will help her to begin learning that you are your own person & it helps you to feel like you are your own person as well. There’ll be plenty of other areas that you’ll want to give into instead.
Your beautiful baby girl will be a toddler in a few months & she’ll be into even more things. Happy last few baby months!
Thank you Carrie! I appreciate your advice and I am so grateful that you shared your experience with me. I love learning from other mothers! It’s wonderful to know I’m not alone in this journey in life.
I am so happy I’ve been able to successfully breastfeed all my kids. None of my kiddos ever took bottles, but I didn’t need them to. My first weaned at 18 months, my milk dried up due to being pregnant with his sisters. It was totally unexpected and while I had really hoped to make it to 2 years with him, it was kind of nice to wear whatever I wanted and man, breastfeeding while pregnant is painful!
Now I’m breastfeeding my 19 month old twins and am hoping they choose to continue on through this next winter. They still nurse a few times each (at least) through the night and several times during the day, so I can totally see that happening! I do look forward to the day I can wear cute dresses and maybe spend a day away from the kids, but like you said, I always put things into perspective and remember how short this time in my entire life really is.
Thank you for sharing your experience Melissa. I am encouraged by your words!
thanks for sharing! in my experience the breast milk production adapts so I just sub formula when I need a break