Disclosure :: This post is part of a series for World Breastfeeding Week and is sponsored by Our Lady of Lourdes Women’s & Children’s Hospital.
It’s OK to Quit: My Breastfeeding Story
Best Laid Plans
Like so many other moms, I had some big ideas about motherhood when I was pregnant with my first. I didn’t have many friends that had babies yet, and that made the internet and books my best resources. I read the books, Googled all the things, bought everything a baby and mom could ever need. Finally, I just sat around waiting on a baby.
My best laid plans went wrong right from the start. I had to be induced, which terrified me. Then, when my sweet little Lillian arrived, I tried to breastfeed her, pretty much immediately. After about 45 minutes of trying, I still could not get my girl to latch. In came the wonderful lactation consultants at Women’s and Children’s. Those wonderful ladies spent hours with me, trying to get Lillian to latch, to no avail.
Once we were at home, the cycle continued. Lillian would latch to a bottle, but not to me. Back to the hospital we went, for more consultations with lactation consultants. Still no latching. My first week as a mom went something like this:
- Fight with Lillian trying to get her to latch.
- Pass her off screaming to someone else so they could hold her while I pumped.
- Have enough milk to make a bottle, and then let someone else feed her because visitors were always around.
By the end of my first two weeks as a mom, I was having panic attacks, calling my husband at work, hysterical, and having him kick family members out of our house, while I locked myself in my bedroom. I just wanted to hold my baby without her crying in frustration and hunger. I was beginning to wonder what I had gotten myself into. I never wanted to harm Lillian, in fact, I was very much in love, but I absolutely hated feeding her.
My Breaking Point
The day I finally broke, I felt like a failure. I went to the store to buy formula, and it was a very sad day, indeed. The joy I felt after I was able to feed my sweet girl without her crying, far outweighed my sadness. My sweet Lillian was satisfied, joyful, and smiling the whole time she ate. She started sleeping through the night, she had less gas, she pooped a couple of times a day. She was a different baby. Eight weeks of frustration melted away with a $25 canister of formula.
I had all the support in the world, the women in my family, my wonderful pediatrician, lactation consultants, and still, I failed at breastfeeding. It took me a while to be at peace with this. The simple fact is, I hated breastfeeding. I hated pumping. It is ok that I quit. My Lillian is now 7. She’s in the gifted education program, she’s rarely sick, she’s athletic. Basically, she was formula fed (not even organic formula, y’all), and she is thriving.
So mommas if you want to quit breastfeeding, quit. March yourself down to the Costco, buy you some formula, and never look back. Breastfeeding should be a happy, bonding experience, and it never was for me. As they say, “Fed is best.” You can give yourself permission to quit. It doesn’t make you less of a mom. In fact, I’d say showing yourself grace makes you a better mom.