Breastfeeding – when it works and when it doesn’t


This week is World Breastfeeding Week!  I recently ended breastfeeding for the last time.  I am both happy that I have my body back but also sad that a chapter of my life has closed.  When I reflect on breastfeeding I have can truly say we had a love/hate relationship.  3 children, 3 different experiences, 3 different points of time in my life.

First child:

I read all the books, every article on breastfeeding and was determined to breastfeed, didn’t really think about any other way to feed my child.  My naive self thought, so many people do it, how hard can it really be? Ha, I don’t think the books truly explained how hard breastfeeding can be.  As I was handed this adorable little boy I   immediately felt the weight of the world on me.  I, me alone, is expected to feed this child.  So I did what I had read, feed on each side for 15 mins.  A minute longer I felt that he might confuse it for a pacifier.  Then my milk came in the hospital and my breasts were up in my face, hard as rocks, so then they had me start pumping but not too long because then it would “increase my supply even more.”  Then my nipples started to crack because he wasn’t latching correctly.  This was all in the hospital, a hospital not in Florida, that did not let me met with the lactation consultant until the day before I was being discharged!  This did not lay a great foundation for the start of a successfully breastfeeding my child.  

I left the hospital to go home to a house under major renovations, which included a working kitchen. I was also super self conscious of breastfeeding in public and trying to breastfeed with a cover made everything more difficult. I hated the fact that I wasn’t comfortable to feed my child in front of company so I would isolate myself to another room for feeding time which would make me rush because this girl is a people person.  The kid was miserable, I was miserable. At my 4 week check-up with my son’s pediatrician I was almost in tears.  I didn’t know what was wrong.  The doctor had me feed him and then handed me a bottle when I was finished.  My son drank the whole bottle.  I sat there feeling defeated, like I had failed.  But I  saw how happy he was with a full tummy and knew breastfeeding was over, I switched to formula and didn’t regret it for a single second!

Second Child:

While I was pregnant with my second, the thought of breastfeeding made my have minor panic attacks.  I was fully prepared to start formula from the day he was born.  Breastfeeding just wasn’t my thing.  Then in recovery from my c-section surgery (we had moved to Florida in between kids), a lactation consultant walked in the room and asked if I was ready to give him his first feeding.  I told her I was thinking of formula feeding and she said do you want to give breastfeeding a chance, every child is different.  If anyone knows my two boys, they know I have two completely different kids.  So I said I’ll give it a try and it worked.  He latched like a champ and actually gained weight in the hospital. I shocked myself that I found it easier to breastfeed in public, and loved not having to take bottles with me every where.  He was the happiest baby around.  Life was different, no house renovations and I was a full-time stay at home mom.  Nursing just worked. I stopped nursing him at 13 months.  

Third Child:

Since breastfeeding was such a breeze with my second, I thought I’ll do it again with my third!  When she was born I thought, I did this for over a year with #2, I’m an expert!  Ha, you know what they say when you try to plan with kids! She didn’t seem to love it and we were both getting frustrated with each other.  After about a week she got the hang of it.  With #2 I was producing like crazy, had a freezer stacked and I breastfed like it was my job.  This time, I had the two older kids, running this site that I love and wanted to get back to work planning weddings.  I was trying to do it all and I felt like I was running on empty.  I could tell I wasn’t producing as much and when I went for her 4 month check up they told me that they were concerned that she wasn’t gaining weight.  So they sent me home with some samples of formula in case I wanted to try to supplement.  When I gave her the formula she was obsessed!  She loved the bottle and when I would try and breastfeed she would get easily frustrated.  My husband looked at me and said “I think its time to switch to formula.”  I needed him to say it and I was so grateful he did, I felt a weight lifted off of me.  I had breastfeed her for four months and we were both done.  

Each kid is different, each moment of time you are having a child is different.  What isn’t different is that as moms we all want what’s best for each child and what’s best is that they have full tummies.  #fedisbest