Wednesday, November 6, 2013

My breast feeding journey

I'm going to start off by saying that this is not a "successful" breast feeding story. I am, despite my best intentions and efforts, not breast feeding Wilson. So this is breast feeding story that ends with bottles and formula. 

While I was pregnant, my breasts never leaked. A lot if women say that they start making colostrum and leak as early as 25 weeks. This was not me. I tried hand expressing and my pump a couple of times and nothing. So I really believe my body started out behind. 

Wilson was born via C Section because he just refused to move down into my pelvis. I was given a sedative as soon as his cord was cut (because I was having a panic attack) so we didn't get any initial time to try to nurse. When I finally came to, I was still on morphine and Demerol, so I was pretty out of it. Wilson was brought to me 3 hours after he was born but between all the visitors and me being high essentially, attempting to nurse was just not a priority. 

The next day after the drugs wore off and I was more comfortable, we decided to attempt to breast feed. To my surprise, Wilson had a great latch right away. It was an extremely strange feeling, but in a good way knowing I was feeding my baby. But my milk had not come in and I still had no colostrum. So Wilson got angry. Very very angry. He would scream and turn purple. And if there is anything a brand new mom does not want to see, it's her new baby unhappy. His cry of hunger and frustration absolutely broke my heart.

 So of course, I started crying. I cried because I didn't know what to do. I cried because my baby was hungry. I cried because I felt like a failure. I cried because I felt guilty. I felt helpless. 

Still, we tried to power through it thinking when my milk came in, it would get better. Every time I put Wilson to my breast he would get very upset and on turn, I would get extremely upset. 

After a week of daily break downs, Caleb gently asked me if I wanted to stop trying. And that's when I completely lost it. I have never felt like such a failure as I did in that moment. I felt like the worst mother ever. Because, deep down, I knew it wasn't working and I doubted if it ever would. My milk still wasn't coming in over a week after Wilson's birthday. I don't know why I didn't produce, but I was so angry at my body. I wanted so much to feed my baby, but my body just wasn't up to it. 

I had the horrible idea in my head that if I were a "real" woman, I would be able to birth and feed my baby. And in a week, I had failed at both of those things. I felt useless, like Wilson didn't even need me. It was hard and there were so many dark thoughts. 

So I quit trying. Physically and emotionally, it was not working. I felt horrible about it for a few more days. But slowly, as Wilson started to grow and thrive, I started feeling better about my decision. 

And now, I'm proud of myself for trying so hard but also realizing that stopping made me a better mom. Yes, not breast feeding Wilson made me a better mom to him. It took so much stress and burden off of me, therefore I could better address his needs. 

So in the end, I am sad that for some reason, my milk never properly came in and we couldn't breast feed. But I've come to realize that it is NOT the end of the world. Wilson is growing great and we have a wonderful bond. We are both happy and healthy and that is what is important. 


  1. I love this post and your honesty. I think there is so much pressure on Mom's to do everything "right." And sometimes/most times we put that pressure on ourselves. But what's right for someone is not always right for another. You did the right thing by trying and finding a solution that works for you both. There is no wrong way if bringing a baby into this world, and there's no wrong way of nourishing your baby.
    Wilson is a cutie! Great job mamma!

  2. This sounds like it was a really tough time for you. I'm blown away by how good you are at identifying your emotions and feeling and thinking through them.