It’s breastfeeding week. Hail to the boobs and all. Unfortunately I don’t have the greatest or warmest fuzzy feelings about breastfeeding as the majority of the instagram mommy world might have.
When I had Hanalei I vowed to do everything “right”. And just like most first time moms, I found those first few weeks of postpartum to be the MOST challenging of my life. Not only was my body completely changed forever, I had this overwhelming sense of guilt because I just couldn’t figure out breastfeeding. Hanalei had what we loving called “the death clamp”. It was a week long struggle paired with utterly defeating backlash from people’s opinions and “breast is best”. We sought every available opportunity for help. I saw LCs, went to classes, tried different creams, nipple guards, shields, cups, syringes… by the end of that first week, I hated myself so much and worse than that I was starting to resent my newborn baby. At the start of week two, Hanalei had lost so much weight that we HAD to give her supplement. And it KILLED me. What would people think? Two weeks in and I’m already supplementing milk for my baby. I tried so hard all week to get this piranha to latch. Until one night, after hours and hours of exhausted effort to get Hanalei to latch, (TMI ahead) she BIT off a piece of my nipple. After that we concluded our breastfeeding journey….
I became very sensitive to all breastfeeding images as they all looked so easy. I just never understood why it didn’t work for me. It even caused some depressed months later. When I became pregnant with Gwendolyn I promised myself that I would give it another go, but I refused to sacrifice my mental health again. I truly believe it harmed some of the crucial bonding period for H and I and I was determined to enjoy my newborn this time around. And while Gwen was still a major struggle, was able to breastfeed her for (hold the applause) SIX months. It was not the most magical experience I’ve seen others have but I was proud of myself for being able to do it, for however long. Now looking back, I see photos of me and her, like this one, and I feel it’s so important to preface it with this message: breastfeeding is beautiful but so it just holding a baby. So is just holding a baby who is being fed with a bottle. So it’s a mother smiling ear to ear with joy and pride because their beautiful baby is happy and fed.
If you’re struggling or have struggled with breastfeeding, please don’t let this week make you feel like you’re not the amazing worthy incredible mother God created you to be. In the end, they are just boobs. Your baby LOVES you and you LOVE that baby. And that’s all the matters.