Breastfeeding can be one of the most beautiful experiences one can share with your new baby. It is a bonding period like none other. I am glad to live in a society that is fighting daily to normalize something that is, truly, natural to us as human female beings. The only thing about that is…well, see, with strong societal backing comes strong societal backlash. If society doesn’t like what you have chosen to do for YOUR child society, for whatever rude reason, always finds a way to tell you about your apparent downfalls as a parent. The #NormlizeBreastfeeding movement creates strong debates with each side having very passionate point of views it just absolutely must share with all who will read/watch/listen. It truly is a damned if you do, damned if you don’t world we live in. Walk around whipping your boob out and you will receive both high fives and evil glares that seem to be packed with very underserved death threats. Like geese, calm down people.
Personally, what another person does for their child is completely their business. But I realized that even though I speak and teach daily about every parent having the right to choose what is right for their family, I found myself over-sharing and explaining why I was giving my child a bottle recently. After a quick, yet necessary self-analysis I realized this is less about societal pressures and more about my love of sharing. For example,...
With both my children, I chose to breastfeed. Yes, there are nutritional benefits and all that jazz, but honestly, what sold me was because it’s Free! I mean, who doesn’t like free? C’mon! Anyways, I have always had inverted nipples and was worried that that would hinder by breastfeeding abilities. I was reassured by a fabulous Lamaze teacher that they were not completely uncommon and plenty of moms successfully breastfeed. I read up on it and with the help of a Nipple Shield, for a few months, I exclusively breastfed my 1st daughter for 10months before she self-weaned. So of course, I stepped up to the bat ready and willing with my newest daughter. She latched on very well on one side but at times would refuse to even attempt to latch on the other. With assistance from a lactation counselor and yet another Nipple Shield, we had established an awesome breastfeeding rhythm within days after leaving the hospital.
But something happened right before the 2-month mark that shook that completely up. Her latch had changed on one side leaving me in pain during every feeding. Nothing new had been introduced and I could not for the life of me figure out why her latch had changed. She’d refuse to take the nipple shield as well when I tried numerous things to re-establish the rhythm we once had. After noticing blood in her spit up, I realized I had a bruised nipple that was cracked and bleeding. All textbook signs that the feedings weren’t going well. I decided to take her off that boob while I healed and pump that side during or after each feeding. But it never normalized. Every time I would allow her to feed on that one side, the pain would return and so would the sore. At this moment, I realized that I may not be able to do what I had done with my first. This child was different and should be treated as such.
So even though I miss the clear bonding that breastfeeding brings sometimes, I chose to exclusively pump and bottle feed my daughter because it was what was right for her…and myself. The decision was made with stride and she took on to those bottles like she had a new bestie. Now, every now and then, certain circumstances (read:laziness) make it to where I still get to put her to breast. I cherish those moments but had/have no shame or regret about feeding my child in the best manner for my family.
Photo credits go to my beautiful 2 year old daughter. :)