Why, when my child is almost 14 months old, do I have an emotional response- or at least a mini, internal gut punch- when I hear about someone breastfeeding?
My son is healthy. He has the most diverse diet of any toddler you know. It’s not like I didn’t breastfeed- there were half-hearted attempts at pumping and combo feeding for the first two months of his life. I believe that fed is best (informed is best!) and he’s growing amazingly and developing beautifully.
And yet I’m sad. I’m disappointed in myself. I think! I’m not quite sure what I’m disappointed about. That it didn’t go like it was supposed to. My milk never came in. Wasn’t I supposed to wake up that first night home from the hospital having to change the sheets because my gigantor boobs finally leaked everywhere?! We spent the first night home from the hospital with him screaming because he was hungry. The gigantor boobs never came.
I’ve gone through it many times in my mind. The night nurse who said, “He hasn’t quite lost 10% of his body weight, but it’s close, so do you want us to go ahead and give him some formula?” Was it her fault? Was she was being lazy? The doctor the next morning said his weight was fine. What is a new parent supposed to say– no, don’t feed my baby? But I don’t hate the formula. It did its job. Formula saved us. Formula helped bond my husband and son during bottle feedings.
Of course I had supply issues. The thought of food made me sick; my appetite completely dropped off the second he was born. I knew there’d be less sleep, but I didn’t know not sleeping at night when the baby did was an indication of a larger problem (and an extra blow to my supply.) The hours I spent laying awake, willing every cell in my brain to please god just go to sleep, maybe should have been spent pumping? Trying to coax my body into doing its job?
I don’t hate other moms who breastfeed. I’m happy for them, but I’m jealous. I know how hard it is. None of the roads are easy.
I’m thankful I know to never ask another mom how feeding her kid is going. I’m working on the whole compassion thing when it comes to family who said, “Your supply won’t get better if you keep feeding him formula.” Thankyousomuch, unsolicited advice is my absolute favorite, and I definitely didn’t know that without you telling me!!!! I have the self-awareness of knowing that if I get pregnant again, my brain won’t let the breastfeeding thing go. I’m better prepared, but I’m also more fragile if I fail*.
*Logically, I know it’s not failure. And yet…