Can you believe Ronin is a week old already? I know I can't!
Bringing home a second baby was much easier than bringing home the first. We are pros at this point, aren't we? And so many of our questions were already answered. Where will the baby sleep at first? When will he move to the crib? Are we giving him a binky? We learned through trial and error with Keegan and so by now we already had so much of this parenting thing figured out and perfected to what fits best for us.
Now, what is the baby going to eat. Breast milk or formula? Naturally I want what is best for my child, I mean really, what mother doesn't? And I know that there are many proven benefits of breastfeeding.
-Breast milk is rich in nutrients and antibodies to help build his little immune system.
-Breast feeding can help reduce the risk of disease for both mom and baby.
-Breast feeding burns calories, meaning I lose the baby weight faster.
-Breast feeding will build a strong bond between mother and child. *
That all sounds great, why wouldn't I do it? I'm not by the way... See that little star up there, the one that usually means there is some fine print somewhere? Yes, I disagree with the last one, mostly because it isn't always true.
-Rewind about two years!-
As I said earlier, I want what is best for my children and breastfeeding seemed to be the obvious choice when Keegan arrived. As soon as he was born we started breastfeeding. It hurt at first but the doctors and nurses let me know that my nipples would be sore for the first few days, they just needed to get used to it. They also gave me Lansinoh cream to help with any cracking. I trusted them and left it at that, surely in a few days it would get better. The lactation consultant visited me before I left the hospital and despite the pain of feedings, she ensured me that Keegan was latching well and the pain would go away once my nipples had adjusted, just keep using the cream is what she assured me!
I went home and continued to breastfeed. Days turned to weeks and it continued to be painful every time I fed K. I used the cream and even tried pumping to relieve the pain and give my boobs a break.. but even that hurt. It became so dreadful that I would put off K's feeding for as long as I could and sometime I would even cut him short. Breastfeeding Keegan brought me to tears nearly every time after the first week or so.
My husband suggested we switch to formula, but I refused. Because what kind of mother would I be if I didn't give my baby the best? I felt as if I wasn't a good enough mother because of what I could not provide. I should be able to breast feed. But I couldn't. It broke me. I couldn't even look at my child when he was eating because I was so hurt and frustrated that he was hurting me. It wasn't his fault, but I couldn't even look at him... what kind of bonding is that?
After eight painful weeks, (yes I am that stubborn and held on for that long!) I gave up on breastfeeding. It was a matter of deciding what really is best for my child. If I cannot look at him, bond, with him, and give him all of my love all the time, then surely that can't be best. It took me eight whole weeks to come to that conclusion. We switched to formula, and Keegan and I have a stronger bond than anything I've ever known. I'm convinced that the outcome would be much different if I had held on to breastfeeding.
Even though Keegan and I began to grow a stronger bond, I still beat myself up over not breastfeeding. It was hard not to notice the glares from other mothers as I pulled out the formula in public, or the rude questions from friends and even strangers. It was frustrating when doctors and nurses would constantly remind me at check-ups that breastfeeding really was better. As if I had no important reason for making the switch... they never asked. All of the glares, questions and reminders only made me feel worse. Like I didn't do my very best.
My breastfeeding experience with Keegan was truly traumatizing and as Ronin's birth became fast approaching, what to feed him was one of the last questions I left to answer. Though I had an awful experience breastfeeding K, I still wanted what was best for Ronin. I promised myself that I would try. I wouldn't let myself suffer or sacrifice those precious bonding moments in the early weeks and I wouldn't be influenced by harsh words at the mouth of my doctor or nurse. I would try, because that's the very best I can do.
I breastfed Ronin for the first 3 days, just enough to get the colostrum! It was painful but I still tried, my goal was to make it to a week. After a morning feeding, I looked down to find an entire layer of blood filled skin dangling from my nipple... that was it. I was done.
Yes, breastfeeding and breastmilk have many many undeniable benefits, but none of them outweigh the relationship with my child. Ronin is one happy baby eating just fine. He does not go hungry and mommy stays happy too. And HAPPY IS HEALTHY!!
Ladies, don't knock yourself down too hard if you can't live up to your own expectations. Don't let anyone else's opinion lead you to believe that you are not doing something well enough. Motherhood is all about trial and error. What works for you and yours might not work for the next, but that's what is all about. You need to find what works for you and only YOU will know.
What have been some of your trial and errors?
Did you have any of your own expectations you didn't meet?
Tell me I'm not alone!