When I was eagerly awaiting the birth of my first son, I had grand visions of rocking him in his nursery while breastfeeding. I, being the planner that I am, bought bottles and formula just to be prepared, but never really thought I would use them. Then my son was born. Breastfeeding was hard, and it took practice, it was not as natural as I thought it would be, not to mention the pain that no one warned me about. While still in the hospital I had the lactation consultant stop by to help me and answer some questions. I was told to “keep working on it”, “practice makes perfect”, and “try to relax.” I tried to relax and enjoy this intimate time with my new baby, but I kept having this feeling that something was not right. This was not how it was supposed to be. Every time I voiced my concerns with family or friends I felt guilty for wanting to give-up.
My son was almost 10 pounds when born. He was a hungry little guy, and I had no idea how much he was getting, was he getting enough, too little? I felt like he was constantly eating, but yet always wanting more! At his 1 week check-up he had lost weight, and had developed jaundice. I, being a first time mom, felt like a failure. How could I have been starving my son and not have known it? Bless my doctor for being the first one to tell me “Its okay to give him formula.” I broke down right there in the doctors office, and thanked her for validating the feelings and thoughts I had been having the past week!
I switched to formula that day, but decided to still pump, so I could see how much he was getting. Turns out after pumping an entire day, I had a grand total of 2oz! No wonder my son had been losing weight! After I stopped feeling guilty, I started to feel upset. Why had not one doctor, nurse, or professional mentioned to me that some woman cannot produce milk? Had I known this it would have made me feel a lot better, that something was not wrong with me, and that it did not make me a horrible mother.
After this experience I went into my second pregnancy with a much different mind set. Sure enough I did not produce any substantial amount of milk, but this time I was prepared, mentally and physically, to use formula. I mentioned this to the nurses the numerous times they asked if I planned to breastfeed. I did not let anyone make me feel guilty, in fact I felt empowered. I knew my body, and I knew what was best for my babies. No matter how many articles you read, or how many professionals tell you one thing or another, always trust your motherly instinct and do what feels right for you!