One of the challenges of being a new mom is dealing with your own preconceived notions of what motherhood is supposed to look like. Whether it is inherited from watching or talking to other moms, reading articles online, discussions on mommy forums, or scanning social media, you are bound to come across lofty inaccurate ideas on motherhood.
I remember being a new mom and trying to figure my way around this new life of mine. I had this new bundle of cuteness and she was totally dependent on me. Most of the time, I had it together. However, there were some times when I thought I was about to totally screw this child’s life up. One of those moments was when I realized that breastfeeding was not going to work out for me as planned.
I always thought that I would breastfeed exclusively. I had the pump and watched all the videos on how to use it, how to store the milk, and all the benefits of breastmilk. Not too long into my journey as a new mom, I realized that my dream would not become my reality. Not that I didn’t want to do it. Not that I didn’t try to pump and freeze. Not that my babies weren’t latching (one did, the other didn’t). I just didn’t produce as much as I hoped I would and my babies were greedy. I ended up pumping as much as I could and supplementing my babies’ feedings with formula.
Everyone had something to say, but they had no clue nor did they ask what measures did I take before making that decision. After a stint of allowing myself to become depressed about it and feeling inadequate, I got myself together and started speaking with and reading articles from other moms who shared my experience.
The shocker was when I shared my story with my mom and she said that she also had problems breastfeeding and ended up supplementing my feedings with formula as well. Wow!😱 As women, we often tend to compare ourselves to each other and it doesn’t stop when we become mothers. I heard more stories about moms who were successful at breastfeeding than I heard about moms who had challenges.
For some reason, if a mom was unable to breastfeed exclusively she was made to feel ashamed.
Listen, the reality is some mommies can and produce more than enough, some mommies can and produce not enough and some mommies just can’t. Either way, that does not make you less of a mom. My husband was my backbone through this process. It wasn’t easy. Neither did the guilt go away quickly! Many nights were spent crying, researching, pumping while falling asleep, drinking all sorts of concoctions, mother’s milk tea, eating supposedly milk-producing foods, etc.
I even remember spending hours pumping then feeling so weak that hubby had to hold the pump for me. What was the end result after several hours of pumping? NOT EVEN A CONTAINER FULL!
Once I allowed myself to accept this fact, it no longer bothered me. EVERYONE who has asked me knows the challenges I faced and I feel no shame in sharing my story.
I hope that by blogging about my breastfeeding experience another mom will be encouraged to stay positive. If you can breastfeed exclusively, DO IT! If you can’t, find the alternative that works best for your baby and for you. In the end, it will all work out and your baby will be happy and HEALTHY! Don’t give in to the pressure! Your little munchkin is counting on you.