From the time I found out I was pregnant I always knew that I was going to breastfeed. It was nothing my boyfriend and I ever discussed, we just knew that for us, it was what we wanted to do. Like an unspoken understanding.
During the early weeks of pregnancy we probably did what every new parent out there did, and go online for hours and hours researching the best of the best for our newborn. From reading posts on forums for advice, to deciding what diapers and wipes we were going to use. We researched it all. Right off the bat we loved what The Honest Company had to offer. I loved how their wipes were plant based and hypoallergenic. I used their whole-food based prenatal vitamins, and I loved their high quality ingredients that is in all their products on the market. On to the registry they went. Along with all the necessities ranging from clothing and toys to bath towels and nursing pads. How exciting I thought! We were going to be parents!
But my pregnancy turned out to be harder than I ever imagined. . I developed placenta previa early on, and woke up to puddles of blood on two occasions which landed me in the hospital. I was put on bed rest, taken off my job, and was considered high risk at the very beginning of my 2nd trimester. I often felt sorry for myself and disgusted with the amount of weight I had gained. I was depressed. I felt like my life consisted of doctors appointments, blood pressure checks, and lab testing. I always thought to myself…..Where is this glow everyone is talking about? I thought second trimester was supposed to be amazing? How come I gained so much weight and was so tired and depressed while everyone pregnant around me were active, having healthy pregnancies and feeling vibrant!?!
Finally after 28 long excruciating hours from the first dose of induction medicine, I ended up needing an episiotomy, and seconds later I gave birth to my healthy baby girl Audree. While they cleaned her up I was getting sewed up. I had this sense of amazement that overcame me because at a few points during my delivery I thought I was going to die. They placed my clean brand new baby on my chest and left the room for two hours telling me that it was bonding time for mother and daughter and this is when she will learn how to take the breast. The hospital I delivered at never mentioned bottle feeding to me, they were very upfront from the very beginning that they were a pro breastfeeding hospital. Which I totally loved. But even if I wasn’t going to breastfeed, it was ultimately my choice in the end. They never once had any influence in my decision to breastfeed.
Luckily Audree took to the breast right away. I never once had a problem with latching, thank God, I have heard horror stories and I felt very lucky. This was the start of our very long breast feeding relationship.
I’m not going to lie, it wasn’t all fun and sweet lovey dovey bonding moments when it came to feeding Audree. As first time parents we were learning on the job. Almost every night was a rough night and I started developing PPD. She screamed and cried most the day and was wide awake and colicky at night. My first instinct was to put her on the breast. Where she felt most calm and relaxed. This ended up being an all day/ all night thing, and I started resenting my decision to breastfeed. She became very attached and dependent on the breast. Although I knew there were so many health benefits to it and there were times where I did enjoy that sweet special time between the two of us, I also felt unhappy, over-touched and sleep deprived.
I did the day and night shift, being that my now fiancé worked a full time job and was gone all day, and needed the restful sleep at night. Some times I just wanted to hand him a bottle and tell him its his turn. I was pumping since birth so I had a good stock of it in the freezer but once that ran out and in desperate need of alone time, I ended up doing what I told myself I wasn’t going to do, we gave her formula. She did not like it. I tried to get her to take it as a supplement to nursing only when needed, and she simply preferred the breast over the bottle. I was trying my best to follow her lead. Do what the attachment parenting guidelines were, but sometimes it was just downright hard and demanding. We decided to just power through it. Keep breastfeeding because that’s what our baby wanted, and my body was very good at producing milk.
After breastfeeding for 27 months, and a little over month post weaning, I don’t regret any of my choices. Although extended breastfeeding was both challenging and rewarding, I wouldn’t have changed anything. I nursed Audree through all her colds and ouchies, and also all night most nights when she needed me the most….to sleep. We weaned when we were both ready. I was so thrilled when it was over. I do find myself missing it at times though.
Even though it was our decision to breastfeed, I don’t have any judgment against anyone who chooses to bottle feed their children. I believe every mother has the power to decide what is best for her and her family. Every family cares for their child in their own personal way, and I have nothing but respect for all the moms out there. Moming is hard. The last thing we women need to feel is judgment from other mothers. We have to respect and encourage every mom to not feel ashamed for the way they feed their child.