Its National Breastfeeding Week. I celebrate for you all, but not with you all. I did not breastfeed.
New Mom Excitement!
I just knew that I was going to be the breastfeeding queen. I remember during one of my pregnancy appointments being presented with a brochure that described using other women’s breast milk…if yours didn’t come in. I was so self righteous. I grimaced. I didnt have a second thought about not being able to breastfeed.
“I will probably be giving my breast milk to other women.”
I was more anxious about the health of my baby than if I could breastfeed. Of course I could. I come from a long line of superwomen…and these Double D’s (that turned into E’s while I was pregnant) were ready to be the source of life and health for my little one.
When my baby was born I started breastfeeding immediately and my colostrum was poppin. My baby was growing at a healthy rate and she latched on immediately. Of course she would.
Bilirubin and the Breastfeeding Dilemma
I didn’t know what Bilirubin was but I had heard of babies being born Jaundiced. My little sister was born Jaundiced and one of Beyoncé’s twins was born Jaundiced. So I knew that it meant “yellow” but that was it. Well welcome “high Bilirubin number.” While I was providing a good amount of colostrum, my baby needed more to eat to keep her weight up. Was this really happening? Yes. The other option was to feed her formula. Formula?
I was crushed.
I never contemplated formula. It was for older babies for or women who couldn’t or didn’t want to breastfeed. Not
Me. You know, THOSE women. Here I was, my baby was just a few days old. I was feeding my greatest accomplishment – Formula. I was strong on the outside, on the inside I felt less than a Mom. I didn’t have enough milk to take care of my baby. It was devastating…but I needed to remain mentally strong…I was still in the hospital healing from a c-section.
“Let’s get the formula.”
I would never endanger my baby. And I could still breastfeed or so I thought. My breast suckling baby was jamming on the ready-made bottles of Similac from the hospital. I fed her, of course. It made me feel so sad.
After I left the hospital I tried to move from supplementing breast milk to making it the primary food…to no avail. I bought a pump (it didnt work), I even got a hospital grade pump. I made less than an ounce in more than 2 hours. I had never felt like so much of a failure. But who could I tell that I had low breastfeeding self esteem? These breasts were made for feeding.
When I was 5 weeks post partum, I realized that the milk had gone bad (or just dry).
I had had wine. Why not.
My little one still likes to suckle because it’s bonding behavior and we be bonding. But there is no milk between us any longer.
I wanted to talk about this because as a notorious wine sipper…people had the unmitigated gall to judge my behavior….
“I hope that you enjoy your wine, as long as you aren’t breastfeeding.” This is from the Book of Faces.
These judgey women had birthed neither chicken nor child. They couldn’t judge me…but they did. And I felt small. It’s not that I didn’t want to breastfeed…but I couldn’t.
So the next time that you get ready to judge a new Mom for not breastfeeding please remember that it may not be that she will not, but that she cannot. And Moms who cannot breastfeed, but always wanted to know that you can have a big healthy baby and you should not feel bad about things that just happen.
This is Real Mom Life.