Several weeks ago I wrote a post about Nursing Pros…and Cons. When I wrote this post, I was on “the verge.”
“The verge,” I am referring to is QUITTING breastfeeding!!
Yes, ME! The girl who once held a job and did nothing but preach the many benefits of nursing your baby. ME! The girl who wants nothing more than to have superior health for myself and my family. ME! The girl who believes in eating as naturally as possible.
If you haven’t already inferred, I had a rough beginning in the world of nursing. I was up and down about breastfeeding more times in the first 6-7 weeks than I care to count. I “quit” about 3 times officially, only deciding to give it “one more try” by the next time Hannah needed to eat. I was having so much pain; bleeding/sore nipples, mastitis (twice), a plugged duct, engorgement, etc, that I was absolutely miserable. I caved and gave Hannah some formula a few times, especially when it hurt so bad I wanted to cry. I had reached my mental breaking point (or so it seemed) and heard that if nursing is costing you your sanity, then you need to do what is best for you (a mommy in stress isn’t good for baby either).
One month out, I called one of my best friends in complete and utter frustration, swearing that I HATED nursing, every single minute of it, and that I just wanted to quit. Instead of hearing all the wonderful benefits of nursing and why I should stick with it, she just listened. There were no guilt trips, no persuasion in either direction, no scolding to just get through it, no rolling of the eyes. She didn’t tell me that it would get better or worse, she just supported whatever I decided and didn’t judge me for either choice.
That is exactly what I needed. I needed someone to vent to who wouldn’t judge me. Thank you dear friend
After our conversation, I hung up feeling so much relief and decided to keep sticking it out until after the 6 week mark (even though at that point I was determined to quit after 6 weeks).
Well guess what happened? Six weeks came and went and things started to get better. It was like my body finally figured out how much milk to produce and slowly the pain was going away.
Suddenly Hannah and I got into a groove. Suddenly I didn’t mind nursing. Suddenly I felt proud of myself. Suddenly I knew I had done the right thing. It was like a cloud lifted and the sun FINALLY came out.
Today, I feel like I’m a nursing champ. Even though I still have a can of organic Similac Advance sitting in my cupboards “just in case,” I am proud to say that things have been going great. Would I have kept at it if things didn’t get better after 6 weeks? I can’t say for sure. But I do know that I truly appreciated having moral support, without a guilt trip attached.
If I could give any advice to people out there who are nursing, thinking about nursing, or on “the verge,” it would be this; give yourself some credit. Nursing is HARD. Whether you do it for 1 day, 6 months, or 6 years, YOU did something wonderful for your baby. Sure, ideally 1 year plus is optimal, but MOM!! You have to do what is best for YOU and I think that gets lost sometimes after baby comes. You know the whole analogy of putting your mask on before helping your little one? Look, you can’t save your baby if you’re passed out! So instead of beating yourself up, get out there and find a friend who won’t judge you for whatever decision you make and vent to them. It just might be all the aggression you need to get through the pain and keep going.
From now on, I will advise to give nursing your BEST shot, but ultimately, whatever you decide, it is YOUR decision and no one else’s.
What are your thoughts on this matter? Do you judge people who choose not to nurse? How long did you nurse for if you did? If you chose to give formula, what were your reasons?