breastfeeding

Anonymous Mom: Quitting Breastfeeding Was The Best Decision I Ever Made

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I tried breastfeeding twice with no dice. My first daughter, Sydney, lost her ever-loving shit every time I so much as dared to mention my boob in her presence. This is in line with her current personality; “I don’t want to do it, and if you breathe a word of what I don’t want to do, I will unleash my fury. You’ve been warned.” Norah was much sweeter about the whole thing, her 1-day old personality seemed to say “No thanks. I’m trying here, but you aren’t very good at this. No offense, mom. I’m sure you’re very good at lots of other things, like using appropriate grammar after seven beers, or teaching your two-year-old the words to Run DMC songs, but this just isn’t your thing. And lose the nipple shield. It’s just kind of . . . sad. Now where’s that syringe of milk?” She did latch a few times, which I considered to be great success until I saw Easy Boob McGee in the Infantry for Infants seminar. Then I realized that I was like the kid in class who the teacher tells is doing “GREAT!” when she’s really four chapters behind the rest of the class. (You know, because that kid probably hadn’t been breastfed, which, in case you’re uncertain, is the sole predictor of whether or not your child will be successful and healthy.)

I made it over three weeks pumping and feeding my first daughter, and a paltry four days with my second. Both times, I was greeted with the familiar feel of failure, even though I swore I would never feel that way. I didn’t have postpartum depression (in your face, producers of Faces of Fetal Death Part IV), but the only thing that made me feel depressed both times, was my breastfeeding failure.

So for any of you who might be in similar situations, massaging lumpy boobs while feeding your child pumped milk by the light of your iPhone, helplessly googling “Quitting breastfeeding” and looking for something that doesn’t say “You got this, girl! You can do it! Have you tried calling your local lactation consultant? Here’s a link to KellyMom and a re-direct to an article from the NIH about why breast is best. Don’t give up, it gets better!” Here’s a list of things I felt while quitting breastfeeding, and reasons why they are all bullshit.

1. “I’m just not trying hard enough. Other women do this!” It’s true, other women do this, even when their babies don’t latch, they try endlessly for days and weeks on end, with no sleep, and eventually it works. You know what else some women accomplish? Marathons. Medical Degrees. Nobel Prizes. I am not a woman who will run a marathon. I am not a woman who will breastfeed for a year or even a month. I am a woman who has a successful career, a successful marriage, and two healthy children. I have many strengths and accomplishments as a woman, and I’ll have many as a mother. It’s ok that this isn’t one of them.

2. “Look at her big blue eyes, she’s so happy when she actually latches! She’s begging me to keep trying this. How can I let her down?” That’s the crazy talking. “The crazy” also goes by its formal name, “Hormones”. Your baby is happy because she’s eating. She’s 72 hours old. She can’t reason and she certainly can’t guilt trip you yet. Tell the crazy to back the freak off and tell your husband you need a 10 minute break in a bath or the shower or a padded room, and pull it back together.

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