Nursing is an incredible awesome gift that a mother and child can share. But why are there haters for those who cannot succeed?
I feel like there are three camps:
Nursing is the ONLY way.
Bottle are the ONLY way.
And then the mother’s who feel horribly guilty because they can’t nurse.
This week I’ve talked with a bunch of mom’s who gave their hearts trying to nurse. They did all the things you’re supposed to do. They even met with multiple lactation consultants, when they encountered problems.
Despite their best efforts, they weren’t able to nurse. It came to a breaking point. Emotionally they were defeated, physically they were suffering. Yet there was this odd paradox… finally in giving a bottle they received joy in taking care of their child, yet they felt judged and shunned for not doing what was “best” for their baby.
I could identify with the pain they experienced… I struggled immensely when I started nursing my son. He was losing weight and I felt like the ultimate failure, I couldn’t provide for my son! Meanwhile, my friend was bursting at the seams with milk… which always make you feel great!
People kept telling me to stick with! Things would improve, and some statistic about how most mothers quit nursing like 48 hours before things were about to get better.
It got the point I had to start supplementing with formula, because I couldn’t take it anymore. While seeing him happy and well fed I felt like a loser with every bottle he took. Then a babysitter wasted 2 oz of pumped milk!! I gave my life pumping that bottle!! I almost died (Ok not really, but it felt like I would)
I consider it a huge blessing that after a month of torture… (physically, emotionally etc.) I was able to just nurse full time! I was able to quit supplementing!! But not everyone is that lucky.
I truly appreciate the people who encouraged me to stick with nursing. I’m glad I did. Now nursing takes no effort at all. It is incredibly healthy for my son, way cheaper, and I can share that special time with him.
But what about my friends? They aren’t bad moms… Are there benefits they lost in not being able to nurse? Absolutely! But I don’t need to tell them that… they are already weeping for themselves.
The most difficult thing, they said, was the people who continued to talk “at” them about all the benefits of nursing and why they should be doing it. Or why they simply need to stick it out for longer.
Another difficulty is when people would oversimplify nursing… It is so easy, it’s natural, I don’t understand all the fuss. But it's not easy for everyone.
I want to encourage my friends to nurse! I want them to succeed! If they need encouragement in the storm before smooth sailing, I want to be there cheerleader!
However, I never want to the be one with judging eyes, who makes them feel small or worthless in their struggle. This is hard because an offhand comment about how all great mothers nurse, or that formula fed babies get sick more often… said between nursing moms in innocence, can crush the mom who is secretly struggling. (I know I've felt crush by these comments before).
How did you choose nursing or bottles? Did you ever feel guilty or judged about your choice?