It’s not that I didn’t believe it when I heard women talk about how difficult and challenging breastfeeding is. I just thought (naively) that because women have been doing this for thousands and thousands of years, and it’s one of the most natural things next to giving birth our bodies were made to do, if I just go into it thinking that it will be easy and natural then it would be. .
The first time the nurse brought him to me and asked if I wanted to try and feed him, I was SO elated that he latched right on. I thought, “how awesome, he’s a natural” .
Over the next few days it all fell apart. I couldn’t feed him because after a number of feedings where we struggled to get him to latch right I ended up so bloody and raw, it was too painful to even think about feeding him. I finally talked to a lactation consultant who advised I take a break for a couple of days to heal, which I was devastated to hear. During that time obviously we had to switch to formula. .
I cried and cried the first time we fed him formula (I know part of it was most likely the crazy hormones after birthing a baby) I felt like such a failure right from the beginning and I thought “how can I ever do this??” Then it got worse when I was finally ready to try again, and he refused to latch. He would just scream and cry any time I tried to feed him. Which of course just caused me to cry and cry. .
It was a rough several days. I had all but given up. But we kept trying. I was determined to not just give up and things slowly started to get better. .
We’re far from having it figured out, and every day is still a challenge, but we’re getting there! Feedings are finally going SO much better, and we’re working hard to get to a place where I can take him off formula altogether. .
At the end of the day, the biggest thing I need to remember is there is NO SHAME in the formula game, as long as he’s fed and healthy that’s the most important thing. We’re still working on getting into a regular routine, and that’s okay. No one said it would be easy. I am daily reminding myself to give myself a break, and tell myself “you’re doing great” even when I don’t feel like it.