I’ve shared our early breastfeeding journey and my favorite things about breastfeeding for Baby H’s first 6 months. I think it also makes sense to share our current and ongoing struggles.
I absolutely LOVE the post “To The Mom Who Didn’t Breastfeed” on Scary Mommy because there’s so much truth to that post. I love this part:
Breastfeeding is about more than the milk.
It’s about feeding your baby against your body, the two of you gazing at each other in wonder.
It is connection. It is touch. It is two souls who spent ages looking for one another and are now earthbound, nestled together.
Breastfeeding is about the relief of holding your child safe in your arms.You can do that no matter how you feed your baby.
Stressed out about Breastfeeding
The most important thing is to feed and love the baby, so why is there so much stress about breastfeeding? Breastfeeding is HARD. It is a constant struggle for us, despite the thought that we should have it figured out by now. I can’t count how many times I’ve thought about quitting.
Here are some of the reasons that keep going through my head trying to convince me to stop:
- I only produce 2-3 oz a feeding. This is how much I pump, yes, but we also confirmed this several times with weighing baby before and after a feeding using the scale at support group. My output has not changed yet now Baby H is eating 6-8 oz most feedings. I’ve tried to increase my supply using lactation cookies, making oatmeal with brewer’s yeast and flax, taking Fenugreek, etc. with no changes. So that means after nursing I still give him a lot of formula. This means feedings where I choose to nurse first take ages. This is why I take shortcuts at night – because I just don’t have it in me for an hour-and-a-half-long feeding when I’m getting less than 5 hours of sleep at night as it is.
- Following that, I still get up early to pump before going to work, while Baby H is still sleeping. I could get an extra precious half-hour of sleep if I didn’t do that.
- Baby H’s outright REFUSAL to nurse. The nursing strike we went through at 4 months was brutal, but I’m talking about an almost daily refusal of some nursing sessions. I know it takes a while for milk to let down, and yes he has to work hard for little output. (I mean, what is 2 oz when he wants 8?) But when he turns his head and pushes me away and only takes a bottle that feeding, well, I get a bit upset. Pumping isn’t pleasant, and it is worse when I’m home and yet still end up needing to pump. Then he’ll gladly drink what I just pumped out of a bottle.
- Even when he doesn’t refuse, he gets so distracted and unlatches to look around the room, try to climb up the couch, and whatever else he can think of. It is frustrating to hold a squirmy baby that makes you spill milk.
Despite that, I keep going. I just can’t see myself stopping just yet. Not while I still have some milk to provide. Breastfeeding is something I’ve never been able to do before and being able to do this now is absolutely amazing. I keep going because this is a special relationship only he and I can have together, and I’m not ready for it to change.
A Lactation Consultant said it beautifully in an interview:
One thing I will say, because I keep encountering women who are apparently being told otherwise and it fills me with Hulk-like hormonal rage: EVERY. SINGLE. DROP. of breastmilk that a mother shares with her baby is precious. Is worth it. Is a gift. Is AMAZING. Any breastfeeding is beautiful breastfeeding and if you nursed for 10 minutes or 10 years, you’re a breastfeeding mother and I’d like to shake your hand.
So, despite the challenges and the toll this takes on my body, I’m still doing what I can to continue my breastfeeding relationship for as long as I can.
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I am so glad I found your site! I think this is great that you are writing about your challenges because sometimes moms make it look so easy and its not! I remember my last son went through a nursing strike around 3-4 months and I almost went to full on pumping but working with a lactation consultant saved us both!!
Thanks Brianne 🙂 It is definitely far from easy and I think new moms deserve to know they are not alone when they struggle, so sharing our challenges with each others, as well as our victories, is so important 🙂
Monica @ Boothopia says
Bravo! I fortunately don’t have a supply problem, but breastfeeding is STILL difficult for me. And just when I think we have a rhythm together, something changes in his wonderful mind and we have to figure it all out again. I am of the mind that formula is there for when you really need it. The fact that you are still giving him as much breastmilk as you possibly can is amazing. I’d like to shake your hand too!
You’re so right – just when you think you have it figured out, they move on to another phase and you’re back at square one heh. Thanks Monica! 🙂
Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom says
Breastfeeding is hard! I had many struggles while doing it and I used to think I was “less than” because it wasn’t as easy as everyone seemed to make it out to be.
However, like you, I stuck with it because I believed in its benefits. I think more moms should share the realities of breastfeeding. I would have found it encouraging to hear other mom’s tales of struggles and complications. It would have helped me feel more “normal”.
Thanks for sharing (and for linking up to the #SHINEbloghop).
Wishing you a lovely weekend.
Oh I definitely agree that we moms need to share our struggles, not just our victories, to really help support each other. Especially when things get rough, that’s when we need to know we’re not alone in what we’re feeling or experiencing. Thanks Jennifer!
Life Breath Present says
I’m sorry you’ve encountered so many issues/struggled with breastfeeding your little person. I know it isn’t easy and even though my struggles were barely there, I still had struggles. It is hard work and yes, even though the mechanics can be worked out, it’s a constant thing. I thought about stopping many many times, sometimes I even really wanted to and seriously considered doing so, but at the end of the day I couldn’t. I couldn’t just not do it because it was uncomfortable or frustrating or hot or time consuming, I had to keep going…for Baby Boy and I both.
With our next one due in a few months, I both look forward to breastfeeding again and wonder what the experience will be like for me this time…especially if Baby Boy decides to start nursing again.
Breastfeeding Is so much more than the work and the actual nutrition/health…it’s about attachment and emotional development…and if I’m really honest it teaches me something about myself and mothering at times 🙂
I kind of am in the same boat – I think about quitting several times a week, sometimes daily, but then I feel guilty and know it isn’t the right thing to do just yet. I love how you said that – it is more about nutrition but is so much about attachment and learning about each other and the kind of mothers we are. I hope you have an easier time this time around with your soon to be new baby 🙂
Amy Ngai says
I love reading posts about breastfeeding. It is definitely one of the hardest but rewarding things I did with both my kids. It sounds like you’re doing everything you can to provide the best for your little one. Keep up the great work. Thanks for sharing. #ConfessionsLinkUp
Thanks Amy 🙂 I never imagined how difficult and stressful breastfeeing would be, but I just can’t bring myself to wean just yet.
You are my BF champ! I feel like I would have given up so long ago, but you’re toughing it out! Awesome =)
Thanks Dee 🙂
Adventures of a Novice Mum says
You’re doing fab Julie; breastfeeding can be such hardwork. O pumping, I must say I was glad to see the back of it. We had a horrible start and I’m so glad we made it in the end. Well done for perserving with it, you’ve got to feed your child in the way your heart leads if you can and want. You’re doing really well despite all your challenges. I hope your supply increases to meet his needs. I really can relate with your frustrations. #TheList
Thanks for the support Novice Mum!! <3 I love how you said about the way your heart leads, that is so true.
Adventures of a Novice Mum says
O yes dear Julie; feeding our babies is part of how we love them. It’s important that we do what agrees with our hearts in this regard; otherwise, it becomes a chore and resentment could come in. 🙂 Thanks for linking with ‘#BreastfeedingandI
You are amazing. Keep it up! I had a lot of trouble with breastfeeding, even though I wanted to so bad! I will try again with my next child, and the fact that you said you were not able to do it before, but can now, that is encouraging. Breastfeeding is hard, but so is bottle feeding. I had a lot of guilt when I quit breastfeeding. All of those things that go through your head, well here are some of mine:
If I would have stuck it out we could have saved so much money
Other moms breastfeed through the pain, so why couldn’t I?
I know I produced enough milk, so why didn’t I just pump?
Why didn’t I just throw out the formula from the hospital the second we got home?
Will I be able to do it next time, or should I even bother.
We were having trouble getting my daughter to eat and had several bottle strikes (so that may have happened no matter how you feed), and I wondered if I had just kept breastfeeding if we could have avoided it.
You see, even bottle feeding moms go through guilt and have doubts. I had serious issues and even resented feeding my daughter because of the pain, so I had to stop because I wasn’t bonding with her. It has taken time, but I have gotten over most of my guilt. Thank you for sharing and providing encouragement. Keep up the great work momma!
You’re so right that there’s guilt no matter how you do it, unfortunately there’s just too much guilt around being a mom. Wow bottle strikes, that doesn’t sound fun at all. But you made the right decision for you – if you weren’t bonding with your baby and it was just creating more stress, that’s not healthy either. You may do things differently next time around or not, but either way your baby is cared for and nourished, and that’s what matters. Thanks for the support Cassie! Keep up the great work too!
Thanks for sharing your breastfeeding challenges, I know a lot of moms struggle and hearing about the things others go through can be so helpful! Has your son ever been checked for a tongue or lip tie? I know a friend of mine had a son with that, and was having many of the same problems you’re going through. Way to go sticking with it through all the challenges!
Thanks for the support Michelle 🙂 The Lactation Consultant who came out to help us initially checked him and said he didn’t have a tie. He’s preferred the bottle from day one heh.
You are amazing! Your perseverance is a great testament for others.
Thanks for the support Kim 🙂