When other mom's use to tell me they didn't breastfeed I secretly thought they were "awful mothers" who didn't "care about their baby's health or future". I would look down my nose on them for giving thier baby's formula, which clearly wasn't as good as breastmilk. I'd think about how selfish they were. They'd rather have a gassy, fussy, baby with a poor immune system. They'd rather have free time to do other things besides sit around breastfeeding all day. Why didn't they want the bonding? The accomplishment? The nutrients and anti-bodies?! What's WRONG with them?!?...
Nothing...there's nothing wrong with not breastfeeding. Sometimes you can't. Sometimes you have to work and can't pump. Sometimes your baby won't latch on at all. Sometimes...you just don't have the energy. The more times I read stories about women having those issues, the more I understood about why some don't breastfeed. And with the more I read, I got scared. I was terrified from the very first second the nurse placed my baby in my arms and said "Are you ready?". She taught me nothing, said nothing, and left the room. There I was, alone in my room, trying to shove my enourmous flat nipple into my son's mouth. He looked up at me with squinty, slimy eyes asking to be fed. I pulled away, squeezed my nipple...nothing came out. Not even a drop of colostrom which has soaked my shirts in the previous weeks. I couldn't understand where the milk was? Why wasn't it flowing from my breast and nourishing my son by now? Why was I broken?
What was really happening was my milk hadn't come in. Finally the nurse came back in and I told her "I couldn't do it". She looked at me disappointed. She told me she'd give him some formula. I was ashamed. I couldn't even feed my own son. And now he'd have to be formula fed and all my plans are down the drain, and I'm a horrible mom, etc. When I got back to my room they took him away to get some "sun". I sat in my room with Dave and watched him make phone calls. I sat there baffled. What was I doing wrong? Where was my milk? I "Googled" breasfeeding and read website after website. What were these terms they were talking about?! How do I "let down", should I try pumping instead? Was my son now forever tainted with formula? What if he didn't like my milk comparitivley?! I was freaking out. This wasa huge deal to me.
When the next nurse came in she came bearing a small bottle of Emfamil newborn formula. I told her "I wanted to breastfeed him." She told me that'd "be ok", but left the bottle on my table before leaving the room. I thought " oh god, she dosent think I'll be able to do it either!". I smuggly took my breast out of my bra and without acting like I needed any help, once again tried to breastfeed my child. He wouldn't take it...He wouldn't latch on. Not even for a second. I held back tears. I fed him the bottle as my family re-entered the room to see if I was feeding him...the way I wanted to. It was embarassing. My mom re-assured me, "'your milk just hasn't come in! Give it time Megg." Everyone had thier own opinion of course. And I was too stubborn and embarassed to listen to anyone.
That morning came and went and so far my son had eaten at least 6 bottles, of formula of course. The nurses switched and with that change the new one brought my baby back from testing. He was so beautiful, and at least full. I was grateful formula existed and wondred why I had hated it? The nurse asked me if I'd "like to try breastfeeding again?". I nodded and she placed him in arms on top of the Boppy. I tried again...and failed. I could feel the tears welling up as the nurse left, promising to be "right back". She came back after 5 minutes or so. During those 5 minutes I mustered up all my courage and told my embarassment off. I asked her, "can you help me do this? I don't know what I'm doing." She had un understanding smile and said "don't worry, it isn't always easy and sometimes just doesn't happen." It was sobering, yet it was something I needed to grasp. It might not happen, AND that's OK. She helped me guide and gave me tips, till, like a lightbulb, had an idea. She left and when she came back she had a little plastic case. "This is a nipple shield, it goes over top...sometimes they like the pertuded nipple more." I put it on and guided my nipple towards his mouth. He rooted around and struggled a bit. Then finally....he latched on. He sucked and I was surprised that it didn't feel worse, it felt better. My son was breastfeeding. And continued until I had to stop him. I was delighted. I didn't care that it was in "my plans", or what was "best". I was delighted because he was content and full, and I provided it.
I continued to nurse and suppliment until Oliver was 2 weeks old. From then on he's been. strictly breastfed. He loves nursing and sometimes uses it to fall a sleep. He's gaining weight at a normal rate and is in the 40 percentile. I couldn't be more happy with breastfeeding. It's frustrating at times and not always easy or convienent. But it's what works for us, so that's all that matters.