Why i did not breast feed my kids

This is something I have always been ashamed of. So many mothers are judged for opting to not breast feed their little ones, as if it makes us less of a mother because we don't have this specific thing. So this is a difficult thing for me to share, as it may put me in the light of lazy, inconsiderate mother who was more about herself than her kids.

As you know from my post partum depression story, my son was born early and then got sick a few days after being born. He had to go on an invasive respirator, which basically means he had a tube down his throat that pumped oxygen to his lungs, leading to him not feeding through the mouth. This was the case for the first two months of his life and then when he finally got off it, I really wanted to breast feee him but he just would not latch. My nipple just seemed to frustrate him and so because I just wanted him to get better so we could get the heck out of the NICU, I was ok with him being bottle fed as long as it was my breast milk, so I pumped.

Once he left the NICU this just continued. I would pump every 4 hours every day including nights, and then feed him via a bottle until he was a year old.

For my daughter I was desperate to breast feed her the "normal" way so I got a breast feeding support book called Breast Feeding made simple by Nancy Mohrabacher and Kathleen Kendall-Tackett. I read this book religiously while I was pregnant, I even bookmarked key pages and took notes. I was so ready on paper. I wanted to do it "right"!

Fast forward to the day Nai Nai was born. As soon as she seemed to be ready to get on the boob I put her on and the nurses at the IWK were so supportive and encouraged me to express my milk by massaging my breast to get that colostrum! I didn't sleep that first night, as I was focused on getting my milk flow going. She would latch for maybe 5 mins total on both breasts and it hurt! Like immense pain! I remember crying as she sucked aggressively on my nipples and I told myself I would stick through the pain. We did this for a whole month. I would pump as well as breast feed, and then my nipples started chaffing and bleeding and she was such a hungry girl that there was never any time to give them a break. So guess what I did, I QUIT.

OK, some of you are probably judging me right now, thinking how could you quit giving your child nutrition just because it hurt?! But let me tell you, I saw my previous postpartum creeping up real quick during that month as I was obsessing on getting things right. One thing you will grow to know about me as you get to go on this journey with me is that I am a true perfectionist. If I do something and it's not the best I truly beat myself up about it. I can't help it. Let's blame my upbringing I guess.

Anyway, yes I quit. I decided since I was still going to provide her with my breast milk she was still getting all the necessary nutrients anyway and yes I may miss out on the bonding that comes with breast feeding but at least I would be PRESENT for her and my son. I could not allow the depression to take over me again, so it was basically a compromise of some sort.

Now, I chose to share this because like I mentioned before, unfortunately a lot of mothers are judged for choosing not to breast feed or formula feed instead of breast milk and I just don't get why this judgement exists. I honestly believe as long as that child is loved on and protected, as women we should support other women for whatever choices they make to raise their children. I realise we are all very opinionated and that's the beauty of humanity, however, all moms don't have it figured out and we are all fumbling along just trying to do the best we can.

I am here for you if you have been struggling with whether to breast feed or not and would be happy to be a support system as you navigate these strange waters. And remember mama you got this!!!

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