My breastfeeding journey is representative of my parenthood journey in general – a roller coaster of dashed dreams, false expectations, frustration, self-doubt, but also one of wonder, joy, pride, and amazement.
When it came to pregnancy, child-rearing, and especially breastfeeding, I had so many plans, expectations, and preconceived notions about what was best and how things should be done. There were many things that went smoothly, happily, and as I had planned. But breastfeeding was not one of those things. Instead, it was a long, bumpy road of weight loss, lactation consultants, gas, elimination diets, pumping, syringe feeding, low supply, tongue tie, and galactagogues (definitely never heard that word before I had a baby). I tried so hard to adhere to my perfect ideals in those first few months – so much so that I suffered for it mentally.
My dear friend Molly once explained how she decided to stop breastfeeding because she was struggling. She said, “I felt like I was missing out on bonding time with my son because I was so stressed about making breastfeeding work.” Although I had had a long (and eventually happy) breastfeeding relationship with my first son, I really took her comment to heart and applied her outlook with my second little one. I bought a can of formula, had the bottles ready, and knew that I would do whatever I needed to do to feed my baby – and stay sane. Because I had learned that as a happy healthy mama I was a much better mama, and I didn’t want to miss out on a single moment of precious time with my baby because I was too stressed out. Turns out things went much smoother with #2 and we’re happily breastfeeding 17 months later.