I have three beautiful, happy and healthy boys. Ten years ago when I was preparing to have my first son, there was never a doubt in my mind whether or not I would be able to breastfeed. In fact, from the time I was a teenager, I had always said I would nurse as a way to save money.
Imagine my surprise when I had a hard time breastfeeding.
Very little goes according to plan when it comes to having children. You have all these great ideas in your mind of what type of parent you will be or what you child will be like. Then they come along and things don’t go as you had envisioned.
With my first son, I struggled to nurse him right off the bat. He dealt with colic, and refused to latch on properly. What a frustrating thing to deal with as a new mom.
After a few weeks, I went to work part time while my husband stayed home with him. During the times I was gone, Corbin was given a bottle. I did not have enough milk production to pump him bottles.
Looking back, I realize he lived off of supplemental bottles.
I nursed him until he was 9 months old and then switched to cow’s milk completely. I know some of you are going to yell at me right now because I didn’t keep him on formula until he was 12 months. However, at the time, there were a lot of conflicting views on when to switch to cow’s milk.
It was a relief to stop nursing. I had no idea what a drain it was on my life. Corbin nursed for such a long period of time and his feedings were very close together. I know it was because he was getting very little milk from me. Without the supplemental bottles while I was gone, he likely wouldn’t have gained enough weight.
My second child nursed no better.
When I was struggling with my first child, I chalked a lot of my problems up to working outside of the home. After I had my second child, I didn’t have much better luck, even though I was staying home full time at this point.
He latched on quicker and seemed to get the hang of it. He just didn’t seem satisfied with the amount of milk I was producing.
I only made it 6 months with Tripp, before I decided he needed more milk than what I could give him.
My third child made it the shortest amount of time.
Braden came along, and I knew what to expect at this point. I had already given up on the dream of being the nursing mom that saved money on formula. When I had my third son, I knew it was only a matter of time before my milk dried up and I had to stop nursing.
My third child is an eater. He eats more than his two older brothers. My milk supply was never enough for him. I tried to stick with it as long as possible. I made it about 3 months, with supplemental bottles the whole time.
What to do when you can’t breastfeed.
I know it is hard for moms that want to nurse their child, but struggle. It seems like one of those things that you would just be able to figure out. Isn’t it nature?
It was hard on me, because I was prepared with everything they tell you to have for your new baby. We had the passies, cradle, baby towels and washcloths, footy pajamas, but no breast milk to feed them.
Know when to quit breastfeeding.
What I hope you walk away with is that it is ok to quit breastfeeding. If your baby is not getting the nourishment they need, then it is time you find an alternative. Some moms really beat themselves up over not being able to nurse.
I understand why you feel like you are letting your child down when you can’t care for them the way you want. The important thing to remember is that as long as you are meeting their needs, you are caring for them the way a mother should.
If there comes a point in which you have to give up on nursing, find other ways to bond with your baby. Even if you don’t have milk production, that doesn’t mean you can’t let them latch on.
What have you done when you have struggled to breastfeed?
Keelie is a mother of three amazing boys and married to her high school sweetheart, Austin. She spends her days running R5 Website Management, taking care of the home, and investing in her children. In her spare time, she loves to encourage married couples to grow deeper in their relationship and find joy in their marriage.