Why I gave up on breastfeeding
I'm not going to lie I was not looking forward to breastfeeding when I was pregnant. I was bracing myself for pain and a lot of long nights since I would be the only one able to feed Benson. But I have a (not so) secret to share with you. I didn't breastfeed my son. *Gasp*
Breastfeeding was always difficult for me. Benson was in the NICU for the first couple of days and while I tried to pump I honestly had no idea what I was doing. I tried to breastfeed him but we were having some issues so we tried giving him a bottle and he sucked the whole thing down. The kid was hungry. Every time after that when we went into the NICU we gave him a bottle and he happily drank it.
On one of my last days in the hospital one of the nurses decided I needed to try breastfeeding again and, I have no idea why but, she grabbed my boob and completely squished in order to teach me what I needed to do. I completely lost it. She turned around for one second and I burst into tears. Now, I feel a little justified in this reaction because it was late at night, I was still recovering from a 29 hour labor and a c-section and I was just completely exhausted. I was in so much pain it was terrible. From that moment on I gave up on breastfeeding. I never looked back and I never felt guilty about not breastfeeding. We were just going to be a bottle family.
I got a pump so that I could still give Benson breastmilk. I knew the benefits of breastmilk and I wanted him to get breastmilk whenever it was possible. Even though I pumped regularly my milk production couldn't keep up with Benson's appetite, so we also supplemented the breastmilk with formula. I pumped everyday until Benson hit the five month mark.
Pumping was always a chore for me. I never got much from it no matter how many times a day I pumped or for how long. By the end, I would sit there hooked up to the pump for 15-30 minutes and get maybe half an ounce. Half of an ounce. It was miserable.
When I started considering giving it up Benson was only getting one bottle of breast milk a week and I was laboring over that one bottle. It was just ridiculous. As my milk started to deplete even more I started to worry that the milk was going bad before he could even have any. I was exhausted from pumping and I just didn't want to do it anymore.
I tormented over the decision to stop pumping. I felt guilty about not giving him breastmilk if I had any to give. I felt guilty about how much formula cost when I was supposed to be able to feed him without it. I felt guilty about how cranky and whiney I would get whenever it was time to pump.
Finally, I decided that it wasn't worth feeling guilty over. I decided that one bottle a week really wasn't saving us much money and that, that one bottle wasn't going to vastly affect Benson's health. So I stopped pumping. I gave up breastfeeding all together.
I never thought that it would have been such a difficult decision for me, since I was never a do-or-die breastfeeder. I'm glad that I pumped and I'm glad that Jason was able to help me out during those night feedings with the formula.
I don't feel like I missed out on bonding moments with my baby because I didn't exclusively breastfeed. I still held him and snuggled with him after he finished a bottle. I feel like I did what was best for me and my family and in the end that's what was important to me.