Feed as You Please: Formula-feeding is not Mommy Failure

To the mom who couldn’t breastfeed…

                Am I the only one who felt like a complete failure as a mother? I couldn’t do the one thing our bodies were created to do past six weeks. I followed all the “rules”. I went to see a specialist. I tried.

(Originally written April 20, 2018)

Today, November 29, 2018, exactly 13 months postpartum:

I actually forgot I sat down at one point to discuss this topic until today. Jayden was approaching six months and I was approaching about four months of completely being off of breastfeeding. I was clearly still taking, what I then recognized as “failure”, extremely hard, and I so desperately wish I could just hug the woman who wrote those words. I say that because since this post, I have grown to be the woman who hugs (in-person and virtually) so many amazing Supermoms who can no longer breast feed.

Some of my closest friends are breastfeeding their children who are older than Jayden. And, some of my closest friends never started or stopped shortly after childbirth. The beautiful thing about that is the judgement that has never once appeared among us. Both parties were empathetic to my realization that breastfeeding wasn’t something I felt mentally strong to do.

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“It hurts. It’s wearing. It stressful.”

Those were just a few of the emotions I associated breastfeeding with during this time. I beat myself up because every mom page on the internet, every know-it-all coworker, and every highly-opinionated stranger on the street, told me breast is best.

“I’m not a good mother since I’m unable to provide for my child the way my body is supposed to. My body failed me. It failed my son. How can I be a good mother if I can’t do the one thing that should come so naturally?”

I cannot believe how toxic my self-conversation was when it came to my inability to continue breastfeeding. Because, man, I am a damn good mother. No matter how your child is fed, YOU are a damn good mother.

Will I try to breastfeed if I have another child one day? Yeah, I probably will.

Will I be successful? Maybe. Maybe not.

Will I ever treat my body, the same body that helped create, carry, and deliver a human being, with such disrespect that I’ll say it failed me? ABSOLUTELY NOT.

I know I intended for this post to resonate with mothers currently experiencing the feeling that their body failed them. And if I would’ve posted this in April, that’s the woman you would be having a conversation with right now. But over the last six months, I grew to realize there wasn’t a damn thing wrong with me, or how I fed Jayden, or how I didn’t push through.

One piece of advice that I delivered to myself regularly is: “We will never get this day back again. Do not spend so much time consumed in the thought that you aren’t doing enough for your child that you miss out on doing the only thing they really need: providing love.” That goes for breastfeeding, cleaning the home, and every other task moters obsess over.

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I wanted to share a text message I sent to a friend who just became a mother recently, and was having an extremely hard time wrapping her head around breastfeeding:

 

So, to the mother who wasn’t able to breastfeed…

You’re doing just fucking fine.