We NEED to stop shaming mothers who are not able to breastfeed. This morning I gave my 7 week old son his last bottle of breast milk. I’m not happy that I have had to switch to formula, but it is the right decision for me and my family. I successfully breastfed 2 children until they were each 13 months. I would consider myself a pro and yet my third child was having great difficulty. I consulted a pediatrician and lactation consultant and I pumped religiously for five weeks while I tried to work through the issues. I cried a lot. I felt shameful. I was so focused on figuring it out and pumping that I lost sight of the main goal of breastfeeding, which is to give the baby nourishment. It shouldn’t have been about me and my ego. Had my son been born last century, he may not have made it. Failure to thrive.

I met with a friend today and she confided that she, too, is having difficulty breastfeeding, trying the same things as me and she, too, felt shame in not being able to give her child the best nourishment. We talked about this article that we both read last week.

http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/08/11/429392544/im-an-obstetrician-and-i-failed-at-breastfeeding

Initially when I saw the article, I screamed ‘YES! She gets it!’ and I wanted to write a blog post about it, but then I thought that it isn’t really anybody’s business how I nourish my baby. But the next day I went in for my six week post partum appointment, and there I was staring at a poster on the wall that brought all of my feelings and insecurities right back. It said breastfeeding is instinct, it is natural, it is easy, it is beneficial to both mom and baby, it is Best. Yes, I believe it is best, but it is also unrealistic for some women. Seeing my friend today made me realize that many of us carry this shame and even guilt and it needs to stop. The last thing anyone needs, while they are hormonal and sleep deprived with a hungry baby, is judgment from others that what they’re feeding their child is inadequate. I don’t feel shame anymore. My baby is growing and thriving and I have two hours each day of my life back, now that I am not pumping. So, to all the Moms out there who struggled to give your child the Best, but had to settle for the bottle, I salute you, don’t beat yourself up about it, you are a great Mom in my book.

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