With the arrival of baby number two happening around the same time as Santa, I am starting both my Christmas shopping and my planning for the little bundle of joy. I know that I want to go straight to the crib like I did last time. I don’t want to even entertain the idea of cloth diapers. I am making a list of the few items I need to replace. And I am getting on nursery waiting lists. However, one of the things that I am most unsure about is the big fat “b” word. Breastfeeding.
I had such a terrible experience trying to breastfeed the first time, and then had to stop because of a weight scare, that I know what it is like to leave the hospital on the bottle. Knowing that, I am torn between attempting to breastfeed again and not even trying. I am sure I am being shunned right now by the La Leche League for even considering it. I know all the medical stats on what is good for baby, what is good for mom, yada yada.
But really, it boils down to what is good for me and the situation with my baby.
Depending on the day and the mood is how I feel about it.
On one hand, I do feel like I missed out on one of the motherly things that you are supposed to do. I am supposed to be able to feed my child, and here is my second chance at it, right? Just because it was awful the first time does not mean that it will be just as terrible the second time. As of today, I have an “F” in breastfeeding on my motherhood report card. This is my chance at it again.
Positive thinking, positive results, right?
But then on those other days, I keep thinking about how awful it felt like to not be able to feed my child. She was crying, I was crying, and I was just all around awful. Plus, don’t get me started on the emotional trauma of the take out spoon. Plus, my hubby loved the fact that he got to help with the feedings. He felt like he was a part of the team and not excluded because I was the only one who could feed our baby. Should I just expect that it is going to be horrible because it was last time and skip the attempt all together? Should I save the tears and savor the experience of welcoming our newest family member in to the world?
I wish I was more decisive about this because I feel like I need a plan. When you check in to the hospital, they ask you if you intend to breastfeed. At the moment, my answer would be something like, depends on if the baby wants to. Is that a real answer?
Do I buy a breast pump? Do I skip the pump and just buy the newborn bottle nipples? Ugh, decisions, decisions. I am not sure I can make a decision on something that I can’t even form an opinion on.
In my box of maternity clothes that I dragged out of the attic, much earlier in the pregnancy this time than last time mind you, I have several unused, unworn nursing bras and cute little tanks. Everyone insisted when I was pregnant with Annelise that they would be a life saver. Instead they ended up being a giant waste of money that reminded me that I failed at it. But this pregnancy when I unpacked that box and took out all of my maternity clothes to wash them for their continual use for the next several months, I left the bras in the box. I felt defeated even looking at them. I didn’t feel excited that I could overcome that bad taste that breastfeeding left in my mouth; I felt intimidated by it. But that is just silly. How can a piece of fabric intimidate me?
I say do whatever is going to cause YOU the least amount of stress and the most enjoyment. You deserve nothing but happiness once baby gets here, and while we all know there will be ups and downs, if you’re too worried / scared to try again, so be it! That said, if you do choose to try again, chances are good that you will succeed because you have so many resources at your fingertips and also know what didn’t go so well the first time. No need to decide now either – I wasn’t planning to breastfeed #1 until week 38 and now I am addicted to it, have nursed 3 babies and already sad about when #3 will stop. We women are complicated!
Nursing my second one has been much better than the first go round. I still am not that mom that enjoys it and I still don’t make enough and I don’t know how much longer I will go. My best friend didn’t nurse either of her kids, and more power to her. To each their own, I agree with Ashley that you should do whatever makes YOU happy.
LLL meetings are actually a great place to visit when you’re pregnant. You could just come and listen or, if it felt right, you could talk about your experience the first time and ask the questions you have for this time. Another option would be to set up an apptmt. with a lactation consultant (at your delivering hospital) during your pregnancy and talk through your first time experience and get strategies to try this time so that it’s a better experience. Knowledge is power!
I totally understand! My first self-weaned at 4 months old, which meant she would straight up refuse to nurse. I remember the tears, the rejection, all of the emotions that come with “failing”. But you know what, we didn’t fail! Things didn’t work, and that’s okay. If you want to try again, I commend you, and I’m pretty confident that things will be better now that the whole mothering experience isn’t new. Either way, you’ve got my support.
Why should mothers who don’t breastfeed feel like failures? I didn’t breastfeed either of my children, and they are both healthy, happy, active college students. Giving them a bottle didn’t harm them in any way. Do what makes you comfortable and happy, and your baby will be fine. Don’t feel pressured to breastfeed by others so they can think you are a “good” mom. A good mom is determined by how much she loves her child, not how she feeds them.