I took some time to write up my story and let you all know why this cause is so important to me. Thank you for welcoming me to this community.
I’m not afraid to admit that I’ve had some issues with post-partum anxiety following the birth of baby Ariya – I still struggle with irrational anxiety from time to time at 8 months post-partum. One of the biggest reasons was because of my ‘failure to provide for my daughter’, AKA struggling, and ultimately deciding not to breastfeed her due to my inability to produce milk at the time of her birth.
She latched immediately after birth, and she latched perfectly. I just didn’t produce milk. The day after Ariya was born, she screamed for hours. Nothing was coming from pumping or self-expressing. I was ashamed to ask for formula in the hospital, but I couldn’t hear her scream anymore – it ripped me apart to hear her in pain. I was faced with some resistance when asking for formula, but I insisted they provide it anyway. I didn’t produce milk for days, despite the continuous attempts to pump.
Every photo I saw of a mother breastfeeding hurt. The Tree of Life photos hurt the worst. This picture was taken our first day home with Ariya and her first bottle of formula. I was broken. I stayed broken. There’s more than one way of providing for your baby, and I only thought of my failure, not the fact that she was FED. She was HAPPY. She was ALIVE.
Who knows what would have happened to her if I continued to exclusively breastfeed? I know now that deciding to give her a bottle was the smartest thing I could have done. What’s not fair about my situation, and plenty of other women’s, is the pain, the judgment, the overwhelming sense of failure that came with having to, and choosing to, give a bottle to my baby.
I know breast milk is the best source of nutrition for babies. I know it forms deeper bonds. I know the benefits of providing for your infant, both for baby and mom. Women should never, EVER make each other feel inferior due to their situations. Breast isn’t always best.
This photo represents my broken spirit, the pain, the disappointment in myself, and the failure I felt in ‘synthetically’ providing for my baby. It also represents the love I have for my child, and the decision to choose what I felt was best for my personal situation. It represents the reflection back on one of the darkest times of my life that shouldn’t have been. I would give my life to Ariya, and now I know I have.
#treeoflife #feedingislove #fedisbest
For more information on how to protect your baby from feeding complications due to early exclusive breastfeeding, please read and download the Fed is Best Feeding Plan, a way to communicate your feeding choices to your health care providers.
In addition, please read and download the Fed is Best Weighing Protocol to prevent newborn dehydration and failure to thrive.
Lastly, for more detailed information, please watch our educational videos on Preventing Feeding Complications.
Our full list of parent resources can be found on our Resource Page.