I’d heard pretty much since starting puberty that breast is best. It’s in movies, books, social media, health class, and even in my own family. So, you can imagine my surprise to be sitting across from a very concerned doctor with a starving infant hearing that my breast milk wasn’t enough.
I wanted to breastfeed because I wanted to do what was absolutely best for my son, no questions asked. But before he was born, the intense pressure to exclusively breast feed was causing anxiety attacks, frequently. I have flat nipples but I was assured breast feeding would be no problem.
Then I had my beautiful baby boy. We immediately had issues with breastfeeding. One lactation consultant slapped my nipple trying to get it to poke out and called the nipple shield a “cheater”. So I didn’t use one after that. We were not allowed to give him a pacifier. It was four days of pure hell in the hospital with both of us crying.
I was told over and over my body would produce enough milk for my baby and to just keep breastfeeding.
We went home and it wasn’t much better. So, every time I held him he’d cry, and then I’d cry because I’d have to feed him. I began dreading my child. No parent should have to dread their child.
I lied to everyone, including my therapist, because I thought that if I told anyone just how badly it was affecting me, they’d call me a terrible mom. I felt like a terrible mom. I genuinely believed my newborn hated me. I had a breakdown in the waiting room of my therapist’s office because she didn’t have any openings for an emergency session. This led me to being diagnosed with postpartum depression.
After about a month of me wanting to kill myself every time I had to feed him and him crying every time I held him, my precious boy had a wellness check-up. The doctor was very concerned because he was only 7 ounces over birth weight. The doctor told me that he was starving. He NEEDED more than I was giving him and my breasts did NOT make enough milk for my baby.
I went out immediately afterwards and tried to by formula. I was completely over whelmed with how to chose formula. In my breastfeeding class they told us we wouldn’t need formula but now I did. It was Christmas time, and there I was crying in the store, feeling like I’d failed my son because my breasts weren’t doing what they were supposed to do, and this stranger helped me pick out and bought me my first can of formula as a Christmas present. I went to my car and cried more. I cried because of her kindness, I cried because of my own failure, I cried because my son started crying his hungry cry and I was conditioned to want to be as far away as I could when I heard it.
It’s not that I didn’t love him through all this, mind you. It was just that I didn’t think he loved me. And I didn’t love myself. I didn’t love myself enough to stop breastfeeding, because I thought that it was selfish and not giving him his best chance in life.
I didn’t love myself enough to stop breastfeeding.
But things got better almost immediately. I was finally able to bond with my child. He wasn’t eating as much, because he was actually getting what he needed. Within two weeks my son was up to a healthy weight, finally. He was actually happy, and he wasn’t crying all the time. He began to show a personality. He liked music.
He’s a year and a half now. 97th percentile in weight and height. Lean and muscular, strong, healthy, and happy. And he LOVES food. He loves his toddler formula and he loved his infant formula. He’s so smart.
I’ve decided that I’m never breastfeeding again. Not because I don’t love my children, but because I do. This experience taught me that the rhetoric isn’t true and now I am thriving too! Being breastfed isn’t what matters most, being fed a healthy, nutritionally complete diet is.
HOW YOU CAN SUPPORT FED IS BEST
There are many ways you can support the mission of the Fed is Best Foundation. Please consider contributing in the following ways:
- Join the Fed is Best Volunteer group to help us reach Obstetric Health Providers to advocate for counseling of new mothers on the importance of safe infant feeding.
- Make a donation to the Fed is Best Foundation. We are using funds from donations to cover the cost of our website, our social media ads, our printing and mailing costs to reach health providers and hospitals. We do not accept donations from breast- or formula-feeding companies and 100% of your donations go toward these operational costs. All the work of the Foundation is achieved via the pro bono and volunteer work of its supporters.
- Share the stories and the message of the Fed is Best Foundation through word-of-mouth, by posting on your social media page and by sending our resources to expectant moms that you know. Share the Fed is Best campaign letter with everyone you know.
- Write a letter to your health providers and hospitals about the Fed is Best Foundation. Write them about feeding complications your child may have experienced.
- Print out our letter to obstetric providers and mail them to your local obstetricians, midwives, family practitioners who provide obstetric care and hospitals.
- Write your local elected officials about what is happening to newborn babies in hospitals and ask for legal protection of newborn babies from underfeeding and of mother’s rights to honest informed consent on the risks of insufficient feeding of breastfed babies.
- Send us your stories. Share with us your successes, your struggles and every thing in between. Every story saves another child from experiencing the same and teaches another mom how to safely feed her baby. Every voice contributes to change.
- Send us messages of support. We work every single day to make infant feeding safe and supportive of every mother and child. Your messages of support keep us all going.
- Shop and Fed is Best Foundation will earn cash back! We hope to develop our online safe infant feeding classes with these funds.
- If you need support, we have a private support group– Join
Thank you so much from the Founders of the Fed is Best Foundation!