I think it is important to share my experience to help other mothers out there know they are not alone. It is so easy as a mother to feel guilty for not doing something so many people are saying is the only way to do something. Guilt is a huge hurtle in my journey of being a mother. I constantly have to remind myself that I am a wonderful mother, who loves her children so much, and am doing the best that I can. There is this constant battle inside asking myself if I have done everything I can or are am I doing what is best for my child.
When it came to the topic of breast feeding at all of my craft nights during seminary days, I always cringed and thought it was so yucky. I was the one who said I would never try it and didn’t understand why moms made such a big deal about it. Then when I got pregnant I started to think more and more about it. Two things I remembered from all my girlfriends at seminary, one you loose weight a lot faster because it burns so many calories, and second it is healthier for the baby. I initially thought I would at least give it a go. I have always been a pretty easy going person so I figured I could give it a shot and if it didn’t work at least I tried.
Then we found out we were having twins! Breastfeeding one baby is one thing but two is a whole different story, I thought. I decided I would try it out anyways. I know a woman at church that had twins and breastfed them so I knew it was possible. She had encouraged me to try. I bought all the tools necessary, even the “breast friend pillow” for twins, and figured I would give it a go. I even went to a breast feeding class that Kaiser (our insurance) offered.
Then came the boys, and everything went out the window. You can plan all you want, and I didn’t even plan that much, but when things actually happen its so different. I had a c-section and so my milk didn’t come in right away. I also didn’t get to see Emerson right after he was born due to some breathing issues so he had to be given formula in the meantime. Also, because I was given medicine to slow labor, the boys had high blood sugar and the doctors wanted to give them formula to help regulate their blood sugar. All that to say, things didn’t go as planned.
I wanted to keep trying once I got home and would try every once and a while but we were having to supplement with formula to give them enough. I started pumping to try to increase my milk supply but it wasn’t working very well. Daniel (my husband) was very encouraging and tried to help any way he could but I was getting really frustrated. We ended going to see the lactation consultant at Kaiser to see what we could do to help. After that appointment both Daniel and I decided that it wasn’t going to work and should just decide to stop. The amount of pumping and feeding I would have to do to keep my supply up for both boys was insane and I did not want to be the only one feeding them nearly 20 hours of the day. The friend with twins from church had told me she had dreams of being in a cow pasture and I was starting understand why. All I would be doing is feeding the babies.
Deciding to stop breastfeeding was such a relief. Before I officially made the decision I kept wrestling with myself, asking myself why I couldn’t do it, blaming myself and feeling like a failure. I know moms who have done it and so many say its so important for your child’s health and development. I felt like if I didn’t breastfeed my kids wouldn’t be healthy and it would be all my fault. I really struggled with an overwhelming sense of guilt and failure. I would keep trying to pump and half heartedly attempt to breastfeed but it would just get more and more frustrating. Once I decided to stop, I also decided to come to terms with the fact that it just wasn’t going to work for me. Apart from having two babies to feed and keep up a supply for, breastfeeding is just plain hard. I commend all the moms that do it for any length of time. It isn’t easy and it takes a lot of perseverance.
I had to come to terms with the idea that not breastfeeding my babies didn’t make me any less of a mother or bad mother. Not breastfeeding my babies was the best decision for my family and our current life situation. I am not closed off to breast feeding our next child. I want to try again with that baby. I do believe breast feeding has lots of benefits for both baby and mommy. I was lucky to have no problems loosing my baby weight and people even assume I must be breast feeding since the weight came off so fast. I am also lucky to have two very healthy and happy baby boys. People also assume they are breastfed because they are so chunky and healthy looking. Baby formula has come so far from what it used to be. They have made it so similar to breast milk that it really isn’t that much different.
I want all the other moms out there dealing with the struggles of breastfeeding to know that it doesn’t matter what other moms out there say, you need to make the best decision for your child/children, yourself, and your spouse. You aren’t going to be a bad mother if you just couldn’t handle breastfeeding. It is really hard and sometimes it just isn’t your best option. You have other options, just try to make the best decision for you and your family. Do your research and figure out what will work for your child, your budget, and you. Once you come to terms with your decision and truly feel that you made the best and most informed decision you could, it won’t matter what other moms or people say to you. They aren’t in your shoes and they don’t know what you have been through. After having twins I have realized people like to share their opinions with you even when you don’t want to hear it. I have had to learn when to just nod and move on.