If I’m being honest, I went into breastfeeding this time with a poor attitude. I just 100% figured it wouldn’t work, because I’d never had success with it. Madeline was born too early to feed directly from my breast, and Annabel had a terrible latch that even a lactation consultant couldn’t fix. With both girls I’d also had supply issues, and with Annabel I really needed medication for my postpartum anxiety. They both had pumped milk and formula from a bottle, and even though I had tons of guilt about it, it was fine. Annabel is strong and healthy and smart and I’m pretty sure she’s not scarred for life because she had formula as a baby.
James, however, is not his sisters (that’s the first of what will definitely be many times I write that). He latched on immediately. The nurses said his latch was great. He fed confidently from the get-go and my milk came in before I left the hospital. It was all working perfectly, and I was completely taken by surprise. My plan all along was to give breastfeeding a try, and then switch to formula when the breastfeeding failed. I’d even bought the bottles already.
I changed my attitude about it quickly and have been going all-in on this breastfeeding thing. But it’s been hard. James’ great latch at the hospital wasn’t so perfect when we got home, and I have some…wounds…that we’re having to nurse through (his latch has been corrected). I am exhausted. I’ve never been the only one that could feed one of our babies, and not getting a break so far has been hard for me to deal with on top of my slow recovery.
A couple nights ago, when I was crying through some slowly-healing nipples and painful engorgement, I started to seriously doubt I could do this. It had been a hard nine months and I just wanted a break. I didn’t want to hurt every two hours. Mike told me he supported me no matter what, which was tremendously helpful. But, I pushed through. It hasn’t really gotten better, but it hasn’t gotten worse. I’ve spent hours reading breastfeeding literature, I know breastfeeding is difficult at first, and I haven’t put myself through the thirteen days of this to quit now.
If I’m being honest again, I do miss formula. James will definitely have it, because at some point very soon I am going to physically require sleeping more than ninety minutes at a time. I’m going to keep plugging away at this, googling at-home nipple repair remedies and chasing down lactation consultants. I’m curious to see how much weight he’s gained in two weeks on only breast milk. But what I have to keep reminding myself is: this is what’s working for us now. Who knows what will work for us tomorrow? I have to go easy on myself and remember that the most important thing is James is fed and loved, and he’s always going to be.