All of my close friends know I’m an open book. I tell anyone and everyone my most embarrassing stories. The reason: I’m not ashamed of anything I’ve ever done. That’s not to say I haven’t made mistakes. In fact, I’ve made many. I just know how to learn from my trials and tribulations and find humor in just about everything…. until now.
As a new mom, I’m trying to figure it all out, taking each new day as it comes. I want the absolute best for Olivia and I want to make sure that Steve and I provide her with everything she needs to grow up to be healthy and happy. But when it came to breastfeeding… I feel like I’ve failed her.
In the beginning, I had the a lot of new moms face—problems latching, pain, cracking, the worry I wasn’t producing enough, etc. But after meeting with 2 lactation consultants.. finding new positions and some more practice, we found our groove. All of those uncomfortable days and nights were bearable, because at least I knew she was thriving.
The real problem started when I tried to pump. Almost nothing would come out. 2 oz. was a celebration! And trust me, we tried every trick in the book… the lactation cookies, Mother’s Milk Tea, hospital-grade pump. Yes. Yes. Yes. We tried it all.
Week 13: I needed to travel for work and without any stored milk to feed her, we had to start supplementing Olivia’s feedings with formula. You probably already know how this story ends. After about 2 weeks, my supply started to diminish.
The guilt and shame I felt (and sometimes still do) was unbearable. Me, the “you can’t offend me/nothing is sacred” kind of person, suddenly turned into an insecure new mommy.
It wasn’t until I to share my struggles with close friends and my Mommy and Me group (shoutout to all the girls in my group!), that I felt support. I realized I wasn’t alone. I was so grateful that other women were sharing their stories, too.
Here’s the thing, when I was pregnant, I read lots of books and articles about how “breast is best,” and I get it. It is! Breastfeeding is awesome and I loved those quiet bonding moments with Olivia. I miss them dearly. I am jealous of women who are able to do it for longer. Unfortunately, I just wasn’t one of them.
At first when I sat down to write this, I thought I had a point to my story. Now, I realize, I don’t. I guess I just want to share my journey in case there is anyone out there struggling. I want you to know, you aren’t alone. In case there is a new Mom who feels guilty because she too had to go back to work and feels ashamed because she couldn’t pump. Girl, I get it. I got your back.
At the end of the day, ladies…. we are all just doing our best. Let’s just try and support one another. There is nothing better than another Mom’s shoulder to lean on when you need it most.