i have had this typed out for weeks now. but i have been hesitant to share my story because i was unsure what kind of judgement and criticism i would be opening myself up to. but yet, i could never bring myself to delete it. one day as i was reading through this for the umpteenth time i realized that the reason that i am scared to share this, is the exact reason why i need to. because i know that when i was going through my hardest days, i would have wanted to know that there is someone else out there, if only one person, that was feeling the way i was, or has felt this. i would have wanted to know that it's ok, normal, and even healthy.
so this is what i'm doing, i'm being that person to say it's ok, i understand and here is why.
so i'll just say it.
i bottle feed my baby
i have since he was about 2 weeks old
i know what some of you are thinking, i know it because i have already had those conversations
you know. the ones that begin with "so how is breastfeeding going?"
followed by "oh, i'm not"
then abruptly ending with "oh... i see"
before i go any further i am going to go way back to when willem was born, and we were still in the hospital.
from the first moments willem ate very well. he latched on right away, and ate, and ate, and ate. ate so much that my milk came in while we were still in the hospital. and pain? there wasn't any. there was obviously a bit of tenderness from him sucking on me 24/7, but it wasn't anything that lanolin cream couldn't tackle. it all came very easily to my body, just not so much my mind and emotions, but we will get to that.
so night two, it's 3 am, i am up feeding willem, when a nurse comes in to inform me that my peace and quiet is going to be disrupted by another women coming in to be my new roommate for the remainder of the time that we are there. ok, so that may not have been exactly what she said, but that's what i heard.
she then curtained everything off around me, and moments later she came. you know, she didn't know that i was awake behind this curtain but if i wasn't before, i sure was now. they talked way too much, and used every form of the word sweetie i think i have ever heard, plus a few more. it was exhausting.
to top all this off they had a problem. their new baby girl wouldn't latch. from what i heard they tried and tried the entire time she was in the labor and delivery room, and they continued to try for an hour after they brought her into our room. there was lots of crying, frustration, and self deprecating comments, followed up with reassuring comments complete with more then enough sweeties. it was a long night for all of us.
morning came and nothing changed, baby still wouldn't eat, still lots of crying, it just didn't end. meanwhile my little guy was eating like a champ. eventually a nurse came in and said something needed to be done, because the baby needed to eat. formula was given as an option along with pumping, then they were left alone to discuss what they wanted to do, they chose to pump because something about formula being poison. anyway, she tried to pump, no go. she was too sore from all the failed attempts at getting her baby to latch and she was unable to get enough out to feed her girl.
that's all that i know, we were discharged around this time, and set free to begin our life as a little family of three.
so fast forward to the end of week one. it was great. really it was. we were so happy with our little boy, and feeling so blessed to have him. but it was tough, dennis was just finishing up classes, and with that came a lot of work and focus on other places other then us, and our new baby. i knew that he needed to focus on his studies, but it was still hard.
thank goodness for my mother in these early days.
now week two. we were still over joyed with him, and we could just sit and watch him for hours. babies are pretty much like camp fires aren't they? but i was starting to feel a few other things. sleep deprived. sore. stressed. and most of all, alone. even thought i had such a great support system around me, i couldn't help but feel totally alone. i felt like i was living each moment until dennis got home in the evening, and then when he did, i would cry. not even really knowing why, i just cried. so dennis, not ever really knowing what to do with me when i cry anyway, knew that something wasn't right, and told me to call my mom. so i did. and she came.
the next day as i was feeding willem and talking my thoughts and feelings through with her, she stopped me and ask me this: "how is breastfeeding?"
i thought about it, really thought about it because it had never occurred to me that i could feel anything about it, and you know what. i hated it.
like a light bulb suddenly being turned on, everything made sense.
i hated feeling like everything was 100% my responsibility when it was a 50/50 effort that made this child. feeling like all i had become was a milk making factory because i had to feed him every three hours, but with him taking almost and hour to eat that left no time to be able to do anything. constantly stressing about whether or not he was getting enough to eat. and more, but i think you get the point. but the major thing was i just wasn't bonding with my baby. i wasn't able to relax and find any kind of joy in breastfeeding. i told myself that it would get easier, and that i just had to wait it out. but the longer i let those feeling go on the worse they got, simply because it just didn't get better.
that evening, we went out to the grocery store, stared at that huge aisle of the hundred different kinds of formula, made our pick then went home.
and that night i slept. slept for 3 hours, and it was the most glorious 3 hours i had ever known.
from there dennis was able to help out with some feedings, as we started weening willem to the bottle.
it took me a while to completely come to terms with it. i know a few people who are unable to have children, and would give anything to have the opportunity to breastfeed their own baby, and i had a first hand experience while in the hospital of hearing a women who wanted so badly to be able to breastfeed her baby, but just couldn't. and now here i am, totally capable, but what was my reason? that i just didn't want to?
eventually i came to the realization (and hearing it from my mom countless times) that the most important thing i can do for my child, is to keep myself happy, healthy, and confident.
looking back i know 100% that if i had continued breastfeeding, knowing how it affected me but choosing to do it any just because i thought that is what i needed to do, i would have gone down, down quickly. and i don't know how long it would have taken me to come back up.
so we bottle feed our boy
and i love it.
i love that i can look at him, and see him looking right back at me with his big blue eyes. i love that i can cradle him in my arms as he rests his head on me. i love that i can smell his precious little baby smell, and kiss his little head because it is just so close, and not half way down my body.
but most of all i love that i am able to love my boy with all that i have to give him, free of all the anxiety and worry that breastfeeding brought with it.
this is where we are at today.
and i wouldn't have it any other way
so this, this is why i did, what i now do.