"But as for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more. My mouth will tell of your righteousness, of your salvation all day long, though I know not its measure." Psalm 71:14-15

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

I'm so glad I didn't quit

I'm so glad that I didn't give up on breastfeeding. I still don't have a full supply, and Levi takes a supplemental formula bottle after most feedings. I still have to pump AND wash bottles (the most inconvenient parts of each type of feeding). But I'm still glad I didn't quit.

The time I have with Levi when he is breastfeeding is so precious. I love it. It's time that I have him and no one else can give him what I give him. Yes, it comes with it's challenges. Yes, he gets distracted and goes through phases of "playing" with his food that doesn't feel very good. But each phase of difficulty has passed and it's still enjoyable most of the time.

I wish more people would embrace that feeding doesn't have to be one or the other. Breast is definitely best, but when it doesn't work out as a full-time option, I wish that more moms felt ok about doing it part-time. I think the reason that women feel they have to give it up altogether if they can't do it full-time is absolutely the fault of the breastfeeding advocacy community. I've always been a HUGE breastfeeding advocate, and a bit snobish about it (remember). But I think this is where the breastfeeding community gets in its own way. There is so much pressure to breastfeed, that every other form or combination of feeding is shunned. Even with as hard as I tried to make full-time breastfeeding work, knowing that I have NOTHING to be ashamed of, I would still never pull out a formula bottle at a Le Leche League meeting for fear of being burned at the stake. I think that's incredibly unfortunate. Imagine how many more babies could be getting good milk from their mommies, if only their mommies felt ok about breastfeeding part-time!

No, I can't breastfeed exclusively. I deal with feelings of inadequacy and failure almost daily. And I have a hard time referring to myself as a breastfeeding mom without adding, "but I don't make enough milk, so I have to give him a bottle too." I wish none of these things were true. But I keep reminding myself that what he gets from me, no matter how little, is still good for him. And that if I were more narrow-minded about feeding Levi (breast or bottle, one or the other), that I would be missing out on a wonderful experience with my son. I hope that by sharing our journey that more advocates will open their minds and hearts when talking about breastfeeding to moms and moms-to-be. And I hope those who have had similar experiences are encouraged to do what feels right to them, no matter the pressures around them. But remember, feeding is not an all-or-nothing thing. You can do BOTH.

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