When I read what this week's Theme Thursday topic was about, I really balked at the idea of participating. Breastfeeding. This subject in more controversial than drinking and smoking during pregnancy. I knew there would be judgement and ridicule But then I thought, oh, what the hell. Like that has stopped me before.
The moment I announced I was pregnant, three questions were posed to me. 1) When are you due? 2) Will you find out/do you know what you are having? 3) Do you plan to breastfeed? Questions by complete strangers, no less. Okay, I can understand questions 1 and 2. People are just simply excited for you. But, my plan to breastfeed certainly isn't public knowledge and is really nobody's business but mine and my partner's. Everyone wants to know if you are doing it and if you aren't, why not? You are frowned upon for even thinking of not doing it. I never really gave anyone a definite answer. I always told people, "I'm certainly going to try.".
And try I did. I tried. I really did. But the truth of the matter is, breastfeeding was not for me. It was unnatural. I know, GASP! How could I say that? It's the most natural thing in the world. No, it's not. I wasn't a fan from day one and neither was my son. He looked at my breasts with hatred. He refused to latch on and I refused to keep making him. So, I pumped. Talk about unnatural. But in all honesty, connecting to a machine was so much easier than being fondled by nurses and lactation specialists and literally forcing my child to take something he didn't want. Sure, when he did latch on, the whole three times, a level of bonding did occur, for a split second, but then I felt violated. I never wanted to breastfeed. It was something that always made me uncomfortable. I knew I would never be the type of mom that could just whip it out in public like it was no big deal. That topic in itself is so much more than I even want to touch on.
Bubba Joe's arrival into this world was traumatic for both of us. I saw him for a mere 5 seconds before he was whisked away to the NICU. As I lied there bleeding out, he was getting his first meal of Similac, OUT OF A BOTTLE. His first 24 hours were rough for him. He was a month early and although a good weight, he could not maintain his blood sugar, his body temperature, and he was anemic. I wasn't even allowed to try and nurse him until day 3. In the meantime, lactation specialists and nurses, forced my breasts into industrial sized pumps to stimulate them to produce milk. When I would pump out just 5-10 milliliters, they would run it down to the NICU. It was sad and depressing and I felt like a failure.
My son was in the NICU for 6 days. I visited him everyday and sat at his crib side for hours. I would would over hear other new moms complaining about how much their breasts hurt and how much milk they were producing. I had none. Even after we returned home, I was only pumping 30 milliliters per day. The rest of the time, he was taking formula and he took it like a champ. After 4 weeks of bleeding nipples and little to no milk production, I gave up.
The moment I packed up that Medela, I cracked open a Modelo and silently toasted myself. The choice to formula feed my child was the best choice I made for me and my son. That's where I want to be clear. Breastfeeding is a choice. Nobody and I mean nobody should dictate nor bully you into doing something that you do not want to do. Not your husband, not your doctor, and certainly not the hospital where you deliver.
If it is going to be their choice to remove formula from hospitals, then it will be my choice to pack it in my hospital bag.
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