Hey momma bear,
I want to tell you something today - because I know it's hard for you and I want to make it a little bit less hard. It's not your fault that you can't nurse your child. Don't listen to the haters, the people who tell you if you just did this, or just did that, you would have made it. Nursing's a beast. It's like trying to dig a hole to China, finding the answer to world peace, and building a skyscraper all wrapped into one. It's hard and difficult and there's no one perfect answer or way to do it.
I know the lactation consultants told you that if you just worked on baby's latch a little bit more it would have worked. Or maybe they told you if you would have pumped after baby ate, or not slept on your stomach, or if you had just eaten the right cookies, taken the right pills and drank the right tea - you could have made it to the so called "finish line."
A lot of the "advocates" like to say that it's okay if you had a medical issue and were not able to nurse. You get a free pass. But what about the rest of us? Those of us that have no doctor's note to say "why" it didn't work. What about those of us who look back every day and wonder what it was that made it not work? Was it because you introduced the pacifier too early? Was it because you didn't wake up when baby first slept through the night to pump? Was it because you got the flu that one time and didn't drag yourself out of bed to pump as often as you should have? Was it because you didn't try hard enough, long enough, often enough? Was it because you were not woman enough?
I know they're just trying to be helpful, to help problem solve, but really, it's just creating problems in your heart.
Here's what you really need to know: It's. Not. Your. Fault. If you even tried to nurse your baby one time - you are a breastfeeding success story. You're super mom. You are THE BEST mom. And don't let anyone make you feel different. And you know what? Even if you did go straight to formula: WHO FREAKIN' CARES? We momma's should not be defined by how we feed our children. It is wrong and mean and terrible that these days, our worth as mommas is found in FOOD. (We women have enough problems with that topic already.)
So tell me, please someone tell me. Will my formula fed son grow up to be less of a man than his fellow breastfed peers? Will he be dumber, uglier, meaner and less talented? I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that answer is a big, fat, NO. And I'm pretty sure you agree with me. So please, stop listening to those who make you feel bad. Stop feeling guilty. Stop wondering why. Stop kicking yourself for thinking you screwed something up and now it's your fault that you can't nurse your child.
The reasons why you can't or don't breastfeed don't matter. It's no one's business but yours. You're mom and you're doing what's best for your baby, simply by loving them and raising them to know what is right. What is true. What is lovely. What is honorable. You're raising a soul, and what matters is not what you feed your baby's belly, but what you feed their heart.
So chin up, my friend. My fellow warrior. We mommas are in war - but not for the reasons people think. It's not about what we put in our children's mouths, but about what we put in their hearts. So whip out that canister of formula proudly, because you know - YOU KNOW - that's not what matters.
Wipe away that regret and shed your shame. The breastfeeding guilt is not worthy of your time. Walk free and know that no matter how you feed your baby, breast or bottle, you are a success. Tune out anyone who makes you feel guilty and tune in to those who are cheering you on in this battle.
As a momma who's been on all the sides - breastfeeding, supplementing and formula feeding, listen to me: You are not a failure. You are a success. And don't let anyone tell you differently.
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And if you're interested, here are some related posts on breastfeeding: