Breast feeding is probably one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life for my children. It’s something I can provide for them even after they spent all those months tethered to me in the womb, that keeps that connection alive even after we are no longer physically connected. I nourished them while they grew inside, and now I am blessed to be able to nourish my baby boy from the outside as well. It’s such a beautiful thing. I love being able to do just what God intended for me to, and for him to love nursing so much. I just love it.
But, I am human. And I will admit that there are times where I am completely overwhelmed. I have faced so many challenges while breast feeding with my newest baby. Finding a place to nurse isn’t always easy. Not every establishment has a breast feeding room, or is even breast feeding friendly.Not everyone is a supporter. Not everyone cares enough to allow a mother the opportunity to feed their child wherever, whenever the need arises without raising a stink. And this is so incredibly unfortunate.
I’ve found myself questioning myself time and time again. I even said out loud once in frustration, “Maybe I made a mistake. Maybe I should have just formula fed him,” regarding my youngest son, because he is having some trouble gaining weight as he should. Then, I realize he was born preemie. Of course he’s tiny. Tiny but mighty – and he is gaining weight. Slowly, but surely. And then, after moaning and groaning about my failures a bit, I pull myself together, re-align my train of thought, and get back on my, “I can do this, I am a fighter, I’ve never been a quitter, and I’ve got this!” motivational kick. It usually doesn’t take me too long.
I pumped breastmilk every two hours, day and night, night and day for my NICU preemie. I brought it to the hospital every day for him. I nursed him to a healthy status, and I nursed him to keep his health up – and here we are. I could never turn back now.
Breastfeeding is awesome – but it can also be so difficult. It can bring you to the point of tears when you’re like I am – a perfectionist. I want to be a perfectionist in absolutely everything that I do. I know it’s not possible – but I can’t help it. I do my best, and I go above and beyond for myself, and my kids.
I’ve questioned myself and my breast feeding abilities so many times. I’ve asked myself things like, “is my baby getting enough, or is my supply running low?” I’ve found myself in some crazy engorged, painful situations saying, “Oh my Lord, my boobs feel like they are going to explode!” and leaking all over the place mid-grocery shopping trip. I have found myself cursing at my hand pump because it quite frankly sucks, and I’ve found myself praising the electric pumps I’ve been blessed to have had and have. I find myself always looking for the next best lactation smoothie, cookie, tea and supplement.
In the end, though, the only thing that really matters is this: I am doing my absolute best. I am not perfect, nor will I ever be. I am a great mom who cares about her children more than life, and I am doing my best. Breast feeding, no matter how many times it’s been done before, is always a journey. There are always different situations that will arise that will make me question my abilities. But in the end, I know I am doing all I can – and that’s all I can do.