When I decided that I wanted to breastfeed exclusively, I had no illusions that it was going to be easy because of my previous ‘experience’ with my son… the experience which lasted all of two weeks. This time around, I was armed and ready with lots of information and [rather expensive] tubes of nipple cream, which I started applying a few days before she was born. I did my research and prepared myself as best I could.
My milk came in on the third day and I was sure that we were in for smooth ride. Fast forward to day five and I was ready to give up my nipples for good and stop breastfeeding. My boobs were sooooo sore, so hard and huge [for an honourable member of the A-cup committee]. I did lots of googling, texted friends, phoned a lactation consultant and also visited a nursing sister. I’ve always believed in having options and trust me, options are good to have when your boobs are about to erupt from engorgement.
I have tried everything I can to breastfeed my baby girl as much as possible. On some of the most frustrating days, I reflected on some of the issues we don’t talk about when it comes to breastfeeding. We’re told we must breastfeed and that’s it. Many mothers and medical practitioners present and talk about breastfeeding like it’s the easiest thing in the world…
Like it’s not insanely painful in the first few weeks…
Like you’re doing your child a disservice when you top up with formula…
Like it’s not heartbreaking when your baby is kicking their tiny feet or crying frantically, because your supply isn’t satisfactory.
Just try telling an African Gogo (granny) that you’re not breastfeeding, it will be one of your greatest regrets!!!
Breastfeeding struggles are just not spoken about. In my view, breastfeeding isn’t something that comes easily and naturally to every mother and the last thing we should be doing is putting pressure and laying judgment on one another. It’s one of those subjects mothers should just not squabble over – offer positive support and encouragement to the next mom, or say nothing at all.
Breastmilk is undoubtedly the BEST food that you can provide for your baby, its benefits can and never will be taken away and I am by no means underplaying them. I am pro-breastfeeding and whole-heartedly wish I could breastfeed exclusively, but it has been a struggle for the most part and the process has come with many disheartening and stressful moments, with both of my children and I’m certain this has been the experience of many other mothers too.
It’s been five weeks and I’m still going. Fortunately, my baby girl loves her food, in whatever form it comes in. Currently, my boobies are being used more for inbetween snacks and comfort purposes, than for hours of sustenance and I’m okay with that, because I love the way she looks into my eyes and gurgles with gratitude when she’s filling up on a few drops of the good stuff. I will soldier-on until I run dry.
To the mom that’s having a hard time with the dynamics of breastfeeding, you’re not alone – so many of us struggle. When your heart is in the right place and you keep doing the best you can, it doesn’t matter if you’re breast or formula-feeding, or mixing for that matter. You are still the best mom for your little one ❤️. I would love to hear what your experience was.
Modern Zulu Mom