You've been pumping, struggling, hurting, going without sleep for days now, even weeks. What's the point? Giving up your dream of breastfeeding is starting to look very appealing...
You're fighting for your baby's brain. Without breastmilk, your baby's brain won't develop as well. He may be very bright even with formula-feeding, but he won't be quite as bright as he would have been. And if he's not destined to be brilliant, losing those few IQ points through formula-feeding will be all the greater a loss to him.
You're fighting for your baby's health. The more fragile your baby is, the more she needs your milk. A premature baby faces serious battles just because she was early. Your milk gives her tools to work with, and keeps her food from being yet another serious - even life-threatening - battle. A full-term baby's risk of many, many problems, from diabetes to SIDS to obesity, rises with the use of formula. Your hard work now is a very short-term investment in your baby's lifelong health.
You're fighting for one of the best relationships of your whole life. There's no way to match a breastfeeding relationship with bottle-feeding. Not for you, not for your baby. You're fighting for the day when that easy, close, joyful relationship can blossom for both of you.
You're paying the dues to become one of these mothers:
"I thought the pumping and bottle-washing would go on forever. But my baby is eighteen months old now, and we've been nursing happily for fifteen of those eighteen months."
"My child's breastfeeding problems turned out to be an early symptom of other problems. His speech therapist says nursing him was the best thing I could have done. I am so glad I did it!"
"Breastfeeding just wasn't to be. That didn't mean my baby had to suffer. I pumped my milk for him for his first six months. That was my gift to him, and I'll always be proud of what I did."
"I thought I just couldn't take it anymore. But I decided to keep pumping while we switched to formula, just in case. It's a good thing, too, because she was wretched with formulas. Since I was still pumping, I could go right back to the food that was keeping her healthy, even though it was back to the old grind. And now we're just nursing, and it's s-o-o-o easy!"
"I started to resent the pump, my partner, my family - everything. But I wasn't going to quit before three months. And at 2 1/2 months, everything started to fall into place."
"I've done bottle-feeding, and I've done breastfeeding. I'll always feel bad that I'm not as close to my bottle-fed child as I am to my breastfed ones. That's not something I'll admit to most people - that there's a difference. But there is."
"Am I glad I stuck
with it? Oh, yes!"
©2008 Diane Wiessinger, MS, IBCLC www.normalfed.com