When our daughter was born I had a goal of breastfeeding for 6 months. I really wasn’t sure what to expect or how our breastfeeding relationship would go. Around 6 months I decided I wanted to keep going because I enjoyed it, my daughter was thriving and I didn’t really like the alternatives available. However, shortly after I became discouraged and I wanted to quit. My daughter never took a bottle. No matter what we did or what bottle we used she refused. Trust me we tried almost everything! Read more about my love/hate relationship with nursing my daughter.
Looking back I’m glad I nursed her until she was 13 months old, but in the midst I was discouraged and frustrated. If I’m being honest I didn’t ALWAYS want to be the one who had to feed her. I felt like I could never leave her for longer than a few hours. I felt worn out.
Now that our son is here I ideally want to nurse him until he is a year old as well. This time around I’ve faced some challenges, but I’ve also enjoyed it so much more! See the bottle saved my breastfeeding relationship. I wish I could tell you exactly what the difference is this time around, but there are too many factors. My son doesn’t seem as picky as my daughter and he will take a bottle easily.
One noticeable difference is our consistency with the bottle. We give him a bottle more frequently than we gave it to our daughter. My husband is no longer in residency and working 80+ hours a week so he is around more often to give IJ a bottle. We started the bottle when IJ was about 3 weeks old and he gets it about 2 times a week.
I really didn’t think his ability to take a bottle would make a big difference in my parenting, but it truly does! I feel so refreshed getting a break every so often. I also don’t worry as much when I am leaving him and we are able to go out on more date nights. Now mama you may be thinking, but my child hates the bottle what am I to do? If you try everything and nothing seems to work you may just need to wait this season of life out. Looking back that year went by so quickly with my daughter. At points it seemed like forever and as if she would never wean, but it happened. She went straight to using a straw cup and I am actually grateful for the year of breastfeeding. I may not have lasted that long if it weren’t for her bottle stubbornness.
Another valuable lesson I learned through breastfeeding is that it will get better.
I really think this is important for new moms to understand. Our culture makes breastfeeding seem “natural” and “easy,” but that is not always the case. There were times with both of our kids where I thought “I can’t do this anymore. I want to stop.” This happened in the beginning and in the middle of our breastfeeding journey. Even when you think you get the hang of it all, something can happen and throw off your routine.
If you are a better mom by stopping, then by all means stop and don’t feel guilty about it! But if you can hang on just a little bit longer, it may get better. Don’t be afraid to reach out to other moms, your doctor or a lactation consultant. My support system throughout this journey has been key. My husband has a very calm personality and this helps me when I have my dramatic freak out moments.
How has your breastfeeding relationship gone?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!