I really admire the many moms out there who persevere through trials of breastfeeding. It is admirable to beat the odds of infections, depression, medication, low milk supply, and other factors. When these things occur, the simple act of feeding our babies from our own bodies becomes a threatened privilage. There are many reason why I want to continue breastfeeding Melody. One of them is the following question:

"If I quit breastfeeding, will my friends still like me?"

There. I said it.

Over the past few months I've become well aquainted with four moms. We all breastfeed. My main reason for wanting to keep nursing is Melody's well-being. The number two reason is close behind -- I want to continue having it in common with my friends. It is a central topic and activity during our times together. I am sad and nervous about loosing this connection. I know people say things like, "If they don't like you because you stop breastfeeding, then they weren't true friends to begin with." Though true, statements like this do not make it easier.

If I stop will they say it's cool, but then talk about me when I'm not there? Why am I insecure about this? Breastfeeding was always a no-brainer for me. Of course I'd do it; it's the best option. Now that I'm faced with a low milk supply, I am dealing with questions I didn't foresee coming my way. I never realized this topic would lead to issues of acceptance, loyalty, fear and possible isolation.


Ellen said...

Well, if they know what crap you've been through, they will probably be amazed that you've lasted as long as you have.

Kim said...

The most important thing is your baby is healthy and happy. I understand you wanted to breastfeed your baby and are sad it is difficult. If these women are so snobbish about breastfeeding, I wouldn't want to be around them. I think Moms are way to hard on themselves and other Moms. It is really no ones business how someone feeds their baby. Best of luck to you!

SonSon said...

My son was born under an emergency C-section where I had to be put under. He had some effects from the anesthetic and didn't latch on well. It was a horrific experience. My husband and I spent hours - literally - trying to get thru one feeding. I was new to breastfeeding and so it was the blind leading the blind. I went to support groups, special sessions with the Le Leche lady etc etc etc. I was so sure I was going to breastfeed and only breastfeed that I knew absolutely zip about formula and bottles etc. After 3 weeks of complete misery I gave in and went to formula. Even then for some time I was miserable, eaten up with guilt for not breastfeeding. In the end though, we were all happier.

My second child breastfed without difficulty and it was the best experience. I loved it.

People have such strong feelings on this issue. I know I did. The thing is, you've really given this your best. When breastfeeding works, it's the best thing ever. When it doesn't, it really sucks. I know with my son, everything revolved around it and I couldn't even enjoy him.

I don't know what your friends will say, but I hope they except your decision if you stop. BreastMILK is best but breastFEEDING isn't ALWAYS best. Especially if it's putting stress on you and your baby. If you need to stop, do it. It's hard but know that you're doing what's best for your baby. Good luck. Sorry for the long post.

Rose said...

When I was a young girl, a teacher told me: "A friend is one who holds your hand, Speaks the language you understand, First to greet you in success, Last to leave you in distress." True friends will understand what you have been through with the low milk supply and pumping. And, anyways, I have been told that at about 6 months the main immunity from the breastmilk begins to decrease. Melody will certainly not be lacking nutritionally from formula. Most formula-fed babies I know are actually heavier than breast-fed ones (which I know is a debate all of its own...) You are a great woman to be pumping at all b/c I know it is hard!

Christine said...

I can tell by your post that you're feeling it's "all or nothing." Before you throw in the towel, get yourself a Lact-Aid. You can continue to breastfeed, and just use this if you need to supplement (you get to STILL breastfeed while supplementing at the same time - it's amazing). It will also boost your milk supply, by having baby at breast.

Adoptive mothers breastfeed their babies with this device, even without making a drop of milk.

You can also try some basic herbs - Fenugreek and Blessed Thistle, or the mediation domperidone (email me for more info and research on these: christinemoers@hotmail.com)

And remember - just two ounces of bmilk a day starts to give your baby all of the nutritional value. Having baby at breast, even with no milk, gives them the chemical balances that reduce stress and adds to the bonding and attachment experience. It also gives them great muscular development in their face that bottle feeding can't match.

So, you don't have to "turn off the faucet" so-to-speak. Your baby is benefiting every time they're at the breast. You don't have to be a super milk-maker!