Confessions of a Nursing Mom: Another Update

I feel like an impostor when I tell someone I breastfeed Charlie because I can’t remember the last time we had a true nursing session. After countless breakdowns on his part (and mine too, who am I kidding?),  I made the decision to just pump and bottle feed.

It’s a dark secret that I don’t want anyone to know about because it screams FAILURE  to me. Regardless of how hard I tried, or how much I wanted it, or how many lactation consultants I saw, nursing did not work for Charlie and me. My limited supply never increased, his tantrums never stopped, and my stress level kept on rising. My husband will tell you how much happier we’ve all been since I stopped trying, but I still can’t shake the feeling that Charlie somehow rejected me.

So I pump. Six times a day. About 25 minutes each time. That’s 2.5 hours a day, 17.5 hours a week, 70 hours a month.

The majority of the time, I don’t mind. I’m proud that I’ve kept it up, happy that I’m still providing milk for Charlie. But sometimes, usually when I’m sleep-deprived and schlepping into the pumping room yet again while work piles up on my desk, I imagine what it would be like to stop. Imagine the freedom!

But I convince myself to hook up to the machine once more. I’m not really sure why – the knowledge that “breast is best?” Fear of facing the crushing guilt and “judgment” from others? My extreme stubbornness? As you can tell, I struggle with feelings of inadequacy, so pumping feels like a checked box on the “Are You A Good Mother?” test that I’m desperately trying to pass.

My mama asked me tonight how long I plan to keep this up.

“I really don’t know” was the most truthful thing I could say.

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3 Responses to Confessions of a Nursing Mom: Another Update

  1. Stacy says:

    You are going to feel guilty no matter what you choose. That’s just a given with motherhood. No matter how hard we try, no matter what we choose or what we do, we convince ourselves that there is someone else out there doing it better. Motherhood is challenging enough without that guilt.

    It does not make you a failure to make changes to the way you raise Charlie. It just means you know how to adapt to a situation that is constantly changing – because they never stop growing or changing.

  2. Tara says:

    You’re not alone! I exclusively pumped for Stella, who never learned to latch, despite multiple lactation consults and a frenulectomy. We never did have a single successful nursing session. I felt all those things you’re describing. We moms beat ourselves up about nursing so much. Mom-guilt sucks. You’re doing a great job!

  3. Lisa says:

    It’s so silly to see the pressure we put on ourselves. Your feelings are not silly. Other moms who go through this are not silly. Here are women who work so hard to measure themselves against…who knows what! Don’t you wish rationale could win just once and we could all relax that what we’re doing is good, genuinely great… because it is, and you are.

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