My daughter was born last week on March 14th, which is why I haven't posted anything in more than a week.
With every baby, I have struggled to breastfeed. I am a perfectionist. I am an avid reader. I know all the facts about how nutritious breastfeeding is and how it's so good for both baby and mom. I know it's supposed to be the best way to feed your baby.
But I hate it.
It's painful. It's stressful. It gives me anxiety. I worry about how much they're getting because they seem to always be hungry. It takes all my effort and energy. I don't have time to eat or sleep or even use the restroom. I'm in such terrible pain that I can't stand having my other kids within two feet of me. I'm a grouch and I hate my life.
Yet because I'm a perfectionist, I feel like a massive failure if I don't breastfeed.
My baby is one week and one day old. On day five, I was a total wreck. I was experiencing a postpartum hemorrhage. The breastfeeding was not going well. I was in terrible pain. I had to go back to the hospital and spent the day in the ER, trying to nurse my baby with an i.v. in the crook of my elbow. It was complete misery. In between feedings, which only lasts about forty-five minutes to an hour, I was pumping because the engorgement was so painful.
After sobbing to my husband for about an hour that night, in the middle of the night, I decided that I just can't do it. It's too hard.
So now I'm pumping every few feedings and giving formula when there isn't breastmilk to give. My milk supply is diminishing. I am going to bottlefeed and my baby is only one week old. I feel like a bad mom.
But at the same time, I feel relief. I am not as stressed out. I am not dealing with massive anxiety and panic attacks. I am in less pain. I even feel somewhat happy.
I wish I could find a way to bottlefeed without feeling guilty, without feeling like a bad mom, without feeling like others are judging me. I did try. Probably not as hard as I should have. Probably not as hard as others do. But I had to weigh the pros and cons.
I want to enjoy my baby, not loathe her. She will be okay. I have bottle fed five other babies after trying breastfeeding for various lengths of time, from two weeks to four months, and they have all turned out healthy and smart. I know it's not the end of the world.
Yet somehow, it feels like it is in some ways.
This is my struggle.