First let me say that I am not currently breastfeeding. The photos above were taken of my fifth baby who is now three years old.
What I’m about to share with you are some feelings, emotions and guilt that I’ve held on to since she was born. Recently these feelings have sky rocketed due to recent events.
When I started having children eleven years ago, I knew I wanted nothing but the best for my babies. I wanted everything to be as pure and natural as possible for each of them.
One of my main goals was to nurse for at least a full year. I studied, prepared and got all of the supplies I would need to achieve this goal.
With my first daughter, I was able to nurse her for a full year as hoped for. It went so well that I was even more motivated to continue this plan with each of my babies.
I was told the more babies you have the more plentiful your milk supply would be.
I was hoping this would be true for me but slowly I found out that it wasn’t.
When my second child came (my first son) I was so determined to accomplish what I had done for my daughter. Unfortunately I couldn’t. I was only able to nurse him for nine months as I kept getting mastitis and it hindered my supply and my strength.
I tried to keep going, I tried to push myself even through all the pain to give my son what he needed but I failed. I wasn’t producing fast enough for him and he was unhappy.
Here comes my third beautiful baby (my second son) and he was the tiniest little bit. I thought maybe since he was a bit smaller than my first two that he wouldn’t require as much and I could satisfy him easily. I was wrong.
The same thing happened with him as did with my first son. I again got mastitis and had to feed him through the pain and discomfort and it seemed my milk supply was dwindling away. I tried many things including hand pumping more, using oils to heal and lubricate but it still didn’t prolong the nursing.
I was only able to breastfeed him for six months.
Do you see the pattern yet? With every child our bonding nursing experience time got lower and lower. Instead of my milk supply increasing it kept shrinking.
Hello fourth and sweet child, my third precious son. This little guy was our champion fighter. He lost his twin and fought to survive and made it home to us.
With him…it was the same as my first two sons. I did get mastitis and once again had to fight through it all. My sons were just so rough and aggressive when it came to nursing and it tore and cracked my teats which makes it easy for infection to slip in.
I nursed him for four months. This was one of the toughest experiences because we later found out he was malnourished. I think because he struggled more to survive in my womb I tried to really push to nurse him longer. Thankfully we found out early enough where we were able to get him to the healthy size and weight he needed to be.
Finally, here comes our last little baby girl. Yep, we had bookend daughters and I love it! My oldest daughter couldn’t wait for her to arrive so she wouldn’t have to be stuck with all those boys. ☺️
I did not get mastitis with her. It seems only my boys wanted to put their mommy through excruciating pain and misery. 🤦🏽♀️
She was our biggest baby yet and she demanded the most milk of all. I literally couldn’t keep up with her demands. This caused crying sessions for the both of us.
She would suck harder and harder and pull away from me when the milk didn’t flow fast enough. I wanted this to work. I wanted to beat my odds and prayed for a miracle. I wanted to feed my baby girl for two years (yes, I got ambitious).
What did I achieve? I was only able to breastfeed her for three months.
My heart aches so bad…
What was wrong with me? Why couldn’t I give my babies a longer fresh and beautiful start? Why was my milk supply dwindling away?
Are you ready for the confessions now?
I was torn and defeated. From my third child to my fifth I had postpartum depression and felt bitter. I felt like a failure because I let my babies down.
I started to envy other nursing moms who would have an oversupply of milk. I would hear stories of them having to give breast milk to milk banks because they didn’t know what else to do with all of it. I thought
why can’t the mothers who need to produce more milk have that be and those who have an oversupply just have what they need?
I know things don’t work that way but those were my thoughts at the time. I wanted us mothers who needed more milk to just have a little taste of the overflow blessing.
I even thought about trying to get milk from one of those milk banks but was scared to trust it. Times were getting so weird and much more dangerous and I was scared to trust I would get pure mother’s milk for my babies. It would have been great if I knew a trusted person that had extra to give.
I didn’t want to stay in that state of envy and jealousy as I wanted to be happy for those mothers and celebrate with them and their child.
I began to be thankful for the time I did have to nurse my babies. I did have other family members at that same time who also struggled with nursing. Some were not able to nurse at all due to their babies being incubated.
What brought me to write this post was due to recent events surrounding our youngest…our three year old daughter. We are seeing a homeopathic doctor now. When we took her for her appointment the first question he asked was
How long was she breastfed?
She is going through a physical ailment that should have been cleared by now. We’re still waiting to get some testing done but her situation could be due to some backed up bacteria in her system that could have been prevented if I would have nursed her longer.
Now all of those feelings of guilt are haunting me. Through my daughter the importance of nursing is ringing loudly.
A mother’s milk is a protection barrier, a strengthener and a need for her baby. I feel if I would have been able to at least nurse her for six months she wouldn’t be going through this.
Of course my family is telling me not to blame myself and it isn’t my fault but no one can convince me otherwise. It is my fault, I failed to give her the protection she needed and now her little body is vulnerable to the effects and dangers of this toxic world.
So, here I am drowning in tears as we try to get our baby the help she needs. No, it’s not a life or death situation but her quality of life (all of the irritations she’s feeling and dealing with) has been affected.
If only I could go back three years ago…I would keep trying and trying to nurse her longer.