Your body is made to fit their needs perfectly.
By Sarah, IFM Cofounder
Whether they are fed for a day or a year with breastmilk,
whatever you can provide them is a huge gift.
Your body has made milk to fit their needs perfectly—how awesome is that!
I was young—-just 24 and 26 when my boys were born! I was working full time overnights in the Neonatal ICU, so I had lots of tips and tricks for breastfeeding.
With my oldest, it was great—easy even. Of course there were cracked nipples, jaundice, baby blues—but the bonding, snuggling and joy of feeding the baby that my husband and I made was insurmountable! Then it was time to go back to work. He was 9 weeks old and had only had a bottle once. On my first night back to work, it took 8 hours of fussing and crying inconsolably, until he gave in and finally decided to take a bottle! . We all survived! It wasn’t long after that my milk supply decreased. He had to be supplemented with formula from 3 months then fully transitioned at 6 months.
My second boy’s delivery was scary and complicated, but he came out feisty!. He was small, and as a true NICU nurse I was afraid that he would get cold and his blood sugar would drop, so he slept that first night on my chest—-hs tiny body tucked into my bra. After being at home a few days I felt like I had been hit by a truck: body aches, fever, clogged duct. Mastitis was no fun! After the mastitis passed I was unable to produce more than 1 oz on one side, so the other side compensated. Once again, when I went back to work when he was about 5 months old my milk dried up fast and he transitioned easily to formula.
Fortunately working breastfeeding moms legally have more breaks these days, and their coworkers are much more supportive. When I returned to work after each maternity leave, there was a lot of guilt for leaving my patient’s bedside. There were also some raised eyebrows at the fact that I was taking ANOTHER 20min break. All of this combined with an old, hand-me-down pump and I was unable to provide breast milk for long. I am grateful that now new moms get a brand new pump, and lots of support these days!
Both of my kids are super smart, crazy, athletic, and growing like weeds. I never have felt guilt over not being able to provide breast milk to the “recommended age.” The boys have never said “mom it’s your fault cuz you didn’t nurse me longer!” No matter what life has given us we have always been able to feed our kids, (and eat pretty well ourselves) and for that I am thankful.
I enjoyed breastfeeding, but it was so hard at times! When I was not making enough for them, the experience became frustrating to me and VERY frustrating to them. I recognized that formula was invented for a reason. After all, it wasn’t the year 1898 with wet nurses readily available!
Whether they are fed for a day or a year with breastmilk, whatever you can provide them is a huge gift. Your body has made milk to fit their needs perfectly—how awesome is that!