Breastfeeding does not a mother make

It’s taken me sev­er­al months to get the cour­age to share my feel­ings on this. This is an emo­tion­ally charged top­ic, and of course, when your own feel­ings are involved, it’s even more difficult! 

I was lucky in that I was able to breast­feed my child; he latched eas­ily and was a good eater…initially.

At about 4.5 months, he was just starving. I was feed­ing 11.5 hours, and hon­estly I was exhausted. He needed more cal­or­ies than I could provide. For whatever reas­on, pump­ing was­n’t work­ing well at was as if my body knew that it was­n’t a baby…none of the tricks worked to cause my milk to flow unless the baby was with me. I was­n’t get­ting breaks and he was not get­ting enough. Period.

I made a per­son­al decision to start adding some solids and sup­ple­ment­ing with goat milk for­mula…and it was a really con­flict­ing decision. I felt like I was­n’t provid­ing enough…and I could hear the guidelines “exclus­ive breast­feed­ing until 6 months” in my head.

I felt pretty bad until I real­ized that my baby was thriv­ing!

He star­ted sleep­ing for longer stretches dur­ing the night. He was much hap­pi­er through­out the day. He actu­ally reached for the bottle and was excited for foods! And even more, he pre­ferred the for­mula over the breast­milk. I truth­fully don’t think he felt full and so breast­feed­ing became more of a com­fort around bed­time where he sort of stopped need­ing to breast­feed around 7 months, his choice. He just star­ted refus­ing the breast and it happened naturally.

So, why I am I telling you all of this?

Should vs Need

We have become so obsessed with “should” that we are miss­ing the necessary.

It was neces­sary for me to feed my child more. He’s robust! My ‘little’ man fits in 12 month cloth­ing and is over 22 lbs. He was grow­ing so fast. He already has 6 teeth!

Where is normal?

He does­n’t fit the nor­mal cri­ter­ia, but then neither do I.

A moth­er is a per­son whom: 
  1. Pays atten­tion the needs of her child and responds to them
  2. Feeds them
  3. Clothes them
  4. Provides a safe envir­on­ment for sleep­ing and playing
  5. Allows the child to explore the world and provides reas­sur­ance on their return
  6. Loves them!
If the needs of the child involve breast­feed­ing because it is both pos­sible and the best choice for moth­er and babe, then great. But if breast­feed­ing is not pos­sible or exhaust­ing or not even enough cal­or­ic­ally for the babe, we must applaud and sup­port the moth­er for doing the next best thing for her baby — which may involve for­mula or food or both. Or all three!

Mothers know best

Their intu­ition is key.

Caregivers, give yourselves per­mis­sion to know your child. To do your very best, but hon­estly, listen to what is right for you and for them. That is mothering.

Share this post

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on google
Share on pinterest
Share on email