My Breastfeeding Heartache

August 7, 2015

"Breast milk is best for babies"

I had my heart set on breastfeeding even before I was pregnant. I was surrounded with friends and relatives who have successfully and exclusively breastfed their babies for six months or even way longer than that. I was very excited to start breastfeeding, I joined support groups and learned from the experts as much as I can about breastfeeding my baby. I was committed and set that goal to myself until the day came and I realized that I cannot do it.

Breastfeeding is not an easy feat. 

I was successfully doing it at first. I never doubted my milk supply. I continued latching Arya for a few days even my nipples were sore, chaffed, and even bleeding. But when did it became so unbearable? I remember waking up at night to the sound of her cries, my eyes were so heavy, my body is still sore from labor, and my stitches were aching. I could not pull my shirt up to feed her. The horror and pain of her sucking my nipples scared me, I just couldn't take it anymore. The toe curling and twinging pain set trauma to my body. What I told my husband next set fire to my heart and soul.

"Honey, I can't do it. Please go and buy a formula milk prescribed by the Pedia for Arya"

My husband knew how much I wanted to breastfeed. He too was a breastfeeding advocate himself and supported me all the way. However, he could not stand seeing me in so much pain.

I felt so bad the moment I gave Arya the bottle with formula milk, guilt rushed through my body, I felt so horrible and questioned myself If I am a good mother by doing this to my child. I felt so weak, discouraged, and unimportant. The next morning came and I unboxed a gift from my autie, a handy-dandy manual breast pump and started pumping both of my breast to produce milk for Arya. I felt good doing it and even felt great when I gave it to Arya instead of giving her formula milk. I kept doing it everyday, every 2 hours or so I continuously pumped my breast to produce enough milk for her but the day came that I cannot keep up with her growing appetite and we resulted in mixed feeding. 

I haven't given up breastfeeding just yet. We went to my OB/GYN and she helped me, encouraged me, and gave me my confidence back to breastfeeding. I tried letting Arya latch on me again. However, she became so fussy and would not take my nipple. After a few tries, she gave up and successfully latched on me again. I thought everything is going great for the both of us. Few minutes passed and it became hours and she is stall latched on to me. The pain is coming back. I unlatched her and saw my nipple sore and growing a blister. Arya cried and I latched her again, the toe curling pain is definitely back. My husband was helping me to correct my position and he was getting frustrated as well. We tried it for a couple of times more but Arya was crying so loud that my heart is really breaking. I put her down and said enough. I cannot do it anymore. I immediately made her a formula milk and gave it to her. She took it immediately and she easily dozed off to dreamland.

The next scenario was not pretty, my husband and I argued because we both wanted to exclusively breastfeed her and we can see that it is not happening. He told me that if it was him with the milk producing breast then he will be able to breastfeed Arya, that alone broke my heart, I cried while I lulled Arya in my arms. I told him that if only I can take the pain away I knew I will be able to breastfeed her, there's no mother in the world who will choose to not give the best for her child. But I am done letting myself feel this way. I grew up mixed-fed too, and he too was mixed-fed and so are other people and they grew up just fine. Arya and I can bond in so many other ways. He soon realized how hard it was for me physically and emotionally. He apologized, gave me space and let me rest.

"Breastfeeding is the most rewarding thing you could ever do to your child"

Yes it is. And I envy all the moms who can do it, I salute you! How I wish I can do it too but I happily admit that I am no longer forcing myself to breastfeed Arya. I am exclusively pumping milk and feeding her from the bottle. It's still breast milk and I am happy about it. Me and Arya are both happy about it.

I went back to my Pedia and told her my situation, she supported me and told me that breast milk is breast milk. There's no need to feel bad if you are giving it through a bottle.

To whoever is reading this, I still encourage you to breastfeed. Never doubt your capacity to produce milk for your baby because you can and you will. The choice is always in your part on whether to exclusively breastfeed, mixed-feed or to pump milk for your baby, not other people. Remember that the hardest part is committing your 101% to it and if you have high tolerance for pain then go for it. But do not let yourself suffer, please, that is not the way to go. 

Rookie Mommy PH - proud to be exclusively pumping milk and mixed feeding Arya.

5 comments on "My Breastfeeding Heartache"
  1. I wanted to do ebf for my lo. I gave birth jul 4. However my mom keeps telling me that my milk is not enough. She wants to exclusively formula feed my baby. I fought really hard, my mom and I fought a lot whether baby is going to have my milk or fm. In the end, to avoid so much hate, tears, and stress, I let my mom gave my baby fm. That doesn't mean I give up. I pump twice at work even though I don't have much milk. Baby is now into mix feeding. Reading blogs like yours really encourage me more to continue giving breastmilk to my lo. more power and godbless! :)

    1. Hi Jeemrose,
      I totally understand where you are coming from and I salute you for still choosing the second best option for your little one. :) I encourage you to join Exclusive Pumping Pinays on Facebook so you get to have a lot of encouragement on your pumping sessions. Thanks also for reading and dropping a lovely comment. Have a wonderful breastfeeding journey!

  2. Thanks for the advice, @Joarra. You encourage me more. I'm actually a new mom and I know that not all mothers have the same privilege to breastfeed their children. As the time went on, I ended up giving my child formula milk like Anmum so don’t fret, you are not alone. :)

    1. Hi Jasmine,

      Thanks for dropping by. :) Please do join First Time Mom PH on Facebook to connect with other first time moms. :)