While I was still pregnant, I already made a decision that I will be breastfeeding once we have Austin.
We bought breast pumps, supplements, nursing tops, and nursing pillows ahead of time and a friend gave me nursing covers to use.
After I gave birth to Austin, from the recovery room, the nurses already assisted me on how to breastfeed. Austin was able to latch quickly.
It felt great that time. Having that connection already with him. The feeling that I am able to hold and bond with our baby.
During the first nights, Austin was a little fussy. We tried to feed him as often as possible as advised by the nurses. We even have a log of all the time I breastfeed him. So we thought we are ok, we are doing great, so far. We thought, him being a little fussy, was normal.
At the time we checked out of the hospital, they advised that everything was normal and ok with Austin. He lost weight but they said it is normal and it’s within the average weight loss of a baby after birth.
We went home, still with the goal that I will breastfeed. We did not even have a formula at home as a backup. So I tried and tried to breastfeed for 3 more days and notice that Austin was waaaaaay more fussier than before and he was losing more weight. Me and my husband were both tired, sleepless and confused as new parents. My nipples were already sore and bleeding! Austin would sometimes break away from my breast because there was blood already.
They said it is normal and to just keep on feeding the baby even with the breast bleeding. But my husband and I have decided to go a pediatrician already to have Austin checked. I just cannot bear to see Austin cry anymore and we felt that there is something more that we should do.
We went to the hospital and Austin’s weight loss was beyond the average rate. That’s when we decided that we should buy formula milk.
With my breast still sore and Austin not latching anymore because of the blood, I decided to start pumping.
Some days I get 4 ounces a day, but most days I get 2 ounces only a day (both breast). I cried looking at how little it was. I felt bad that I was only feeding this little amount of milk to Austin for 5 days! I felt like a horrible mother and a failure.
My pumped breastmilk
I kept asking myself why I had let this happen to my baby. I was embarrassed of myself because I do not have enough milk!
Some would try to console, its ok, try mo lang ng try, its ok, do this do that. I have other friends who gave birth the same month and they breastfeed. Hearing “Oh good for her she has lots of milk, don’t worry, it’s ok, you have a petite body and small breasts, that’s why you are having a hard time”. I know they all meant well but it made me feel worse.
With the little milk that I was able to pump, I just mix it with the formula. While mixing them together, I would always whisper a prayer –
Lord, may this make Austin healthy, even if it is not much.
Then the week came where there was almost no milk. I exhausted every effort I can do. I was tired, I was sad, I was even battling depression that time.
I sent a text message to my husband and told him –
Tatay, Sorry, wala na talaga ako gatas. Wala na ako ma-pump.
I cleared out my device and supplements and put it inside our shelf. It felt so heavy for me, emotionally, to do that.
But I have to keep reminding myself that I did my best. I did what I could do. I had to accept that I am one of the few who can not breastfeed.
During the transition, It helped when I get to talk to friends who had the same situation as mine. It made me feel better knowing I was not alone and that I will not be judged.
My husband was very supportive to me. He made me feel that I am doing great as a mother. I never heard him complain about all the money we spent with the pump and supplements. He listened to me everytime I would cry even if I was saying the same things over and over. He assured me that it did not make me less of a mother just because I cannot breastfeed.
I would still encourage mothers to breastfeed. I still believe it is a wonderful and beautiful bond between mothers and baby.
But if you can’t, it’s ok. There are things that are out of our control.
Our failures and weaknesses are not who we are.
For the mommies who went through times like this or is going through this kind of trial, please know that there are still infinite chances and ways to bond and show how much love we have for our kids. Know that everyday you are doing great, and you are more than enough.