I have a confession to make. Last night, I washed out all the bottles I got as shower gifts. And began using them.
And people? The relief was instantaneous. Not just because it makes feeding easier (which it does, by 10,000 percent), but because the decision was made. I’d chosen to take my place among the Bad Mommies of the world, public opinion be damned.
Before the screaming becomes too loud, though, let me assure you that my relatiionship with the Mooing Machine remains as strong as ever. I fully intend to keep pumping milk for my little one for as long as I can (although if I have to use formula sometimes, I’m not going to beat myself up about it).
So she’ll still be getting the hallowed breast milk that everyone insists is not just the best, but the only option for mommies who really care about their babies. She just won’t be getting it from my boob. And I think we’ll both be happier that way.
Don’t believe me? Then maybe you should come sit in the nursery with me and watch as my sweet, even-tempered baby becomes the demon child from hell when faced with the prospect of eating from my breast.
There’s only so many times a person can take that kind of total rejection before it starts to get to you—in a soul searing, spirit crushing kind of way.
Of course, I feel insanely guilty about making this choice. I feel selfish. Inadequate. Like a failure. If there’s one thing I hate, it’s quitters, and by golly, giving up breastfeeding places me firmly among the quitters of the world.
But you know what? Today I’ve been able to really enjoy her for the very first time. I’m not busy worrying about what the next feeding will bring. Or how much I can pump. Or how I can trick her into taking a few more sips before pulling out the syringe.
Instead, I can focus on her expressions as she sucks, scrunching up her little face and making what I swear are happy cooing noises. I can cuddle her close to my heart, play with her perfect little fingers and toes, and thank God for bringing this miraculous little creation into my life.
In short, I can love her wholeheartedly, without the pain and despair I’ve been carrying with me since she was born.
And isn’t that what babies need more than anything else?