The Human Cow
I have a one month old, a 10-year-old, a husband, a career working with autistic children, and countless other responsibilities, and on top of it all breast feeding is consuming my life. Breastfeeding is like having another fulltime job. I use to hear women talking about the wonders of breasting and how you will lose a ton of weight and build this wonderful connection with the baby. “Breastfeeding is everything,” they would say. “YOU HAVE TO BREASTFEED!!!” That phrase, oh that phrase, “YOU HAVE TO BREASTFEED!” has hunted my whole breastfeeding journey. It has mentally fucked me up. Oh my god I have to breastfeed no matter what because if I don’t I will be a bad selfish mother who doesn't have my baby's best interest at heart. But breast feeding is not that easy.
Let me tell you about my personal experience with breastfeeding. Yes, it is wonderful to breastfeed because of all the benefits, and yes it can be a wonderful journey for some, but there is another side that everyone always forgets to mention. The part about when your body doesn’t produce milk or the part about how mentally draining it can be. What about the guilt? No one speaks about that. I feel like I am carrying around this huge guilt every time I put my hand on a pre-made formula bottle. I hear everyone's advice and opinions about the benefits of pumping and how unhealthy formula is like haunting voices in my head. So what do I do when this guilt takes over? I go back into my bedroom and attach these two nipple sucking vacuums and I sit for over 15 minutes waiting for it to suck out the last drop of milk. After about 15 or so minutes my mind and body are drained and then I am disappointed when I look at the bottle and see less then 3oz of milk. Oh, and some just spilled when transferring! AY DIOS!!!! I need to produce more. I have to produce more. So of course I start googling "how to increase milk flow when breastfeeding?" Kid you not I have tried everything to help my milk flow from eating codfish soup, drinking several different teas, avena (oatmeal) and chocolate, and etc., etc., But still it was not enough.
After my husband saw the stress I was in he was like "Mi amor no te vuelve loca tampoco. Si te sientes cansada, dale la fórmula" (My love don’t drive yourself crazy either, if you are tired just give her formula.) You guys wouldn't even imagine how great it felt to hear that. So I decided to just relax my mind and I started to tell myself it is okay. And just like some type of magic my milk flow started to increase. It was like the stress and burden was not allowing me to produce milk.
Just as an advice to the soon to be breastfeeding mommies, every breast feeding journey is different but don't stress it. Try to breastfeed but if you find yourself in a stressful situation give them formula because guess what, according to a world health organization article, globally, less than 40% of infants under six months of age are exclusively breastfed. So you wouldn't be the first or only one doing so because not every woman becomes a human cow that can produce tons of milk at the snap of a finger.