Totum Stories: No two babies nurse the same
By Hayley Simon
Mom-boss to Two Crazy Beauties, Jesus/Coffee/Wine Lover
“I am a total failure,” I kept telling myself over and over again after my lactation consultant said “I’m sorry but I have never in my 20 years of work not been able to get a baby to latch. You are a new case for me.”
No one could figure out why my healthy 3-month-old baby girl refused to nurse but would happily take a bottle of breast milk. Every time I put her to my breast, she would scream as if she was in terrible pain. Trust me, we tried every trick in the book. So reluctantly I went to plan B and exclusively fed her breast milk through a bottle. Holy hell did I underestimate the amount of work and sacrifice that would be. Not only is it time consuming to feed your baby, but I also had to find time to pump while holding, entertaining, and caring for her all while attached to a machine. Needless to say, I was drained, exhausted, and overwhelmed.
After a total breakdown, I heard some eye opening wisdom; “If you aren’t happy, your baby isn’t happy”, and truthfully, I was miserable, so I decided to transition from breast milk to formula. But this entire nursing experience haunted me. I had friends nursing their babies until they were nearly two years old, doctors offices with signs on their walls saying “breast is best”, and mothers giving me dirty looks when I mixed a bottle of formula in public.
It got so bad that when I became pregnant with my second baby, I had nightmares that I couldn’t produce milk, my baby wanted to nurse from other women but not from me (that’s freaking weird, right?!), and several other nursing dilemmas. My first nursing experience really (excuse my language) fucked with my head and my confidence. So you better believe when I gave birth to my second baby, a boy, I had researched and prayed that I would do everything right to make sure this baby nursed happily for longer than just 3 months.
…Irony is amusing, isn’t it? Funny enough my now 4-month-old baby boy refuses a bottle entirely and will not suck on anything other than my nipple. Sure, my prayers have been answered and I finally feel like my baby wants me, but I realized the freedom I gained when my first baby happily took a bottle. Now, if I want to go to a wedding, out to dinner, or God-forbid do anything that takes longer than 2 hours, my baby has to tag along. There’s no such thing as a night off or a weekend away.
So I’ve learned a thing or two about babies and myself. You can do everything right but no two babies, even your very own, will nurse the same. You better believe that now when a friend or mom comes to me with struggles over breast or bottle, I will never judge, nor tell you that one way is better than the other. What is right is what makes both you and your baby happy because ladies lets face it, we are all doing our best to provide for our babies.