Moms can’t believe how quickly the first 2 months go by, but that only happens after the first two months are over. Make a long term commitment to breastfeeding by focusing on one day at a time. Try not to quit on your worst day, because it can take a two or three months to get comfortable breastfeeding.
There’s a wide, wide range of normal.
Breastfeeding takes many forms. Some women breastfeed exclusively, but many more do not. Some women express and breastmilk feed. Some women have enough milk for three babies and can't get their baby to latch comfortably. Some women use donor milk or formula in a supplementer.
When you are in the thick of it, days last forever. You can hate breastfeeding. You may dread feeding your baby and your baby may even refuse to breastfeed.
If you are facing one challenge after another, and it's affecting your physical, mental or emotional health, it's healthy to re-evaluate how committed you are to breastfeeding or breastmilk feeding. In making the decision whether to stop or to continue, you need to include how much support you have and what resources are available for continuing.
If it isn’t working, accept that it isn't working. It’s your life. You will have to find ways that work for you and your family not only with with birth and breastfeeding, but with sleeping, vaccines, discipline, friends, school, and more. There’s more to life than breastfeeding, even though in the beginning, it feels like there is ONLY breastfeeding.
There are many, many reasons why breastfeeding doesn’t work out and you may never know exactly why.
But even if you do know, it’s still not what you wanted. It’s sad, even devastating, when it happens. And, it can take a while to grieve your loss even if you feel relieved that you stopped. It’s normal to have mixed feelings about ending breastfeeding. You may feel angry, defensive or resentful and happy all at the same time. It's normal to cry and be weepy. Feeling your feelings doesn’t mean you are a bad mom, it means you are a healthy mom.
Give yourself time to be angry; to rage at yourself, your doctor, the hospital, the world or even God. Anger is expression of an injustice that has been done and a force for positive change. You may fill a journal full of venomous thoughts. And, you may also find your life’s purpose through your anger.
Accept it, grieve your loss, and get back to living your life and enjoying your baby.
Once you put the loss behind you, you will have energy to discover other things that make you and your baby feel good and connect with each other. In the end, what matters is that you love and accept yourself and your baby. Everyone wants to feel successful. When they don't meet their breastfeeding goals, many women shift gears, expanding into an area of their life where they do feel successful.
I hope you create your own positive way of thinking about your experience because any amount of breastmilk helps you and your baby. Know that however long you nursed and however much milk your baby received, gave them a wonderful start in life with life-long benefits.
If you are criticized or judged by people who didn't see the cascading chain of events leading to weaning, it can be helpful to use statements like “I made a choice.” and “This works for our family.” which are more energizing than “I failed at breastfeeding.” or “I didn't get the right information and support.” Whatever you do, just don’t think or say you failed. Maybe you didn’t breastfeed as much as you wanted to, but you tried, and in trying, you got to know yourself and your tremendous courage, strength and love.
Everyone has insurmountable challenges in life.
You are going to know babies with disabilities, kids with life-threatening allergies, teens who die in car crashes, parents who lose their jobs or divorce, and so much more.
This is your challenge right now. It's not an easy one but you will find the strength to get though it because you love your baby.