Six and a half months ago, I gave birth to my beautiful little Amethyst Joy. There was absolutely no doubt in my mind that I would breastfeed her both exclusively and long term. I had a few reservations about my ability to breastfeed due to the shape (not size) of my breasts but when I would bring up my fears with lactation consultants the answer was always “Don’t worry- you will be able to breastfeed.” My planned homebirth did not go according to plan as Amethyst decided not to come out, and we were risked out of a homebirth, which ended in a hospital induction (still natural, though!) We were lucky to be at a hospital that was extremely breastfeeding friendly and I had the support and knowledge of staff 24 hours a day during the time Amethyst had to be in the neonatal unit- a little over a week. I breastfeed her constantly and on demand. And she cried and cried. I used a hospital grade breast pump and pumped around the clock. My milk finally came in on day 5, and I kept pumping. I never got more than 1 ounce at a time, but everyone kept saying that when we finally got Amethyst home and when the stress of being in a hospital 24 hours a day went away that my milk would come in fully and it would be okay. We got home, and I rented a hospital grade pump. I pumped and pumped and breastfed and breastfed and Amethyst cried and cried. And I cried too! In my worldview, formula is poison. It is substandard food made from genetically modified ingredients and not suitable for any baby, much less mine! Well, we finally made the decision to supplement with some formula, and you know what, she drank that shit down like she had never eaten before! My baby was hungry- that was painfully obvious. I immediately bought a SNS, an at breast supplementer so that I could give her supplemental feedings at the boob and some organic formula.
So, that is what we did for the first few months- I breastfed her when she wanted and then supplemented with organic formula at the boob with the SNS.
Then we moved to America and we couldn’t get the formula she used and liked. So we bought what was available and organic and it made her sooo unhappy. So now, we make our own formula using these ingredients based on the recipe by Dr. Weston Price:
When we can, we give her breastmilk donated by other lovely, generous mamas
And we still do this with love, every day!
So have I failed at breastfeeding? It depends on how you look at it, I suppose. Those feelings of failure haunt me every day no doubt. But I have learned that I have to redefine success for myself. I just look at my little girl smiling up at me and growing in leaps and bounds and I know that failure is impossible. She is here with me and happy and that is all that matters in the world 🙂