When my first child was born (after a grueling 36 hour labor) – he and I were an exhausted, overwhelmed, high strung, nervous mess. I had every intention of breastfeeding, but I had no idea how hard it would be. I latched him on over and over and as he fought me, we’d both just sob. I tried nipple shields, a lactation consultant, and after about two weeks I had an emotional and physical breakdown and switched to formula. It was insanely difficult to let go of that ideal while feeling the pressure from moms around me. I wish I could say changing to formula made things so much easier, but it didn’t. My son had a huge case of The Colic and we both were pretty miserable for six months as we tried different formulas to find one that his tummy could handle.
I was scared to have a second baby after that first experience but worked up the courage to go for it. When my daughter arrived, I wanted to try breastfeeding again. I was (way) more relaxed that time around but it still took 5 full days for my milk to come in. I used little droplets of formula to supplement while I latched her often and pumped to stimulate production. And then a moment I’ll never forget, while a lactation consultant was on the phone with me, I heard suck, and swallow! I was feeding my baby with my own body!! I went on to breastfeed exclusively for 6 months after that. Interestingly, overall, she was a much easier/happy baby. At 6 she’s also healthy, smart, and rarely sick.
So what does this all mean? Did breastfeeding make my daughter an easier baby? I don’t think so. My son is 9 now (he’s also healthy, advanced in school, and rarely sick). He’s still a pretty intense kid, too. I’m not convinced had we breastfed things would have turned out much differently. But do I wish I could go back and try it again with a new relaxed, accepting attitude? Absolutely.
Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.
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