Today’s topic: Breastfeeding Guilt
I knew that mommy guilt was just part of being a mom. All of my friends who were moms long before me have mentioned the regrets of not doing this or that correctly. I didn’t know that I would be saddled with my own version of mommy guilt when my Wild Child was just two weeks old.
At just two weeks old I had to deal with breastfeeding guilt! It wasn’t that I didn’t have milk, because I had plenty of it. I was told by our pediatrition that the antibiotic I was taking was hurting him. Since he was having “foamy” greenish stools and she was a DOCTOR, I just assumed she was correct. (You can read about my pumping & dumping experience here).
It was an emotionally traumatic and guilt ridden experience listening to my baby cry for hours and knowing that THE BEST thing for him was MY MILK! I cried every single time he was given a bottle of formula and so did he! He projectile vomited (twice) while on formula, was extremely fussy, gassy, cried/screamed and continued to have green-mucous diapers. The formula was supposed to be for 7 days, but I ended it at 4.5 days. It was only after finding some REAL help at the Mississippi Breastfeeding Medicine Clinic and Infant Risk that I discovered our Wild Child was dairy intolerant and foamy stool was a known side effect and would not have harmed my child.
I’ve written about this regret as a challenge we were able to overcome. However, it’s a hard issue for me to come to terms with because I had a great supply and there was NO NEED for formula! I strongly distrust doctors now when it comes to my child. He deserves the best from me and I let him down by not getting a 2nd and 3rd opinion. I should have called experts like the people at Infant Risk and the Mississippi Breastfeeding Medicine Clinic and asked questions, but I didn’t even know they existed.
Although, I can not erase those painful 4.5 days from my memory, but I have found ways of coping with my breastfeeding guilt:
1- For my Wild Child: I became a SAHM (stay at home) instead of returning to work when he was 6 months old. My original thought was this would allow me to continue to breastfeed him longer since there would be no external demands of my time or energy.
2- In support of those that I know and hope to know:
- I started this blog. I put aside our old photo website and started writing about my experiences. Perhaps one day another mom like me will stumble upon this and reconsider her options.
- I have made an effort to reach out to my friends and encourage them through their breastfeeding struggles.
3- Provide for others??? The idea came to me one day that by sharing what my baby missed out on I might be able to heal that hole in my heart. So last week I picked up the phone and contacted a milk bank to see if I qualify as a donor! I’m waiting to start the screening process. The screening is pretty intense since the milk goes to premies and critically ill babies, but I’ll keep you all posted. I’m praying that by suppling my extra milk to newborns in need that I can somehow diminish my own guilt.
4- For myself: I plan to continue to breastfeed him and provide the liquid love he needs to grow healthy and strong for as long as I am able!
Time is supposed to heal all wounds, but I’m not sure it’s going to heal this one.
Do you have any breastfeeding guilt? Does time truly heal all wounds, including mommy guilt?
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