As soon as I found out I was pregnant the first time, there was one thing I knew I wanted to do aside from being a good mother: I wanted to breastfeed my baby.
Every day throughout the months of my pregnancy, I prayed not only for the health of my child but also that God would work out my schedule so I could keep my nine to six job and fully breastfeed at the same time.
It never crossed my mind that I wouldn’t have enough milk to breastfeed.
Disappointment, the First Time Around
Imagine my frustration and depression when my milk didn’t flow even after I had gone home from the hospital following a CS delivery. My sister, a well-known OB-GYN and a breastfeeding advocate, gave me all sorts of tips to get my milk going. At the same time, she assured me that my baby could get by her first few days with very little nutrition.
But after seven days of holding out, I had a hungry and cranky baby who was close to dehydration. It was only then that I succumbed and gave her formula.
From then on it was mixed feeding. It took me a while to recover from the disappointment—and post-partum depression didn’t make it any easier. It took a while before I was able to convince myself that I’m no less of a good mother just because I couldn’t fully breastfeed my child.
The Start of Mixed Feeding
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My friends who were also nursing offered to give me breast milk. But at the time, my husband was more than wary. “You don’t even know that person’s diet!” he said. “Well, you don’t know the cow’s diet either,” I retorted, referring to the formula.“How about her medical history? She could be sick of something!” he added.“Same with the cow,” I reasoned again.
And that was the end of receiving breast milk donations for my baby.
I did last six months breastfeeding my eldest, supplemented by formula. And when I got pregnant again, I was more confident that my milk would flow this time around.
Breastfeeding 101… Again
A year and half after my eldest was born, I’m back to Breastfeeding 101. And yes, it’s easier and sweeter this time around. I wish I could tell you that I have so much milk, it’s now my turn to donate. Well, my milk came earlier, that’s for sure. And I have more milk now than I did before. With my first baby, I’d be singing Alleluia and doing back flips whenever my pumping would yield one ounce a day. This time, I get a little over two ounces. So it’s still not enough. And for the second time, I have to resort to mixed feeding again.
No Feelings of Failure
But this time around, we solicit breast milk from my nursing friends. And I no longer feel like a failure just because I can’t fully breastfeed my daughter. So it does happen that even the most gung-ho mom who wants to breastfeed her child might not have enough milk. But it’s not the end of the world. And I have two beautiful girls to prove it.