One thing I'm really proud of: Breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is hard work. Really, really hard work.
My son did not have a love-at-first sight relationship my breasts. This contradicted some past observed male behavior so it came as a bit of surprise. Talk about a new and different kind of rejection.
I had made the decision that I wanted to breastfeed before he was born. I was committed, and I am a very stubborn person. Sure, I had read that not everyone has an easy time breastfeeding. But naive, pre-child me seemed to believe those people did not want it enough. The breastfeeding gods laughed at that and decided to show me otherwise. And boy, did they show me how wrong I was.
He wouldn't latch on. At the hospital they mentioned he was tongue-tied and did a procedure. Still, he was not interested. So I started pumping. I even got donor milk at the hospital (thanks to my lactation-consultant sister-in-law for letting me know that might be an option).
We went home with my newborn losing more weight than he should. Meantime, I was dealing with blood, sweat and tears - yes, all of them - trying to breastfeed. I took some of my anger out on my husband (sorry sweetie!). And we were going in for daily clinic weigh-ins to see if our son was getting enough milk. He wasn't for awhile. My husband looked over at me one day as I was trying to get the baby to latch on. The baby was screaming. I was crying. And I was exhausted. You see, I was pumping about every three hours while still feeding him. The whole process took about 45 minutes, then I repeated it about 2 hours 15 minutes later. My husband offered to help, but I had a notion in my head that I wanted the baby to know milk came from mommy, even if it was out of bottle. I was convinced he would someday latch.
I remember an old friend sending me a Facebook message saying her husband had to have his tongue cut twice for his tongue-tie because it wasn't done far enough back the first time. That stayed with me. I also became stressed one day and emailed a woman who ran a web site for women who exclusively pump. She was so helpful and reassuring! At the time, I thought that might be my only option for getting the little one breast milk.
When he was a month old, my amazing sister-in-law (the expert) came to visit for Thanksgiving. She took a look and said he could do it. I was inspired. Exhausted but inspired.
So I made another appointment with a highly-recommended lactation specialist. She looked at my son and said his tongue should undergo another procedure. She did it right on the spot. Still we didn't fully connect.
Then. It happened. Eight weeks after he was born. That's two months and a whole lot of pumping. My baby latched on. We did it. He started breastfeeding.
I was also able to save a lot of milk while pumping so he has made it over a year on breast milk. We hit our goal.
I now know some people can't breastfeed even after they go to great lengths. I also know some people don't want to breastfeed. This is not a blog to say, "you should do it my way." There are plenty of those. And I'm in no position to judge. I fully support moms who don't breastfeed just as much as I support those who do. We all have to find our way through this crazy parenthood thing.
So here's why I'm writing this. I was able to make it through because I had people to lean on. That support started with my husband but it extended to family, friends and medical professionals. Heck, I remember a borderline stranger even offering advice.
I'm an independent woman. Sometimes to a fault. But I allowed myself to say, I need help. And I got it. Because I wasn't alone. There are a lot of moms out there, and some of them have likely experienced your same struggles. I'm so glad I allowed them to help me. This can be applied to any number of mommy problems: potty-training, balancing baby and marriage, finding time to shower (that's real and probably affects aforementioned problem), learning the best sippy cup to use (weird thing to add to the list, but I just spent an hour reading online reviews for good sippy cups. I would offer suggestions, but I still have no clue), etc. etc. etc.
And I'm writing this because we make a lot of sacrifices to be parents. We don't look for a pat on the back. The best kudos we can receive is a well-raised kid. But that doesn't mean we can't or shouldn't look in the mirror and say, way to go!