Breastfeeding Wasn’t a Choice

The saying goes, “Failure is not an option.” That was my reality when my daughter was born.

My former spouse and I were estranged at the time. I had “run away” to save my pregnancy.  Living with him would have probably ended badly so I made the hardest decision of my life and moved back to my mother’s home. 

I struggled to make ends meet working a security job until my seventh month of pregnancy.  There was no savings for me to tap into so when Miss O was born, I had to think about the economically sound ways to make sure she was provided for. 

The first decision was to breastfeed. I had bottles I recieved as shower gifts but formula was $25 a can. Even if I could go back to work part time, I wouldn’t be able to afford it. So I figured if I fed myself, I could feed my daughter. 

The struggle started hours after she was born. She couldn’t latch. No matter what I tried, latching wasn’t happening. I wanted to cry.  Not only because she wasn’t latching, but because my boobs hurt from all the milk accumulation. 

Thank God after nearly a two days of torture for O and I, they allowed me to start pumping a feeding by finger feeding her. 

They made me give her formula when test revealed she was jaundiced. I was angry when they made me use formula. I had expressed to anyone who would listen that she wasn’t getting much milk.  But no one seemed to be concerned but myself. And I felt had they allowed me to pump for her earlier maybe she would not have been jaundiced.  

O hated bottles. I battled for a week in the hospital and then at home to get her to latch. And even after she latched, I was a lactation machine (read: cow) so I had to go to a lactation group to get support and learn more about breastfeeding. With the support of the nurse at the breastfeeding support group I was successful at breastfeeding well past the point that formula would be necessary for nutrition for my daughter. 

With all that said, breastfeeding was a choice I made. I was fortunate to be extremely successful at it.  My cohort of friends had three newborns within weeks of each other and I was the only one to continue to breastfeed.  I listened to their trials and suggested tips to help them but they didn’t have the same experience but I applaud them for trying.  

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