Pressure of Breastmilk is BESTFeb 08, 2018
It’s been a while since I had babies needing me to feed them. I’m not just talking about holding a bottle, pretending to fly or choo-choo a spoon train, or even breastfeed. Having teenagers who, for the most part, are self-sufficient makes me sometimes forget how much they once needed me to be a part of their lives 24/7.
This is a story I’ve shared many times with other moms who are in the stage of 24/7 neediness and also reminiscing with my mama friends who we are in the same season of teenagerhood. It’s my, “Crying over spilled breastmilk” Story, and I’m going to share with you how not ok it was & why it’s not ok for any mama to cry about it ever again.
It was my first baby. She was 9lbs and 3 oz, and I was twenty-two. I knew nothing, and truly had no one to guide me at the start. I had friends who had kids, long distance grandmother, and the women of my husband’s family but truly, no one to confide in how terrified I was at this entire thought of motherhood.
While in the hospital, the nurse, of course, asked if I had any questions, and when you’re so terrified it’s really hard to think about all the questions that have been racing through your head the past nine months of pregnancy. My daughter wasn’t nursing quite right, it hurt, and we freakishly had to squeeze my breast milk on to a spoon to get her to realize that’s what it was... she was terrified too. I guess we both were worried about screwing this really special relationship up from the start.
I had my first child before “breastfeeding” was all the rage, it was still this time between where there wasn’t a lactation consultant visiting every room, and there definitely weren’t babywearing & breastfeeding groups on every corner in my area. I had read it was better for her and definitely wanted to try, but formula and bottles were what was accessible and not frowned upon what-so-ever. So when we went home from the hospital, my baby still not really getting the idea of how to make this work, (me also feeling like this is awkward and what is everyone talking about how amazing this is, it hurts), we went home and began the weird process of “bonding”.
We lasted at this “bonding”, my daughter & and for about a month. My breasts were sore, overfilling because she couldn’t figure it out or I couldn’t figure it out... not sure. We couldn't figure it out. They were bloody and just making me even more upset than I already was about how much I was failing. I began to use a very cheap breast pump because they weren’t covered by our insurance back then & we made too much to get one through WIC, but not enough to afford a decent one that didn’t take an hour to manually pump 2 or 3 ounces. So I began the process of pumping and supplementing. The doctor said it was ok, and my poor daughter was so hungry. Every time I pumped I felt like I failed and had a small success when the liquid gold would fill the bag to put in the freezer.
One night, since I was still trying to breastfeed during wake ups I just felt so exhausted, I just didn’t want to put her or myself through the struggle and was thankful for the bag of breastmilk that I had pumped. I proceeded to warm it and place it in the bottle. All our bottles were different, and the one I chose was supposed to be a “new technology” to keep air from getting in your babies belly to keep her from feeling gassy. (False Advertisement, I promise you!)
And in my exhaustion...
The bottom that was the “new technology” wasn’t screwed on correctly, and as I slid it off the counter ready to go feed my screaming child, the one I couldn’t think of another excruciating moment of breastfeeding her, proceeded to fail in its new technology and all six ounces of my liquid gold fell to our kitchen floor.
I fell with it.
The moments after this experience, I’m not sure. I either blacked out or surcame to the demise that I was probably going to be named the worse mother to ever have a child. Not sure. But I do know I continued to say through my tears, “no, please no, this isn’t fair, my milk, my milk, please no!”
My husband to this day says this is when he knew I was totally gone and he’d lost his wife for a crazy person. (He is jokingly loving but there is some truth to his statement.)
Needless-to-say, a few days later I was laying on the floor with cabbage on my breasts when he walked in from work... Again if he thought I was crazy prior, the cabbage sealed the deal. (A story for another day, I promise!)
My point as to why crying over spilled breast milk is not ok, is that I hope no mom cries anymore as I cried. I am sure there is still not the huge support system I feel there should be for new mamas, and to support the cause of breastfeeding. However, even when I had my son, three years later the support and the tools available were 10x better. The fact that both my kids are now teenagers, I’m praying the support and tools are 100x better than before. I can still feel how I felt that night, devasted and a failure.
I’d love to hear what your breastfeeding experience was like, no judgment no matter how you did it. I think back and both my babies I still bonded with them, and truly breastfeeding wasn’t that thing for us, but I know it is for some mamas. I think we should celebrate all the hills, lesson, and joys of motherhood, but I hope that there are no more cries over spilled breastmilk, at least not the tears like I once cried over 14 years ago.