One upon a time, in a land far, far away, I was a failure.
Actually, I've been reading Jen's blog over at Cheaper than Therapy about her failure to breast-feed her baby and I time warped back to those new mommy months.
My mother was anti-breastfeeding. My Omi, bless her, didn't say much, but silently urged me towards the bottle of formula my mother would whip out. I suppose in their defense, they were just being helpful. Nursing a baby is HARD WORK and sometimes it just not workie.
I nursed our boy for a very short time. I wasn't good at it. I was tired. I was crabby. Beloved was...asleep and I returned to work. I was embarrassed. I was ashamed. I tried not to discuss it with other mom's but it's a wee bit hard to avoid when everyone else in the room has a boob stuffed in a child's mouth while I daintily held a bottle of formula.
When Girl came along I knew, I KNEW, I would be successful. After all, I was older, wiser, and I stayed home. NO excuses this time.
Girl didn't get it. Or better put wasn't getting enough. She cried. A LOT. The doctors convinced me to give her a bottle, just to supplement. I caved. She ate. She screamed. The cycle broke four months later. I don't remember why, but I think it was around the time she started eating baby cereal (do they eat baby cereal at four months? I can't remember).
Regardless, I failed.
Teri could breast-feed. Wendy could breast-feed. Everyone could breast-feed but me.
It's been a long, long time since I thought about nursing a baby. A long time since I remembered the guilt and the failure.
So there! I failed the very first steps of motherhood. My children didn't bond with me. Their teeth all fell out of their heads from bottle rot, and they have sub-standard intelligence.
The reality is this; if you can nurse your baby, more power to you. Do it in the house, do it in the mall, do it at the park, at church, in Starbucks. Do it here, do it there, do it everywhere.
But if you can't. If baby doesn't get it, if it's just not for you, then DON'T.
Do not beat yourself up over it.
It doesn't make you a failure.
It doesn't make you a bad mom.
There will be many times in your life when things will be hard. When you will fail. When you will feel guilty over a poor choice. The inability to nurse your infant shouldn't be one of them.