Wednesday, March 25, 2009


One upon a time, in a land far, far away, I was a failure.


I know

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.

So there!


tootie said...

You are so right. The fact that you raised some amazing kids is so much more important than how you fed them as infants! So I call that success :)

A. K. said...

Being a mom is a tough job!

Anonymous said... you said...I nursed them all...2 years each...and look what happened. :(


Sandcastle Momma said...

None of my kids would nurse either and I felt SO guilty for being glad about that! There is no support at all for women who don't want to breast feed. I told my SIL that I was happy to get them on the bottle and she acted like I was a horrible mother. Then my mother told me one day that babies don't need boobs - they need a mom who is happy. Amen to that!

Travis Erwin said...

My oldest screamed at the mere sight of my wife's breast. It kind of gave her a complex but child #2 latched on like leech from the get go.

TJ Brown said...

Failing at breastfeeding is nothing compared to the other ways you can fail at mothering. And you didn't fail at those other ways. And honestly, it wasn't my fault I was a human cow. I had to breast feed because I had no other way to get rid of the gallons of milk each boob held. Remember, I practically drowned my first baby. And my second baby finds breastfeeding so distasteful she will look someone right in the eye and deny ever being breast fed. "Nope, not me, that's disgusting."

So it really doesn't matter anyway.

Kristen said...

Very well-put. And I am fast learning that every little decision we get so caught up about with our babies is soon a distant memory and that turns out didn't really matter much at all.