It’s Ok to Stop Breastfeeding- My Journey Into Not Beating Myself Up

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Breastfeeding is the best thing you can do for your baby.

Breastfeeding is the only way to have a healthy child.

Breastfeeding will affect your child’s health

For.

The.

Rest.

Of.

Their.

Life.

Oh my gosh. I can’t take it anymore. I get it. Breastfeeding is important. I’ve heard everything from its ability to prevent ear infections to its power to cure cancer.

I got it.

And believe me, I would LOVE to breastfeed my baby.

But man. It’s hard.

I’ve had to fight each hour to be able to nurse another day. Seriously. Not a day goes by where I don’t have to battle my boobs just to squeeze a smidgen of milk out.

See, I’m one of those people whose body can’t seem to productively feed my child. If I’m lucky, my sweet little angel will get 3 ounces out of me. But that’s only if I’ve kept up on my pumping, had enough water, eaten enough calories, don’t have a cold, eaten the right herbs, avoided the wrong herbs, kept my iron levels up, don’t have a nosebleed, don’t feel stress, haven’t eaten anything spicy, drunken tea, gotten enough sleep, haven’t worked out…

You get the point. It basically takes a miracle.

The last couple of weeks, my baby girl has lost interest in nursing. And honestly, I’ve started to lose interest in being hooked up to a boob-sucker machine. Constantly.

As a consequence, my milk supply is becoming non-existent.

Last night I pumped for 30 mins and you know how much milk I was able to get?

1 Ounce. That’s all.

I cried. I felt like I’ve failed my daughter.

I want to prevent her ear infections. I want her to be safe from the evils of cancer. I want to give her everything I possibly can even if that means I walk around with a pump attached to my chest.

My husband has watched me each night as I lose sleep trying to maintain my meager supply. He’s also watched as I beat myself up everyday.

He’s watched my fear the last few weeks as I read the ounce markers on my pump.

Then last night, he took my hand in his and said, “Its ok to stop breastfeeding.”

What? No its not. Think of the damage that would do to my baby. I need to figure out a way. I mean, who needs sleep? Or energy? Or…

Sanity.

Ok, I admit it. Breastfeeding is taking its toll on me.

You know what my husband said to me next?

Breastfeeding does not determine your value. You can be a good mom without it.  

Mind blown.

This is an incredibly hard thing for me to grasp. I’m constantly bombarded with the world telling me that if I love my child, I will breastfeed her forever!

But my husband’s right.

My baby girl is happy and healthy. She’s strong and smart and great at eating solid foods.

I need to focus on all the other things I do right as a mom. I am patient, creative, calm, encouraging, protective, supportive, loving, compassionate, imaginative, guiding, enduring.

Motherhood is comprised of so much more than just being able to produce milk. Its playing make-believe and racing cars. It’s changing diapers and potty-training. It’s holding sick kids all day and all night. It’s cleaning cheerios and chex out of everywhere. It’s finding new ways to say the same thing everyday. It’s love and frustration and joy and sorrow all mixed into one incredibly invigorating feeling.

And I can be all of those things without breastfeeding.

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