Before we get started on this subject, let me make something clear: I love breastfeeding. I’m an advocate for it. I know it’s what’s best for baby. If I could recommend a book to you about breastfeeding, it would be this one. I like to encourage those who are struggling to get help before throwing in the towel on breastfeeding.
However, just as I did with Asher, I struggled to breastfeed Eva Joy.
Knowing how much I struggled to feed Asher, I sought out help from the breastfeeding midwife when I was still pregnant with Eva Joy. Once she was born, the breastfeeding midwife had me do everything we could to help increase my supply so I could breastfeed exclusively. When Eva Joy was 3 days old, we found ourselves spending a night on the children’s ward of the hospital because of feeding issues. My milk was slow to come in.
After a couple of weeks of feeding every three hours, expressing, and topping Eva Joy up with a little formula, she wasn’t gaining enough weight, and it was decided that my supply wasn’t sufficient to nourish my baby exclusively.
Disappointment. I worked so hard. But for what? I did everything I could to boost my supply, but it was clear God didn’t bless me in that way. It was a difficult discovery. However, I did succeed more than I did when Asher was born. I fed Eva Joy much longer. I had more breast milk this time around, proving that the blood loss I suffered last time was a contributing factor to my lack of supply. Should I have gotten more outside help? I could have, but I wasn’t willing to put Eva Joy’s health at risk just so that I could breastfeed. And I want to be free to enjoy my children. Besides, Asher turned out fine after being fed on formula, so why wouldn’t Eva Joy?
The breastfeeding midwife told us that medically, there’s no apparent reason for my insufficient milk supply. Some women just can never make enough. Thankfully, as Christians we know a better answer. We live in a fallen, imperfect world. Our bodies are affected by sin, and that might include not being able to feed a baby sufficiently. I’m thankful that we have the knowledge about breastfeeding to know that something is wrong. I’m also thankful that we have formula, bottles and sterilisers so that my baby can be nourished.
As I write this I’m in the process of stopping breastfeeding and moving to bottle feeding exclusively. I’m an emotional wreck sometimes because of it. I’m certain there’s something to be learned through this experience. God is probably teaching me something. I’m glad He has grace for me through this thing called motherhood, especially in the area of keeping my children fed. I just don’t know what it is yet. Hopefully I’ll be able to share about it when I figure it out!