Having struggled with breastfeeding the first go round, I cannot tell you how ecstatic, proud, and thankful I am to say that it worked this time!
Tonight, I nursed Gabe for the last time, just two days before his first birthday (my goal!!!) I'll write about our weaning process some other time, but tonight I just want to give some encouragement to the mamas out there with the raw nipples and overwhelming guilt...
(11 week old Gabriel Lincoln sleeping on mama in a breastmilk induced coma)
Fellow mamas, having struggled and grappled with the guilt of supplementing Quincy, let me tell you how I wish I hadn't beaten myself up so much! Do what you gotta do but remember it's not worth continued pain and tears. You grew that baby for 9+ months in your belly and sometimes our fickle bodies (or babies) thwart our efforts to nourish and grow them by the breast.
I know this is easier said than done with all of those postpartum hormones ablazin.
My breastfeeding journey with Quincy started with a long, arduous, but triumphant labor and delivery at home. We had lots of skin to skin and cuddles. I don't remember resenting him or feeling depressed until about a week later when his latch was still excruciatingly painful and I couldn't pump or transfer more than 1.5 ounces. Then started my 5 month journey of zombie nipples, pain, self-loathing, and constant pumping, nursing, and supplementing. In hindsight - having now had a "normal" nursing relationship - I know Quincy had a bad latch and that I shouldn't have been so hard on myself.
Don't beat yourself up!
If your heart was set on breastfeeding and it doesn't work with your first kiddo, there's hope! While I would hope everyone would give breastfeeding a legitimate trial of at least a month, I recognize it isn't practical or feasible for everyone. Just know that every pregnancy is different and every baby is different - it can work the 2nd or even 3rd time around!