I wanted to breastfeed. I really, truly did. I was so committed to the decision to breastfeed, that I made nipple balm, bought a manual breast pump (so Allyn could bond with pumpkin) with storage bags, and added several nursing bras, some nursing shirts, two nursing covers, a nursing gown, and a new, light robe. I was completely sold on the dream of a loving, holistic, spiritual bond between my daughter and I as I feed her nutrient-dense, antibody primed, perfect temperature (and most importantly, free) milk from my body. I could practically feel the generations and generations of women that we hailed from lending me their strength and courage, I could hear positive and ferocious mantras in my heart;
I am woman! I am amazing! I can create and carry life!! I can feed another person with my body!!
And then Pumpkin arrived, in all her beautiful glory. She is amazing, and lovely and perfect, and has a tongue-tie. Not that was knew that at first- at first we thought she was just a sleepy baby (which she was). With all the Pitocin and Fentanyl they gave me, it made sense that she would be loopy. So when she didn’t latch immediately after birth, the nurses told me to just keep trying. They helped me try new ways of holding her, helped me align my breasts better, sometimes they even shoved my breast into her mouth for me. I met with a lactation consultant who told me that my nipples were too small, to use the areola to guide her to the milk, and gave me a nipple shield. Still nothing. She’d rarely latch, and when she did, it’d only be for a few seconds before she’d come off the breast.
I am woman, and I’m failing to feed my child.