For months, I was ashamed of the fact that my body simply could not produce milk for my daughter.
I went to La Leche League meetings.
I visited the brand new breastfeeding center in my town (back in South Carolina).
I set my alarm for every 2.5-3 hours for pumping.
I drank water.I tried teas.
I applied heat compresses and did massages.I ate cookies.
I drank more water.
And, nothing changed with my supply. On a good day, I produced 4.5 oz of liquid gold in a tiny colostrum container. Yes, a good day. That was maybe 1/6th of what my daughter needed.
Through those very bad days of managing my postpartum anxiety/depression and lack of supply, I was a mess. I convinced myself that I wasn’t good enough. That I was broken. That I was hurting my daughter.
I’m not sure when I was able to put those thoughts behind me or what exactly helped propel me past the negativity. Honestly, I think it might have been a mix of the Zoloft and friends telling me that they had just as many issues when it comes to breastfeeding and joining a million Facebook groups for undersupplies. But, I did overcome the stigma of not being able to fully provide for my daughter. I overcame it and I can tell you that my girl is a healthy (95th percentile in weight and 90th in height) blossoming toddler after just a few drops of my milk.
So, as we celebrate Breastfeeding Awareness Month, I want to share something else with YOU, mama.
Are you only pumping because baby has latch issues? Pump on and make sure to enjoy those quiet moments of producing milk for your baby.
Are you able to overproduce and donate to others? You are amazing and so strong to put your body through such a rigorous task for not only your little one, but for others!
Are you mixing half formula and half breast milk? You are doing it mama, you are producing!
Are you in the formula aisle at Target looking through your wallet for those coupons you received in the mail? You are giving your child the best possible solution for your situation – food.
Are you tired of being told that “breast is best” as if you didn’t already know that? I’m right there with you, mama. Your journey is yours alone and let others take the one that they have been equipped for at this time.
Are you a mama who never had the opportunity to breastfeed because of the joy of adoption or the despair of infant loss? I love you and you are just as magnificent for helping grow life – whether in your womb or through love.
Mamas, I see you.
And, I admire you if you were able to breastfeed through or past the one-year mark. And, I applaud you for trying even though you are an under-supplier. And, I respect you wherever you are in this breastfeeding journey – on the path or detoured.
I see you, mama.