You just gave birth and it’s time to feed the baby. The lactation consultant rushes into your hospital room and tells you breast is best so you try to get the baby to latch with no success after multiple attempts. You’re forced to keep trying until you’re in tears already feeling like a failure. A nurse comes in to take your baby to the nursery while you are presented with a breast pump. You get hooked up and start the process to find that a little bit of breast milk is coming out. Small victory but I’ll take it! Over the next 36 hours, the lactation consultant came back two more times to help you get the baby to latch, over and over, with no success. You decide that if you can’t breastfeed then you would pump because ultimately that still meant the baby would get breastmilk which was best.

After a few weeks at home, feeling like a cow hooked up to a machine, you notice a rash on the baby’s bottom. You put several creams on it but the rash continues to get worse so you take  the baby to the pediatrician. They run a small swab test and conclude that the baby has a dairy allergy; therefore, you would need to cut dairy out of your diet in order to continue pumping or switch to a dairy free formula.  You start crying (again) because the thought of changing one more thing about yourself at this point in time is unfathomable. The pediatrician looks at you and says, ‘You know what, fed is best. Forget everything you’re hearing about breastfeeding and breastmilk being the best option. Formula exists for a reason. If you want to throw in the towel and switch to formula I applaud you. You are not a failure.’

And that was that! Our pediatrician saved me from myself and all the societal noise around me. Of course my mom and husband had told me all of this too but it was something about hearing it from your baby’s doctor that made everything seem like it was going to be okay.

When my second child came into the world I marked that I didn’t want a lactation consultant yet somehow one still stopped by. I looked at my husband when she came in the room and he kindly asked her to leave. I pulled out my pump and did this for a few weeks until dairy allergy round two hit. I threw away my pump so fast and never looked back.

I know each of us has our own story to tell! Some stories will be about over supply of breast milk, others will be about inability to produce breast milk, some flat out decided not to even try breastfeeding or pumping because they just didn’t want to and others may have loved their feeding journey. I’m sharing my story to say, just make sure you feed your baby. Drown out all the noise and do what’s best for YOU and YOUR baby. At the end of the day, that’s all that matters!