Written by Megan Gaspar, Birth and Postpartum Doula
It’s not actually as scandalous as you’d think. You see, Lenny's pants failed to do their job properly and so did my boobs. I had always planned to breastfeed my children. There was never a thought in my mind that any other option would have to be considered, so imagine my surprise when my breasts opted out of their one job.
Aren’t my boobs supposed to get…bigger?
During my first pregnancy, I have to admit, I was excited at the prospect of my barely-there breasts finally getting some oomph to them as a result of all those glorious pregnancy hormones. But eight months in and I was still in the same bra size was wearing before I got pregnant. I was a little concerned about that, but everyone reassured me that the real changes would happen once the baby was born and I began breastfeeding. And even if I didn’t see big changes, the same argument was always made: breast size doesn’t matter, your body will do what it needs to do, yada yada yada. Only MY body didn’t.
Off to a Not-so-great Start
I began breastfeeding immediately following the birth of my daughter, waiting and hoping for the milk production to start. My concerns that no changes seemed to be happening were always met with “it could take up to three days”, which turned into “5-7 days is still normal”, which turned into “your baby has lost too much weight and you need to supplement”. I tried everything: meetings with a lactation consultant who hooked me up to a pump, saw a little bit of milk in the bottle, and determined everything was working as it should, special teas, herbal supplements, and a round-the-clock breastfeed-supplement-pump schedule to try to increase my supply while making sure my daughter didn’t starve. None of it worked and I was exhausted and disappointed. Disappointed that my body that had failed so miserably at providing food for the baby it had so effortlessly grown and birthed and disappointed that no one seemed to be able to answer my questions as to WHY I couldn’t make milk. It was of no consequence to anyone, but me. At the end of the day, I couldn’t do it, so I had to formula feed, end of story.
Choosing Formula when it Didn’t Really Feel Like a Choice
Formula. It was a foreign concept that I had never considered, so I wandered onto the formula aisle at the store one day to acquaint myself with the endless options. And on that aisle I ran into a lady who ran a local Le Leche group (I think she must camp out near the formula to grab fresh meat!). Don’t get your hopes up; this isn’t where the story turns happy because she ends up being the one person who was able to help me solve my problem. No, in fact, she quite aggressively jumped all over me for considering formula, spouting the same “breast size doesn’t matter, it’s normal for babies to lose weight, it can take up to two weeks” excuses I’d heard again and again. And in doing so, solidified in my mind that all the excuses in the world weren’t going to feed my baby or make me feel any better about the situation. Formula was. So I gathered what was left of my dignity and a can of Enfamil and went home.
The inability to breastfeed wasn’t my fault.
It wasn’t until several months later and lots of research on my part that I finally came to the conclusion that my breastfeeding problems were most likely due to insufficient glandular tissue. This was something that was not once mentioned to me as a possible problem. Though, I suppose it doesn’t really matter since the solution was the same either way. But knowing that the problem was due to something completely out of my control did make me feel a little better, and it certainly made my subsequent postpartum transitions a lot easier. I have to admit, though, I do still feel a disappointing sting when I see a mom breastfeeding or hear that someone has SO MUCH MILK she had to buy a deep freeze to hold it all. Yes, my babies all thrived on formula and are now happy and healthy children, but I would have given anything to breastfeed them and still feel sad about it sometimes. I guess the take-away from this story is that I may not have gotten exactly what I wanted, but life goes on (because of formula) and at least I didn’t split my pants in front of thousands of people!
World Breastfeeding Week
It's World Breastfeeding Week, and while we are thrilled to celebrate the many stories of blissful 3am feedings and Oxytocin rushes and all the mommies who can proudly share they are still nursing their babies and toddlers months later, there's another side of the story. For every woman cheerfully announcing her pregnancy, there is another woman mourning the loss of hers or writing yet another check to her fertility doctor to help make her maternity dreams come true, and the same is true of breastfeeding. We know human breast milk is best for babies, and as a premier doula agency in Tulsa, we fully support it, and we also know that even with the best lactation support and all the knowledge in the world some women will be unable to breastfeed for one reason or another.
Breastfeeding Support in Tulsa
We are fully committed to getting you the support you need to achieve your goals in breastfeeding. We have training as postpartum and labor doulas, as well as resources in Tulsa and surrounding communities to breastfeeding education, certified lactation counselors, IBCLC lactation consultants and peer support through La Leche League and the vast community of breastfeeding mothers in this city. If you’re looking for breastfeeding support in Tulsa, Broken Arrow, Jenks, Bixby, Owasso, Claremore, Sand Springs or Sapulpa, contact Tulsa Family Doulas today.