Did you breastfeed your baby? Before you answer, keep in mind that I’m not asking, “Did you breastfeed for a 6 months or a year?” I’m not asking “Did you breastfeed exclusively?” I’m not asking, “Did you exclusively pump so your baby could have your milk?” I am asking this:
“Did your baby get any breastmilk?”
Please, let me hear no, “Well, but, I only breastfed…..(fill in the blank here).” You may have not reached the goal you set before you had your baby. You wouldn’t be the first woman not to reach your breastfeeding goal. One of our own lactation consultants was unable to meet her goals. That doesn’t matter. Let’s take a step back and celebrate the amount of mama’s milk – big or small – your baby did get!
I want to congratulate you on the breastfeeding you did. I would like every mom to break her arm patting herself on the back. Every mom I’ve ever known wants to do what’s right for her baby. They want the best. They make the best decisions they can given the resources and information at hand…and too often they spend the rest of their life kicking themselves.
You don’t have to be perfect to be a good mom. Before my kids went to school, I vowed I was going to meet them at the door every day with nutritious, home-baked cookies and spend great, quality time sharing their day with them. Hmmm. I’m sure I did that sometimes. I’m also sure I didn’t do it every day, or even most days. But I have wonderful kids (who are now sharing their terrific grandkids with me) and there is no justification for me to say I failed them because I didn’t live up to what I thought I would be able to do.
There’s lots of talk about not judging other moms, and I applaud that. My point here is about not judging yourself. Give yourself credit for the preparation and thought and effort and angst and love that went into however long you did breastfeed your baby.
Three years? That’s amazing!
Three months? Good for you!
Three days? Your baby got three days of colostrum! Hooray!
Three times? Each of those was a gift.
Whether your feelings when you do/did quit breastfeeding were satisfaction or relief, that’s ok. I have never known a mom who quit willy nilly. Quitting is a difficult decision. Aim high, try hard, and learn from your experiences, but please, please celebrate your accomplishments.