By: Christine Leeb
It was 2 am. I was holding my second child, only 3 months old, tightly in her swaddle as she squirmed and opened her mouth looking for something to soothe her hungry belly. I walked through the kitchen and stopped. I looked left. I looked right. I pondered which way to turn.
After a long rocky road to actually getting breastfeeding to finally work…after fighting off mastitis infection after mastitis infection…after a horrible kidney stone which led to a kidney infection which led to taking antibiotics that weren’t recommended for breast-feeding…after pumping and dumping for 14 days…I had a choice. I could either turn left and go into the dark family room where I would snuggle her up against me, take out my breast, and see if she would latch on after so long without it. Or I could turn right and head towards the refrigerator to warm up some formula in a bottle that she had already gotten used to. It was time to make a choice. I was at a breastfeeding crossroads, if you will.
I stood there for the longest time…in the dark…thinking…looking left…looking right…pondering my options…wondering what the heck to do.
On the one hand, it would be so easy to quit at this point…
• She was already used to formula.
• She was already used to a bottle.
• I could be done.
• I could have more freedom.
• I wouldn’t have to be the only one that got up with her in the middle of the night to feed her.
• I made it a lot longer than I did with my first child.
• Breast-feeding for two and a half months is nothing to be upset about.
• The bottle was waiting and ready to go!
Turning right seemed to be the easiest choice and to be honest, the choice I was leaning towards.
On the other hand, it would be nice to keep going…
• All the pumping and dumping I did has to be worth my time! (And those who have been attached to your breast pump know how difficult it is to do when you have a toddler running around and a newborn screaming to be held. Often times I would be pumping, trying to read a story to my 3 year old, and bouncing my newborn in a bouncy seat with my right foot. Selfishly, I wanted this 14-day pump-a-thon to be worth it!)
• What if she took to the breast again and kept breast-feeding for a long time?
• Breastfeeding is so much more convenient.
• I would have more snuggle time and bonding time and just me and her time.
• I will never know unless I try.
And so I tried. I turned left. I walked into the family room with my sweet little swaddled buddle, who at this point didn’t care what I did as long as I put some sort of food-giving apparatus in her mouth. I sat down on the couch. My heart was pounding. I put my nipple in her mouth. I held my breath. I said a prayer. Will she take it?
She did! I couldn’t believe that after all this time, she nursed again. What a trooper! For eight more months, I had the privilege of nursing my sweet baby girl–snuggling, bonding, having that special one-on-one time that no one else in the world could ever give to her.
It wasn’t perfect. I continued to get infections and milk blebs and clogged ducts, but we did it. We persevered through it all…together. I’m so grateful that I didn’t quit. I’m so grateful that I turned left and decided to at least try…because had I turned right, I would have always wondered.
CHRISTINE LEEB is known as The Real Mom. She is a speaker, writer, Christian Life Coach, and the founder of 4Real Moms—providing moms with real solutions for real life to help them be the best moms God created them to be. She has 3 beautiful (and exhausting) children and has been married to her husband, Brad, for almost 16 wonderful (and challenging) years. She enjoys garage sale-ing, brownie eating, friendship keeping, book reading, family tickling, and husband dating.