That is the question! For me, it was never an option. Of course I was going to breastfeed. My mother breastfed. All of my sister-in-laws breastfed. It seemed natural. Until I actually tried it, that is.
After I gave birth to J, I was having some difficulty getting her to latch on so a nurse came into my hospital room to try and help. "Oh, you have flat nipples. This isn't going to work." My first thought was "Flat nipples, what the hell does that mean?" Then, I felt like a complete failure. It never even entered my mind that there might be a problem. Now, there wasn't really a PROBLEM, but the nurse's reaction to my less-than-perky nipples made me feel as if it wasn't possible for me to breastfeed. Instead, all I needed were those god awful breast shields that are supposed to draw out your nipple (and consequently make your boobs a leaky mess).
So I started using the shields but it really wasn't helpful. I was in a lot of pain because she wasn't latching on the right way. I was also uncomfortable. I've seen women on television or in magazines who can breastfeed lying down or in a restaurant but I couldn't even get comfy on my couch with a boppy pillow holding her head up. My back hurt. I was sooooo over emotional and I wanted to stop trying. Guilt kept me going for at least 6 weeks but I bought a breast pump and gave her bottles of my milk for the last 2 or 3 weeks. My feeling was, at least she's getting the nutrients she needs.
Finally, I gave up and things got so much better. I was much more relaxed and the time I spent with J was just as special. I still held her close to me, I still got to gaze into those hazel eyes as she sucked down a bottle. I just couldn't believe how much guilt I felt. I felt like I was letting her down. My first task as a new mom and I couldn't even handle it.
Now my dilemma is this: what do I do with the next one? Do I try again, armed with the information that yes, my nipples are flat, but I'll just have to work harder. Or do I go straight to the bottle? Is my next child going to suffer because of my fears or inadequacies? It's a sensitive subject for a lot of moms. What would you do?
Oh and thanks to Mom-101 for the topic idea. Go check out her post about weaning!