Should I have tried harder?

My daughter is now three months old, and I love her more than I ever knew possible. I wanted to breastfeed, it was always my plan, but part of me always knew that it might not be possible.

During puberty, my breasts never seemed to develop fully. I was a size 12 (UK size) but barely filling an AA bra. I felt so out of proportion, and I was very insecure, so much so that I got a breast enlargement.

I’m kicking myself that I never went to the doctors beforehand to have my breasts or lack thereof, examined. When my daughter was born, I breastfed her, but she lost far too much weight. The midwife told me if she lost any more then she would have to be hospitalized.

I was told I needed to breastfeed, then express and top up with formula. I did as I was told but I was producing less than an ounce, and this was doing it at least eight times a day. Then I got mastitis. I wasn’t in a lot of pain, but my breasts were hot to the touch and had red patches on them. My nipples were also incredibly sore. I was exhausted.

When I went to the midwife to be examined, I told her that I was going to stop breastfeeding. She made me feel even worse by telling me it felt like there was a lot of milk and that it was a shame I was drying up.

I just didn’t want to starve my baby. I never engorged, which led me to believe there wasn’t any milk there. My daughter is exclusively formula fed now and is happy, but I often get comments on how big she is, and I worry it’s because she’s formula fed.

Maybe I should have tried for longer and done more to increase my supply, but I was so exhausted, and it seemed futile. I still feel guilty about it now. If I were to have another baby, maybe I would try again, but I don’t know if it would be different. There should be more support for women like us. I feel like such a failure and a bad mum.

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