I have been writing about the importance of breastfeeding for years, so it was rather ironic and very shocking to me when after feeding my son for four years, I was then unable to give the same gift to my daughter.
She was born pink and perfect, save for the fact that her digestive system just didn’t work. Over the months we went back and forth with our breastfeeding relationship. I offered her the breast as often as I could, though she continued to refuse it. I fought to get her tongue tie cut and I finally managed to get her to latch with the use of nipple shields. For a blissful few months we managed four to six five minute feeds a day, and I was hopeful that this would continue to grow, though the majority of the milk sat undigested in her tummy. But as the weeks went on, the milk made her more and more uncomfortable. She squirmed away from the breast, and when she did latch it would only be for a minute or two.
Then she had major surgery, and after that try as I might I could not get her to feed. When I did manage to coerce a few sucks, she would be so uncomfortable and distressed the rest of the day that I felt guilty and awful for pushing her.
I continued to express daily, wanting to build a stash of milk she might someday drink, and keep my supply up in case she should suddenly take to the breast. But as the months went on it became apparent that it wasn’t going to happen.