Reality Check: Missed Bonding
Q. I couldn't breastfeed, and even now that my baby's 3 months old, I'm still sad. My husband thinks I should get over it. How can I get him to understand my regret?
A. He may never understand -- there are things that only a mother can feel. But don't worry about what he can't comprehend, and instead surmount your feelings and enjoy the other perks that come from being a mom.
I still remember how sad I was the day my littlest child, Lila, turned her head from my breast and refused to suckle. The moment it happened, I worried that I'd never again feel that incredible sense of closeness with my baby.
But then Lila would smile that gummy grin, or snuggle her soft curls against my cheek, or cry out for me and settle down in the crook of my neck, and I'd know for sure that there's a bond between us that came not from breastfeeding but from the pure, unadulterated love I have for my child. Mothers everywhere feel that -- regardless of whether they pushed the child out of their loins or adopted her from an orphanage on the other side of the world.
It's this connection that you have to focus on -- not whether or not you breastfed. Sure, books and those mommy-group groupies will tell you that your child will bond better if she's breastfed, but there are plenty of children in this world who drank formula and are perfectly happy -- and completely in love with their moms. Your baby will be no exception.
So stop fretting about what you didn't experience, and enjoy what you do have -- a baby who needs your sweet nuzzles and gentle kisses and who loves you, no matter what.