Losing the bond
I wrote part of this in response to a FFing mom asking what was so special about the BFing bond. I found myself getting all personal so I cut it short, put it here and added to it. I guess I just wanted to share it somewhere that I knew it would be understood. And in the event (god forbid) that another mama here goes through something similar I thought it might be helpful...
In my experience BF provided a much more powerful bond with my baby than FF has. I've recently had to suddenly wean my BF son to formula due to his health problems. He was only 9 months old. It absolutely broke my heart. I nursed my daughter until she was 2 and just assumed I would do the same, if not longer, with my son. In the weeks after I stopped nursing (I can't even really call it weaning because weaning is a process and this was so sudden- one minute I was a proud breastfeeding mother and the next I was no longer allowed to nurse) I felt myself distancing myself from my own baby, literally unbonding, trying to make myself not care quite so much so maybe it wouldn't hurt as much.
Obviously for me breastfeeding was a HUGE part of being a mother. I would absolutely go so far as to say that nursing was central to my mothering philosophy. So when that was taken away from me I felt like my feet had been knocked out from under me and I was flailing. I felt like less of a mother. Every time I watched someone else give him a bottle I wanted to cry. I truly felt like he didn't need me anymore because anyone could feed him now. I tried not to think at all when I gave him a bottle- or when I did think I tried to focus on how glad I was that he was taking the bottle from me because it would have been a whole lot harder if he hadn't.
It's been nearly a month now and I'm just starting to feel like that bond is coming back (to be honest I'm only just now starting to feel like I'm ready to let the bond come back). I'm finding new ways to reinforce to myself that my son needs me, not just a caretaker- someone to mix the formula and change his diaper, but me specifically. I still have these panicky moments of not knowing how to mother him without my breast. Especially when he wakes up at night, fussing about nothing in particular. BFing was always my magic fix-all and now I don't have that magic anymore so I have to make do with other things. Things that take a lot more time and effort, to be honest. Things that are sometimes a total pain in the ass. I have no idea what I'm going to do when he gets sick...grows a tooth...bumps his head...I'll figure it out as I go, I suppose. Just like any mother.
Several times I've found myself out somewhere and realized that I totally forgot to bring his formula with me. Or I have the formula, but no bottle. Or I have the formula and the bottle, but no source of clean water. Obviously I need to get a new system down and I'm sure I will with more experience. But in the meantime, I think I'm allowed the occasional despairing cry or angry rant. It doesn't mean that I'm not happy that he feels better. It doesn't mean that I'm not glad that an alternative existed when it was needed. It just means that I wish I didn't need it. I miss nursing. I miss the effortless bond, I miss the convenience, I miss the magic.
So to end on a hopeful note, I am working on rediscovering my bond. I'll let you know how it's going.
Last edited by @llli*norasmommy; December 16th, 2009 at 04:20 PM.
“We are not put on earth for ourselves, but are placed here for each other. If you are there always for others, then in time of need, someone will be there for you.”