Yesterday I failed as a parent for the first time. It’s not like I have always known what I was doing but I always felt it was a learning process with room for error. Babies are made for new parents after all. So when something hasn’t gone to plan or has been hard I learned from it.
But last night Stormy has unhappy. And after the usual trial and error I tried feeding him but I knew I was out. So we heated up some formula just in case and the kid downed it all and cried for seconds.
And suddenly I realized he’d been fuzzy in the afternoons for a while. And sometimes cried after eating. And it struck me. I am not producing enough. He wasn’t crying to show he was done, he was crying to tell me I was done.
I don’t feel like a failure because I’m not producing enough and I’ll tell you why: If I say I am a failure for not being able to breastfeed fully I am saying that moms who can’t breastfeed are a failure and besides being a rude, shitty thing to say it’s also not true. My (or your) ability to parent is not in the breasts. To parent is to care, love, raise and feed.
No. I felt like a failure because I didn’t notice something was wrong sooner. That my happy smiling baby turned into a crying and unhappy version of himself almost every afternoon and I thought he was just being a baby and babies are fuzzy. I feel like I should point out that he hasn’t been losing weight, he has made dirty diapers as usual, the only telltale sign was his unhappiness. But it should have enough.
I’m not looking for reassurance or for you to tell me I didn’t fail. I did but it’s okay. I will still breastfeed him as much as possible but we will also supplement. Because fed is best. I have no pride in my ability to feed with my body but I have pride in taking good care of my child.
I cried feeding him that bottle because for the first time I had let him down. But I know I will fail again. And hopefully I will also realize it and fix it. Because parenting is also that. Correcting your mistakes as you make them.
Making mistakes does not make you a bad parent. But thinking you can do no wrong might.