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You probably saw the hashtag trending on your Twitter or your Insta, but this is #nationabreastfeedingweek.  What if you can’t?  A little about me: I have flat nipples. This made breastfeeding painful so I quit. I tried for a few days, cracked a nip in half and threw in the towel. Got myself a nice expensive breast pump and relieved my boobs upwards of 6 times a day in the beginning. For me, exclusive pumping was the solution because I couldn’t tolerate the painful, full feeling of milk filled boob. I described pumping to Baby Daddy in this way: that relief you feel when you finally get to pee after holding it for a while? That’s pumping, boob peeing. Except you can’t hold it in like you can hold pee in, so when your boobs get too full they just start spraying and leaking. Therefore draining those suckers became life. I was not concerned about making enough milk to feed my Future President, my problem was teeny boobies + too much milk. My A cups swelled up to an almost-C and it felt like there was not enough skin to stretch, especially when I went too long between pumps. So what’s a gal to do on social media today with all these Earth Goddess Mothers and their #nationalbreastfeeding hashtags?

How to Feel Cool When Hashtags Got You Down: My Five Step Plan

1) Yeah, that’s right mixing it up and starting with 1 this time. First, acknowledge your feelings, you’re allowed to have them. I actually felt like “less” of a woman when we struggled to breastfeed and that’s a shitty feeling. I don’t want you to linger on the negatives, acknowledge them like the street harassers they are and then keep it moving. “Ok I feel shitty about myself” – now, get your logic talking. Fed is best. Say it with me. Fed is best. The mommy’s job is to care for the baby and the best way to care for the baby is to feed the baby

2) Find your struggle and SHARE it. That’s right, even you shy people. Talk. You’re not alone – my flat nipples have been such a great conversation starter!! Having trouble making a mom friend? Share your feeding story. The more conversations we have about the struggles and the challenges of feeding, the less alone other moms are going to feel. Talk about your surprises in the process. Soon-to-be Moms deserve to know ahead of time that breastfeeding is hard. Use the hashtag to raise awareness about your own struggles.

3) Keep perspective: by the time they’re 5 you’ll have new worries! Sure this sucks now, but it’s basic training for the bigger hurdles coming at you down the road. You’re going to have a lot of situations that don’t go as planned, this is just the first. Wait til they want the iPhone16 when they’re 5 because everyone in the kindergarten has one.

4) Talk to experts. I met with a few lactation consultants, met with a pediatrician and even had a post-birth doula give my boobies a squeeze. While they all offered some education, a few tips and a calming energy, ultimately my flat nipples were not having it. I felt less loser-y after 17 confirmations by experts that my nipples were going to be a problem. For some reason having them confirm it made me feel like less of a quitter.

5) Which brings me to this, YOU ARE NOT A QUITTER. You are an amazing mother. Amazing. Believe that statement because it’s true. Breastfeeding challenges suck because they’re unexpected and gnaw at your identity as a woman. But guess what, you’re the mom, the matriarch and the provider of life and love and because you love your children you’re going to do the best you can for them. And that makes you amazing. Checking your pride and humbling yourself to the transitional process that is becoming a mother is what makes you an amazing woman.

I hope by sharing my struggle to breastfeed that I can help normalize ALL the ways women feed their children. I think it’s amazing that all the mothers who can breastfeed do, and I think the sacrifices that come with exclusive pumping and the challenges of formula feeding belong as part of that hashtag.

How to Celebrate National Breastfeeding Week When You Can’t

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