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We started Z on formula today.  Part of me is relieved about this. It means that pumping will no longer be a nightmare measured in ounces. It means that I can stop desperately trying to stockpile three days worth of milk in the freezer for when I have to travel. It means that if a late afternoon meeting runs over, I don’t have to choose between getting home in time to bathe her and put her to sleep or staying at work to pump so that I have enough milk to feed her the next day.

Mostly, I feel like a failure.

I couldn’t make enough milk for my daughter. I wasn’t willing to work hard enough. To pump longer, or more often. I cared more about my own convenience than about her health. I’m worried that writing this down will make people think less of me.

My friends who post stories on Facebook about how breastfeeding is the best thing you can do for your baby. My friends and family who’ve had kids and breastfed all the through.

I could justify it. I could tell you how long I struggled with this decision. I could tell you I asked my husband to buy the formula, because I couldn’t do it myself. I could tell you I pump five times a day, starting at six and ending at midnight, and I still can’t always get enough milk. I could tell you I’m trying not to cry while I type this. I could tell you that we’re just supplementing, not switching over to all formula.

But none of that matters, because I still feel like I’ve failed.

The women of my mother’s generation fought so that their daughters could have it all. A career. A family.

The women of my generation need to fight so that our daughters have it right. Parental leave for both parents that’s long enough to get back to human. A culture that views parenting as work which is just as hard and important as any other job – and compensates parents for the time they spend raising their children. An understanding that if one partner in a relationship wants it “all”, the other will need to make sacrifices in equal proportion. A culture free of judgement, free of the mommy wars, focused instead on what works for each family.

#haveitright