"Are you breastfeeding?" I've come to hate that question. It's so personal, so intrusive I feel. Which is weird for me to say because I tend to over share with everything else in my life. My life is pretty much an open book. But not with that question, it's an issue so sensitive to me and it comes with a lot of baggage.
I particularly hate that question now with Cora because it's confusing. With E, the answer was easy, "No." You can read more about that HERE. But it didn't come out that easy. The "No" was said with shame and guilt. I can still remember answering that question when E was first born. Sometimes I would launch into the explanation of why. Mostly though I would just avoid eye contact while responding, then I'd quickly change the subject. See, lots of baggage.
With Cora, I don't know how to answer. I don't know what to call the way I feed her. I'm not breastfeeding her but she's not on formula either like E was. I pump and feed Cora breast milk in a bottle. Then I pump and pump some more. I've become very acquainted with my breast pump. Thankfully, my milk supply (so far) is plentiful this time and I'm able to provide Cora with just enough milk and don't need to supplement with formula. It seems my body is just not physically made for nursing a baby. Even with all the nipple shields, latch assists, and laction consultant visits, it just does not seem to work. This system is a good compromise for now. I'm feeding Cora my milk which I so desperately wanted to do for E, but I'm still missing out on the nursing experience which is something that will always pain me.
So that's where the confusion comes in when answering, "Are you breastfeeding?" I guess my answer is that I'm just feeding my baby in a way that works for us. I wish I could answer that question with more convction and confidence. Maybe someday when I'm done mourning over my breastfeeding experience, or lack there of, I'll be able to let go of the guilt and all the baggage the comes with the question, "Are you breastfeeding?"