I started re-reading my breast-feeding book again, in preparation for the baby's arrival. I love this book, because I felt like it gave me a very real sense of what breast-feeding was like (in the beginning, it's not always easy, it can hurt, but it gets better) and a really good knowledge of information (nearly every woman CAN breastfeed, but it will depend on how hard she tries if she has problems, as to how successful she is, etc.). HOWEVER, I also believe it has a ton of "propaganda" that made me, for one, feel that the one time I had to give my baby some formula in those early days (my milk came in all at once one evening and my breasts were so hard a full that Fuss couldn't latch - it was like trying to suck on a brick wall. She was screaming, I was hormonal and freaked out and in pain and I had to feed my baby. It was also the middle of the night and I had no option of someone to call for help) I had "ruined" her digestive tract and set her up for all sorts of problems. (I kept crying and saying "I'm so sorry, baby!" over and over again.) It messed me up in that way and I regret that moment.
I am a big believer in doing what you have to do to feed your baby. I strongly support breast-feeding and I encourage all moms to try it, to the true best of their ability, for at least one MONTH (not one day or week) to see if they can get the hang of it with a good, honest try, but I also know that there are times when a mother can't, or shouldn't breastfeed for physical or medical reasons (breast reduction surgery, need to go on medications quickly that would be harmful for the infant if breastfeeding while the mother was taking them, etc.) And that sometimes, for the health and sanity of the mother, it just isn't the best option for her and her infant. (You need to do what is best for BOTH of you, so if it's taking that much of a toll on your personal sanity, then do what you have to do.)
Anyhow, I've come to the conclusion, though that it would be very difficult to write a book that conveys that thought process - that breast is truly best and you HAVE to keep trying to have a good chance at succeeding (though there are plenty of women and children to whom it DOES come easy and really enjoy it in the process...), but that, in the end, if you can't do it, for any myriad of legitimate reasons, that it's okay, as long as you tried your best. Because ultimately, you have to feed your child and you should never apologize for that. (be it in public, or with formula, etc.)
I also think that you have to have that support system at home and then some. I never would have stuck it out if my husband had been against it or really blase' about the whole thing... I encouraged him before we even began to be my encourager and my supporter, and he really was the one I leaned on whenever I needed someone to lean on in those rough days (and that was often.) But my mom was so encouraging and so was my Gramma (even though she never breastfed - you just didn't do that in the 50's), so it was really nice to have those "rah, rah" people in my corner. I also knew that my girls on the Luckies were there for me, though in the earliest days, I didn't spend as much time on the board as I had pre-delivery (simply because I never mastered typing while breastfeeding and the like), but they were great in those days when I did check in and needed an encouraging word or 12.
In conclusion, (I've noticed that a lot of times I end my posts without an obvious conclusion and I'm going to attempt to remedy that - at least sometimes...) I am getting ready for this kid and I am determined to do a better job this time around, though I am proud of the job I did with Fuss. I know more now, I am better equipped and much more experienced and I believe I am ready.