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Monday, December 12, 2016

Boobies vs. Bottles, a Mama struggle.

I've officially been a Mom for six months now. Six months. How in the heck did six months go by?!

For the first month of my daughter, Allie's life, I had no idea what I was doing. When I came home from the hospital the only thing that actually frightened me was feeding her. The most natural thing a mother should be able to do. I was dead set on doing what i'd learned in my breastfeeding class and that would be the best thing for my child. My expectations were very high. 

So I fed my daughter by breast. By the first appointment, my child had lost 14% body weight, a normal anticipated weight loss for newborns within the first week is 10%. 

My first thought in my head was oh no, HOLY SH!T, I've done something wrong. I've been a mother two days and i've failed my child, which is every First Time Mom's worst nightmare.

So I had a lactation consultant come to the house to help almost immediately and we weighed Allie and she had lost more weight. We tried using a nipple shield. That worked temporarily, but by the end of that week, Allie had only gained about an ounce. The nipple shield started rubbing and to say the least my nips were on fire. 

I literally was scared to nurse my child, the pain was unbearable. 

This was a huge problem. On top of being in pain from recovering from delivering a child with a midline episiotomy, sleep deprivation, plummeting hormones and a really hungry, screaming baby,
I had to do something else. 

So I started pumping and supplementing breastmilk by bottle, YIKES. Which I was taught in my breastfeeding class was a really big NO, within the first month. You aren't supposed to introduce a bottle until after a month or until after the little one has latched. Well I was 0 for 2, Allie hadn't latched and she definitely wasn't a month old. I was quickly starting to realize my breastfeeding instructor gave really strict rules that didn't work for me, because remember I was trying to do everything by the book.

SPOILER ALERT: when you have a baby, throw the damn book out the window, it doesn't work for everyone and sometimes you need to do what works for you. 

Overwhelmed doesn't even begin to describe it. However, I knew I had to put my pride aside and do what I could do at the time. Allie didn't end up latching. Ever. In time, Allie started to grow and develop. A whole month went by and I was just exclusively pumping my breastmilk. I felt so guilty. I felt like I was letting my baby down. I cried a lot. I mean I shamed myself so much, my husband would come home and have to pick up the pieces and tell me how ridiculous I was being.

When I look back, what was so wrong with pumping? NOT A DAMN THING. 

I was enjoying my baby and pumping was a pain, but it was working for us and my baby was thriving. 

I felt amazing. 

I fed my baby breastmilk for four months. At about four months, I noticed my milk supply starting to drop. Again, I was faced with another round of good ol' fashioned guilt. You know how hard it is trying to pump during a 12 hour shift is when you're a dayshift nurse on a beyond busy hospital floor? 


I was letting everyone (society/crunchy moms) else get in my head and make me feel shameful for how I was feeding my child. 

I started feeding my child formula and I also started sleeping more. The more sleep I got, the more I was able to wake up and realize how stupid I felt for feeling this way. 

My child is being fed. 

My child is thriving and growing. 

My child is healthy. 

How dare I let anyone make me feel less of a mom for feeding my child the way I needed to. 

Mamas, I have to tell you something right now. It's ok to feed your child formula. Yes, breast milk is without a doubt the best you can give your child, but I think we can all agree that fed is best, no matter how you do it. 

Being a Mom is hard. To the mamas that breastfeed with ease, I applaud you. Will I try my hardest to breastfeed my next baby, sure, but If I can't I will not beat myself up for it.

The Honest Company has an excellent feeding resource page, for moms needing more information about the best options to feed your baby and other excellent products.

Let's change the culture and commit to supporting a Fed is Best mentality.

If anything else, Mama, know you're doing an amazing job.

Until next time. 💗

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