As a first time mom you learn that one of the biggest decisions you have to make is whether to breast or formula feed your newborn baby. There is so much emphasis on which is better and it’s one of the most common things you see other mothers fighting over.
My decision was made very early on but I am not one to judge others for their own personal decisions. I must say though, fed is definitely best and our journey over the past 10 weeks was not what I expected it to be.
Throughout my entire pregnancy my mother told me not to get too attached to the idea of breastfeeding as not many women in my family were able to. This gave me more determination to be able to do it. There are also many studies and things you can do now to enhance your breastfeeding experience.
If you have not heard so already, breastfeeding is hard. It takes a lot of willpower and support. I was already discouraged a couple days after Nora Grace was born, as we got admitted to the hospital due to too much weight loss. Luckily, my milk supply came in full force that day and the nurses were able to show me some good tips and tricks.
Fast forward a few weeks and breastfeeding is going awesome! Nora has no problems latching, it doesn’t hurt, and I’m able to pump a good extra 4 oz in a sitting. The freezer was starting to get full of extra milk bags and I was so happy! Here is where I messed up though.
As the weeks continued to go by, I was no longer able to sit all day every day, feeding and pumping and feeding and pumping. Our moving day and the holidays were fast approaching and instead of taking the few extra minutes to pump, I would just tell myself “it’s okay, we have a good stash already.” Due to this, my supply regulated itself to all that my baby needed. Which was fine. With everything going on, I started asking others to babysit Nora for me. I was so invested in the idea that the only good thing for my child was breast milk, so I would defrost some bags and put it in a bottle. This worked for a few weeks until I started to realize my stash was quickly disappearing, at the same time Nora went through a growth spurt.
Now not only was I feeding constantly, I was supplementing with breast milk in a bottle trying to keep up. The next couple events happened within a couple days of each other. Firstly, amongst all the packing, I somehow lost the handle to my breast pump. Okay, no big deal. Next, we had asked my mother-in-law to babysit the same day we moved our fridge to the new house, the same day we stained those floors in the new house which was two days before we had to move in. So now I’m sitting there, feeding Nora and realizing I have no access to the couple of pumped milk bags I have left, I can’t pump any because I don’t have a breast pump, and I really really need to finish packing.
My heart broke with once again the dreaded thought of “why did we do this all at the same time?!” I felt like I had failed at the one thing I wanted to do so badly. I told myself that we would give her some formula just for that one day…now here we are 3 weeks later and she only breastfeeds in the morning and before bed.
As much as this pains me, I know it’s what works best for both of us. Nora is in a much better mood now that she is not always hungry, mommy gets some much needed me time and Daddy gets bonding time. If she asks for the breast during the day I’ll give it to her, as I know it’s mostly for comfort and I’m okay with that.
Some will argue and say I should have invested more time into it, or made lactation cookies to bring my supply back up but honestly, I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I never have to worry about if I am feeding her enough again.
Lastly, the stigma people have about breastfeeding also makes it difficult to do exclusively. It was challenging having to feed in the car, or leave a family gathering multiple times. I wish it was more accepted so it would be a that much easier for us as mothers trying to do what we think is best for our babies.
What are you personal thoughts on breastfeeding?