I don’t pretend to be knowledgeable in many things but after having two kids and dealing with the struggles of breastfeeding, bottle feeding, formula, and other feeding related topics I do feel like I have something to share that might be helpful to other mommies and any mommy-to-be. So this is part 1 of my series of ‘Baby feeding struggles’ that will be posted each week for the next few weeks to give you any tips and tricks I have learned along the way with two babies, along with a few rants along the way, I do hope any bit of this will help!
I went into having children with every intention of breast feeding. I took a lactation class, I read books, I got a ‘Medela’ pump from my aunt, I bought nursing bras, breast pads, a nursing pillow,..I was prepared! With my daughter Audrey, she was taken immediately to the NICU and in there for a week, so time for feeding was limited but they set me up with a pump in the hospital, being that I did not anticipate this I had left mine at home. I was very blessed with my supply which came in full force within a day, the nurses kept commenting how much I was producing and their amazement that it happened so fast. Latching didn’t take easy when I did try nursing her in the NICU. I had a lactation consultant come and we did get her to latch but every time it was a struggle. When my girl finally came home with us I continued trying for about a week only to come out defeated every time. I felt like the worst mother in the world. Of course I was pumping the entire time so I had the supply to bottle feed her my milk. I would wake up to breastfeed her at night and then when it wouldn’t work I would get a bottle of my milk and feed her, get her to sleep, then begin pumping. It was a great struggle, but one I was willing to endure to give my daughter the “best”, as they refer to it, “breast is best”. I was told about the sleep deprivation from baby not sleeping but no one quite warns you about the time it takes to breastfeed, or in my case fail, bottle feed, and then pump. To all my fellow pumping mamas we deserve a hats off too, bc it does in fact take that extra effort to pump and build supply even after feeding your child, your sleep time and alone time depletes even more. After much frustration and many crying sessions, on both baby and my part, I finally threw in the burp cloth. The guilt i felt was unimaginable, I felt as if my husband was going to think I was a bad mother, as if society would judge me, as if I was harming my daughters future. But what hindsight now tells me is that just because you choose a different path with your children, bottle or breast, formula or breast milk, diapers or cloth, organic or not, the list goes on and on and I’m here to say that it is your job as a mother to review the options, and make the best decision for not only your child but for yourself! So screw those that have never even tried and are spouting opinions, screw those that have and are on their high horses(throw them a sugar cube for said horse).
My “failure” with breastfeeding didn’t stop the bond between me and my baby, it didn’t delay my child’s intelligence, everything I feared turned out just fine. I think we are so scared as mothers now for straying away from the norm or the hip that it honestly develops a deep mommy anxiety within us.
I did continue pumping my milk for my daughter, I in fact did with both my daughters, since neither took to the boob. Pumping was still a struggle when it came to sleep because I still had to feed first then pump but it slowly just became routine. It was even helpful at night because my husband would take a couple shifts in between so I could catch more shut eye before my next pumping session.
I ended up building quite the back stock with both girls and froze a great deal to keep up for later on in future months. We may not always have success with all things in motherhood, and that is ok! We do the best we can and we need to remember that is more than enough!