Lazy Parenting Hack - BOTTLES & FORMULA
Nursing is HARD for many of us. Not just hard but an all consuming process involving pumping, syringes, tubes taped to our breasts, nipple shields to help baby latch, mastitis, red hot swollen breasts and raw, cracked and bleeding nipples. Not to mention the total mental and physical exhaustion from delivery.
During our prenatal classes we were told, in no uncertain terms, that breastfeeding was the only option. I was excited and confident and had no doubts about my ability to master this completely “natural” process. No one warned me that it would be anything other than natural....
In the hospital after my first DD was born, nurses came and checked on us regularly. They taught (mostly preached) the importance of breastfeeding. They observed me trying to latch her on, told me to track, time and feed her every 2-3hrs. She lost weight and they told me to pump. She struggled to nurse and they wanted me to pump to help my milk come in. Nursing was a never ending endeavor. They sent me home with the promise of a health nurse coming to my home to check in on baby and me (and my incision).
Never have I felt like a failure as much as I did each and every time I gave birth and began breastfeeding. Not one of them latched easily and each one took at least 3weeks to get it. With the 1st I had to use of a nipple shield all the time for every feed for the total of 9 months that I managed to nurse. For the others, they eventually got it after taping tubes onto my breasts and teaching them to suck while “faking” my milk coming in with pumped breastmilk. Most new moms know that feeding baby every 2-3hrs actually means almost continually. By the time you start, switch breasts, burp, change diaper and rock to sleep, and then pump...3hrs is up and you have to wake them up again and start all over.
This mama’s mental health suffered. The overwhelming feeling that I was not good enough, not capable, not a good mom...was devastating. Thankfully it was a little bit easier each successive time because I had been to the end of the road and knew what lay at the end. Finally with my 4th, I shooed the nurses away, told them it was my 4th and did things my way. I was less worried about the 10%body weight loss as I knew my big babies would be ok. I knew the signs of jaundice (I look back at pictures of #3 and shake my head at the little orange baby we had for a little while). I knew that supplementing with formula would not make her reject my breast. I knew that pumping was not for me and given time, my milk would come in and my milk production would regulate itself. I knew it would take time and be a struggle but that I would get through it. I stayed home and didn’t try to do everything as I had with my 1st few. With #4, I finally obeyed the no driving and no lifting rule for at least a couple of weeks. I took full advantage of DH and grandmas/family to take the older 3 out and stayed in my room, alone with baby and we figured it out. I didn’t worry about the house, the mess or entertaining guests who wanted to visit. It made a HUGE difference.
So, new mommas-I hope you hear this...LOUD & CLEAR, your mental health is what is most important. Baby being fed is most important. Yes, breast is best but many babies who come too soon, with challenges and struggles just to survive, eventually THRIVE whether fed breast milk or formula. Judging another mom for her choice is wrong. Each mother & baby have their own story, their own struggles, their own journey. Let’s celebrate the successes and the accomplishments of each other and recognize that mental health and PPD must be at the forefront of all stories. Let’s make sure to talk about these issues and help new moms know the signs and know when to seek help and support.
Feel free to share with that person who may need to hear this today xoxo
I also hope you will share your story💗