Monday, August 11, 2014

Keyboard Confessional: Feeding My Baby Like You Feed Yours

Now that World Breastfeeding Week is over, I feel like I can talk a little more about something that's been bothering me for a while. It can be summed up easily in one simple question:

Why does it matter how I feed my child?

I see Formula Awareness campaigns, Public Breastfeeding campaigns, and all I can think is, why is there a line in the sand here?
Being a Mommy is hard work, and when you get that new bundle of joy, it doesn't matter if it's your first or your fifth, you're going to run into some snags. Why? Because every baby is different.

Baby Isabel was born during the Polar Vortex week in January. You know, when it was -50 degrees outside, before the wind chill. I wanted to breastfeed, and was adamant about nursing every two hours. So was Isabel. She latched on wonderfully, and painfully, after three attempts. Things went downhill from there.
After coming home from the hospital, and my milk came in, I was so engorged that she wouldn't, and couldn't, nurse. The pain was agonizing, and I spent my first day home going back and forth between bouts of hormonal and anxious sobbing fits, and putting bags of frozen corn on my breasts. Anytime I tried to pump, I got an ounce. That's a good bit! But my boobs were still so sore and aching! My anxiety didn't make for an inviting nursing experience.
First night home from the hospital- champion latcher refused breast; pumping begins, with Daddy feedings.

Two months later: Not gaining enough weight. 1 bottle of formula is supplemented. Sissy bonding time :)

After a month, Breastfeeding got easier. Much easier. On-demand nursing was awesome, and it brought Isabel and I closer together. I spent six weeks on maternity leave, and I felt confident that what I had been pumping between feedings would be enough for the few hours of daycare my Little One needed when I went back to work. Not only was that an underestimation, it was another blow to my Mommy ego. Back at work, my supply dropped significantly. I went back to pumping only an ounce or two during my break. My freezer supply was gone before I knew it, and I had to start supplementing. The truth hit even harder after our two month check up: Isabel wasn't gaining enough weight. She was a petite baby to begin with, compared to the 14 lbs some two-month-olds weighed. But she was healthy. The pediatrician suggested one bottle of formula a day, in addition to the breastmilk. So, after a couple days of trial and error, my childcare provider and I found a formula that Isabel liked, and went with the 'one bottle' rule. I would continue to Exclusively Breastfeed on my days off, otherwise. I knew it was the only way to keep the milk flowing.

To this day, she still takes one bottle of formula at daycare because I do not pump enough to keep up with her feedings.

Seven Months Old: Happiest when she can play with her toes AND breastfeed. 

There is a line drawn in the sand between Formula Feeding Mamas, and Breastfeeding Mamas, and it needs to be wiped out.

We need to be supportive of ALL Mamas out there, regardless of how we each feed our baby. Because every baby is different. Every need is different. And no way is 'more superior' than the other, because the baby's needs are being met.

There isn't a day that goes by that I'm not connected to a pump at some point or another. Even if it means I'm only able to give her a 2 oz snack before dinner.