This is going to be a long one, but a topic I think lots of moms like to share and hear others experiences on. Breast-feeding, pumping, bottle-feeding, formula feeding, hypo-allergenic formula feeding — did I cover all of them?? I’ve pretty much done all of these between my two kids and am sharing the ups and downs of what we went through.
|Brian happily chugging a bottle around 8 months and little Gracie and me bonding in the hospital|
I guess you could say I’m an easy-going person in that whatever works is A-OK in my book. Although I wanted to feel and experience all the hype of breast-feeding, I never put too much pressure on myself to exclusively breastfeed. I wanted my babies to have bottles from the start because I could not mentally handle the fact of being their only source of food. In the hospital, I needed my sleep to recover from labor and was happy to say goodnight to my baby in the nursery until the second I opened my eyes, IN THE MORNING. Yes I missed them, but I wanted to be rested to care for them during the day and when we got home.
With Brian, now 2, we had a little trouble with the latch at first but got the hang of it in a couple days. During that time I had lactation consultant after lactation consultant coming in to look at our latch, squeeze my boobs, hook me up the hospital grade pumps to get the milk to come in, it was all pretty overwhelming to be honest. When he finally latched, I’ll admit, it felt magical, I got it. The bonding was unreal and I was so happy that my baby was getting my colostrum and milk. Flash forward three days at home: my nipples were sore, cracked and bleeding. The pain was excruciating and I wanted to stop but those LC voices were in my head telling me that my baby would be doomed if I didn’t breastfeed. So I called a lactation consultant in Stamford, Lorna Aliperti, who is the best. She came to my house and was so honest and real with me. She could see the look on my face that it was not working so she told me what I wanted to hear, get him off the breast to heal your nipples, up the amount of formula I was giving him, and only if I wanted to, pump. I loved how she came in with no agenda but to assess our particular and personal situation and go from there. She assured me he would be fine on formula and just as well on pumped milk so I did both for a month until my postpartum hormones dropped and some anxiety kicked in where I wasn’t feeling 100% like myself. Shortly after, we went straight formula, I was smiling ear to ear, so was little Brian, and I never looked back 🙂 We bonded during those bottle-feedings like no one’s business. He is as smart as a whip and as healthy as can be.
Flash forward two years to Grace 🙂 She latched right on, got all my colostrum and the milk was flowing. She got a bottle from the start so I never had to deal with her not taking one and again, it eased my mind about not being her sole source of food. During those early days and late nights, it’s so helpful to have a mother and husband who can jump in to do feedings. The whole feeding experience was going wonderful in the hospital and at home. I was rested because others could help at night and she had no nipple confusion. Once Brian Sr. went back to work things got a little tricky because she was feeding on me just about every hour and I was trying to simultaneously be a mother to my super active, dare-devil, attention seeking toddler. He was definitely feeling the change in the house with this new tiny human-being taking all of my attention so bottles became more and more a part of our routine. Grace was adjusting beautifully and gaining weight like a champ. A few weeks later we saw some blood in her stool which signaled an allergy. I got her off the breast completely to rule out the many variables it could have been, and I wasn’t dedicated or interested enough in keeping her on my breast to do an elimination diet, and the blood went away, go figure.
SO that’s my feeding journey. Breastfeeding advocation is all over the damn place, in doctors offices, magazines, blogs, etc… but for those of us who choose not to and/or can not breastfeed, there is no reason we should view formula as a second-best option because it’s not. The only option is what works for each individual mother and child and no one should make you feel inadequate for one-tenth of a second for that, nor should you feel you have to have an explanation for your choices. We are a sisterhood and a community of mothers and I wish for no one to ever feel shamed for the way they feed their baby. A fed baby is a happy baby no matter what or how it got there 😉 In short, everyone should mind their own effing business.
Oh, and in a most recent study covered by Time Magazine that was originally published in the journal Social Science & Medicine researchers looked at 1,773 sibling pairs where at least one child was breast-fed and at least one child was not. Researchers measured 11 outcomes previously shown to be impacted by breast-feeding: body mass index (BMI); obesity; asthma; hyperactivity; parental attachment; behavior compliance; and achievement in vocabulary, reading recognition, math ability, intelligence and scholastic competence, the benefits were not statistically significant. The exception was that breast-fed children were at higher risk for asthma, though it was unclear if those reports were self-generated or actual diagnoses. The article goes on to state that perhaps we should focus our attention and energy on other factors affecting a child’s long-term outlook, like child care, maternity leave, school quality, housing and employment. BOOM.