It seems the latest debate is whether to breastfeed or bottle feed. Well, actually, it may not be the latest debate, but it’s the latest one I’ve become aware of. I feel it’s whatever works best for mommy, baby, and family. It really isn’t anyone’s business why or why not and other mothers really ought not judge.
With Monkey, I tried to breastfeed. I really did. But I guess my milk wouldn’t come quick enough. I remember the lactation consultant in the hospital tell me that my baby had loss more than ten percent his birth weight and therefore I would need to pump and supplement with formula. I’m sure this happens to a lot of new moms, but I wasn’t prepared. And as they wheeled in the breast pump and all its supplies, I felt like a failure. As the lactation consultant explained how to use it, all I heard was, “I’m sorry, ma’am, but you just can’t feed your baby. He’s been starving and it’s all your fault! Some mother you are!” And as I walked into my mama’s house when we left the hospital, tears ran down my cheeks as I explained that I had to use formula because I can’t feed my baby. For weeks, I pumped and formula fed and breastfed. I felt like a cow! Wonderful Hubby even made me a homemade breast-pump-suction-thingy-holder. It was an old bra that he cut holes in so I could insert the breast pump and have my hands free. Long story short, this just wasn’t working for me, for us, so I quit. It was one emotional moment in my new mother history that I will never forget.
So when it was time for our Sweet Pea to come, I had decided I wasn’t going to go through that again. If I couldn’t feed her by the time we left the hospital, then formula it would be. Running after an almost 16-month-old while strapped to a pump just didn’t sound like fun to me. Formula worked best…again.
Now here we are, with our Newbie. And being a stay-at-home-mom with three small kids, the cost of formula would drown us! So I prayed. I prayed hard for nine months that I would be able to breast feed. Do you know when I left the hospital, we didn’t take a pump home with us? I wasn’t told that I couldn’t feed my baby. I was shown technique after technique to get him to latch. I called the nurses in at practically every feeding to make sure he was latched on correctly. Even if they just told me an hour or two ago that I was doing It right, I needed confirmation. Instead of feeling like a failure, I felt so successful! I was the breast mom ever!
So I’ve been on both sides. I know what it’s like to not be able to breastfeed, to choose not to breastfeed, and to successfully breastfeed. But that’s not what this is about. Although I’m a mother of three, I feel like a new mom when it comes to breastfeeding. The first few weeks of ultimate pain. The kind of pain where you’re feeding your baby with tears rolling down your face because you’re in so much pain. And the HOURS of cluster feeding, needing cream, using gel pads, and all that “fun” stuff. But I’ve kept with it and I’m doing it! Now don’t get me wrong, if we need formula we use it. And I definitely have my moments of “Is this really what I want to do?” But in the end, I’m sticking with it.
But that’s not what this is really about. Yesterday when I got out of the shower I decided to put on a bra. A regular bra. These past nine weeks I’ve only been wearing nursing tops with a regular shirt. Now, I don’t know if that’s what you’re supposed to do, but that’s what I’ve been doing. Before I could get some nursing pads on, I finished getting ready. And as I was looking in the mirror I saw a spot on a my shirt. A big spot. What did I spill on my shirt? It’s really close to my breast. I couldn’t have possibly leaked through my bra into my shirt, could I? I checked. Yep! Then I thought, “It’ll dry before we leave.” But it didn’t! Apparently breast milk isn’t clear. Duh. And it doesn’t dry. You have to change shirts! Good thing we were at home and hadn’t left the house yet. Lesson #34 in breastfeeding. Nine weeks down, forty-three to go.
*If you are a new mom experience breastfeeding difficulties, check out http://kellymom.com/. It has other great info for parenting, too.