Let me preface this post with this:
Do you, boo boo.
Whether that is natural breastfeeding, formula feeding, pumping/bottle feeding, just do what works for you and your child! I had such a hard time realizing this that “fed is best” whatever that means to you.
I had this insane notion that if I was unable to breastfeed my son naturally that I would not be able to “bond with him” the way a mother is supposed to. I was afraid that we wouldn’t have that mother-child connection that natural breastfeeding is supposed to bring.
It was in my plan to breastfeed my son, naturally. In fact (and in hindsight, this was insanely stupid of me) I did no research into what you do if you can’t breastfeed! So there I was hours after my son was born, emotional, exhausted and what do you know…we’re having a very hard time nursing. The lactation specialist took a look at Wyatt and told me that he had a very significant tongue tie meaning he can’t lift his tongue off the floor of his mouth, a movement that is necessary to latch properly. They told me that this could be fixed with a simple procedure and from there he would have no problem latching on.
However, until that appointment (four days later) we were going to need to bottle feed him formula. In my incredibly emotional state, this devastated me, this was not in my plan!
I started to feel incredibly overwhelmed. I was crying, in complete hysterics. I just kept thinking
“Wow, already I can’t do something for my son, already I am failing at this.”
Now…I know this is ridiculous and irrational but hey those postpartum emotions are no freaking joke.
Long story short, four days later we had the tongue clip procedure and I was so excited! Finally, Wyatt will be latched and we can get off this formula and bottle feeding (I was still formula feeding because my supply still had not come in). Wyatt had the procedure with no problems and the Doctor quickly wanted to try to get him to latch.
Fun fact for ya:
Ladies, the number of times you end up just whipping your boobs out for someone in the days that follow the birth of your child is ridiculous. At one point I wanted to be like, “Can someone at least turn on a webcam, we might as well make some cash for all this”, it’s insane.
Anyway, Wyatt still wasn’t latching. It was like he just didn’t know what to do. After that appointment, I went home and just cried. I cried because I truly felt like I had already failed him at something. This was supposed to come so naturally to us, what was wrong with me?! The following day I saw another lactation specialist (yep, the twins were making another appearance for someone, I swear these Doctors had gotten more action than my husband in those few days than he had in months, poor guy). Miracle! The lactation specialist got him to latch, hallelujah! However, he was not having “nutritive sucks” aka he was just…on there, crying and falling asleep (one of the two). It was awful. She told me to go home and “practice” with him before I feed him to let him try to latch and do this for 15 minutes on each side. My supply was in at this point so I was able to pump which meant we were off formula.
This “practicing” was horrible. The whole journey was a train wreck for both my son and myself. I had so many amazing women share their tips and tricks with me and it just wasn’t working for us. One morning something in my mind just…clicked.
Wyatt started crying because he was hungry, which meant it was go time. I whipped them out, tried to get him to latch, and he screamed for 5 minutes straight. I was sweating and borderline crying, he was in hysterics, all because I WANTED to breastfeed naturally. My son was crying, letting me know he was hungry and instead of feeding him, I was forcing him to do something that he just wasn’t going to do all because it was what I WANTED.
I looked over and saw a perfectly good bottle full of MY MILK that I pumped and yet here I was still working at trying to get him to latch despite my sons many, many attempts to let me know it’s not for him. It was in that moment I just said to myself,
“Nope! No More.”
I pulled him away from me, grabbed his bottle, and fed my son. I was done feeling this mommy guilt over something that both he nor I could control. Our inability to nurse was nothing that was going to affect our relationship and this insane pressure I was putting on myself was taking all the joy out of my first few days as his mommy. I was done. From that moment on I didn’t let myself feel that guilt again.
We have been exclusively pumping and bottle feeding for a month now and it has worked great for us. I look forward to those peaceful moments in the middle of the night with him, just us and his bottle just the way I would feel if I was breastfeeding him normally. I feel so fortunate that I was able to come home from the hospital and have my breast pump there waiting for me. I don’t know if you know this but those things are freaking expensive. I got my pump through Aeroflow, a provider that helps moms qualify for their breast pump for free with the help of their insurance. Aeroflow made it so easy, the process took less than 5 minutes and before I knew it, my breast pump had arrived.I think that from the moment I placed my order through Aeroflow it was only maybe 3 days until the pump arrived, it was amazing. I seriously don’t know what I would have done if in those moments of panic if I wasn’t able to lean over and pump milk for my baby who wasn’t able to nurse naturally. The pump I chose was the Medela Pump In Style Advanced and I have been absolutely loving it.
At the end of the day, I guess what I am trying to say is ladies we are UP AGAINST IT when it comes to what you “SHOULD” be doing for your child. I have learned that what I should be doing…is what works best for me and my son, not what society and the mommy clubs are telling me to do. We are all in this together mamas and your journey is your unique journey with your child. Everyone has a different path that motherhood sets before them. The bumps in the road, the hiccups along the way are all the things that are creating this beautiful, amazing journey that we are on as mother and child. So, to all you other first time moms out there struggling to know if you’re doing the right thing – take a deep breath, snuggle your baby, and remember that you are their mama and that if they could speak they would tell you what an amazing job you’re doing.