Feeding a baby is difficult.
Sure sometimes it works right away and that is amazing, but I’m at the age that I know a lot of people who have young babies. Most of them have struggled in one way or another when it comes to feeding.
Whether it’s getting the baby to latch, getting the baby to suck, producing enough milk, finding the right formula, the baby being too gassy, blood in stool, has mucus in stool, won’t eat enough, finding the right bottle. The list goes on and on and on and on and on.
I’m at the point in this post that someone is probably already annoyed. Formula feeding moms may be thinking this is yet another post about breastfeeding, and breastfeeding mom’s may feel mislead because this isn’t a post about breastfeeding. Well, this is a post about feeding. If you feed your baby don’t judge someone else for how they feed theirs.
I. can’t. breastfeed.
I don’t have breast tissue or nipples for that matter.
That is why I can’t breastfeed…BUT other people may not be able to breastfeed for a number of reasons, one of which might be that they just don’t want to and THAT IS FINE. It is their body and choice.
WHY must society make people feel like less because they can’t or don’t? It’s a struggle to feed a baby regardless of additional pressures of feeling inadequate.
(Sidebar: I have literally thought about writing this post for nearly two years. I never knew how to go about it without offending someone. My emotions regarding feeding both Fallon and now Elliot, have been full spectrum. With Fallon, I definitely suffered postpartum depression.)
Feeling inadequate is something I have struggled with since the day Fallon was born.
I stayed SO positive through my mastectomy, reconstruction and everything in between and beyond…but the day Fallon was born, I needed help feeding her.
My background is in early childhood education, so I had child development courses that taught me about all of the stages of pregnancy and beyond until the child reaches 8 years old. SO I knew when Fallon was having a hard time sucking that was something that happens to babies, but I didn’t know how to fix it. No big deal. I would ask someone at the hospital. I asked my nurse, and she sent in a lactation consultant. No big deal, I figured they would be helpful because they clearly know how to help me. Boy, was I wrong! The lactation consultant came in and said, “Well, I can’t help you because you’re bottle feeding.” The judgment in her voice came out like burning flames and from that moment I felt inadequate.
I have known since I was SEVENTEEN years old and had my lumpectomy that I wouldn’t be able to breastfeed. It was never in the cards for me. But in that moment, less than 24 hours after my beautiful little baby was born, my confidence as a mother was ripped away from me, and it took a long time to get it back.
Fallon went through multiple formulas until we finally started making homemade goat milk formula. It worked wonders for her, as goat milk is the closest thing to human breast milk. However, we stopped when she was 10 months old because of the risks of using raw goat milk. We gave her powdered goat milk formula until she completely went to table food at 11 months old. Right before we stopped though, we had expensive blood work done for Fallon because a medical doctor was convinced that we were hurting her. When the doctor called she informed us that her numbers were off the charts, so the goat milk was clearly doing something right. To this day Fallon has yet to have an ear infection, (knock on wood). I definitely credit a lot of that to her chiropractic care, but also the goat milk formula we made.
After Fallon stopped drinking formula it was like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. I think that was finally when I started feeling like a legit mom again.
But by that time I was already pregnant with Elliot and the anxiety of feeding another baby formula was always in the back of my mind.
I decided that this time we would just use whatever formula the hospital gave us and go from there. Ellie did really well for the first few weeks on the formula but then started to develop symptoms of colic, was uncomfortable a lot of the time, and was spitting up pretty frequently. We switched her to Gentlease, then to Similac Sensitive, then to a soy formula (for literally two bottles and then she vomited a lot, all over Jeff), then to Nutramigen, and FINALLY to ready to feed Alimentum.
She had diarrhea for about three weeks straight, and I literally called the doctor Every. Single. Day. I knew something wasn’t right with Ellie and kept trying to get them to help me figure it out. She was not well, she was losing weight, and sleeping the majority of the time, was colicky, and just didn’t feel good. (I had a very strong feeling it was milk protein allergy and GERD… turns out I was right.) I finally demanded long enough that someone help me and they finally supported our switch to the hypoallergenic formula.
LET ME TELL YOU…IT WORKED WONDERS.
Ellie is SO much happier now. AND she’s thriving…finally. She’s able to stay awake and interact with us and is starting to meet some of her developmental milestones that she was falling behind on.
I’m sure that some people are probably thinking, I bet these girls both would have been perfectly fine had they been breastfed. Sure, maybe you’re right. I’ll never know because that wasn’t in the cards for me. But I’ll be damned if anyone makes me feel like less of a mom again because I didn’t.
If you formula feed, pump, supplement, breastfeed, or whatever good for you. You do you and don’t ever feel like it’s not enough.