Parenthood is unpredictable. But for those of us extremely organized and plan-oriented people, knowing that parenthood is unpredictable doesn't stop us from making plans. While pregnant, heck even before that, in just wanting to have a baby, I made plans. I wanted a natural drug free labor. I wanted to baby-wear, breastfeed, use cloth diapers and homeschool. I wanted to be a natural mommy. A modern but natural as possible mommy.
Pregnancy was great! But going into our 9th day overdue with little Aurora, we ran into some complications that rendered my natural birth unlikely. So when I finally had her in my arms after a Pitocin induced and epidural AND vacuum assisted labor, I was nonetheless overjoyed! My baby was finally here! But as time went on and I had the chance to process, I was disappointed. The first step in my plan to being a natural mommy had not been accomplished.
Ok. Say it. Just say it.
I am no longer a breastfeeding mom.
*Sigh* I said it. Out loud. Goodbye huge weight lifted off my shoulder. Sorta...
Without going into too much detail...I have preexisting medical conditions and we weren't sure if I was going to even be able to breast feed anyway. So when we were in the hospital, we supplemented with formula. I kept trying to breast feed but it really didn't seem like she was getting anything from me. Coming home was much of the same, trying but still supplementing.
Our pediatrician recommended us to see a lactation consultant. And we did. She really, really helped a bunch. We left feeling so much more confident and ready. The next few days were super, super tough though. She was doing it...breastfeeding...but it was not ideal for either of us. Aurora constantly fell asleep when we tried to breastfeed. Her feedings were stretching into an hour and a half to two hours. (And yes, we tried everything to keep her up: tapping on her feet, blowing on her face, getting her undressed to make her cold and uncomfortable, etc.) If she wasn't falling asleep, she was screaming and thrashing because she was frustrated. Our sweet girl just got so used to the fast flow and material of the bottle. "Nipple confusion" as they call it, is a real thing.
There are lots of benefits to breastfeeding. Free food, boosted health benefits of breast milk, bonding between mom and baby. I'm sure there are lots more that can be added to that list, but that's what I knew and that's what I cared about. I was really excited about saving money… babies are expensive! But I think I was most looking forward to the bonding experience. I had seen and heard so many of my breastfeeding mom friends talk about how wonderful it was to breastfeed. How close you felt to your baby, that it was incredibly intimate. To be able to look down at them while nourishing them made Mommas feel strong and empowered. And even how easy it was. No needing to mix formula and heat up water, just pop out a breast and let your little one go to town.
But it wasn't like that for us. Seeing Rory throw her tantrums while often my breasts got caught in the crossfire as she thrashed (Ow...her tiny hands grabbing at me) was really hurtful. I never blamed her; she had no idea what was going on. All she knew was that she was hungry and it wasn't working like she wanted. Several times I just sat there and silently cried. And when it did work, an hour and a half to two hours and sometimes after that STILL taking a few ounces from a bottle. This would need to occur about 8 times a day. That's a LOT of time spent breastfeeding.
As soon as Andrew saw what a struggle it was for the both of us, he was quick to advocate that we should switch to formula. He wanted to help, take the stress off of his girls and be able to assist more with our little one by sharing in the feedings.
I struggled for a VERY long time with this decision. Breastfeeding has this huge movement and is accompanied with so much pride from moms. As well it should be; it's an amazing accomplishment to be able to nourish and bond in a way no other person can with your baby. But too often moms who don't breastfeed are looked down upon. They are seen as selfish or just not doing all that they can for their babies health. There are a lot of different reasons why moms make the decisions that they do—I think being a mom is hard enough without having to deal with guilt from others. I was so scared about this happening to me.
I felt and still sometimes do feel like a failure. Why couldn't I make it work for us?! Well—my baby is different, I'm different and I shouldn't count someone else's journey and decisions as my own. Having a baby and raising a child is a huge life change and it calls for many, many sacrifices along the road to creating a little person that will one day leave the nest and go out into society.
Really, all three of us made the choice. And it was a good one. We all knew this time is SO delicate for our family. We wanted her to trust us. And after so many hours were being spent being miserable, I was coming to resent and fear feeding her. Rory was just working herself into these insanely pitiful tizzies and poor Andrew just had to standby as his girls were both terribly upset.
I admit, I'm super disappointed that my little darling is gonna miss out on the boosted health benefits of breastfeeding and that we are going to have to make some budget adjustments. But I'm confident that she's going to do great on formula. I'm promising myself to STOP worrying about what other people think. I just need to do what's best for our family, for our special little girl. Ultimately, I just want a healthy and happy baby. And that makes me a good mom.
Hi! I'm Tianna Yentzer, a wife & new stay-at-home mom, photographer & blogger, and die hard Jesus lover. I seek to be honest. I think in the crazy world we live in people but especially women are taught that we have to make everything seem perfect. We learn that it's not okay to be the perfectly imperfect people that this fallen world has made us into. That we should hide our vices and failures and struggles. I hate that. I hate that it seems like we are zombies walking around trying to one up each other instead of getting alongside each other in the trenches and fighting and encouraging each other to be more like our wonderful savior. So I'm honest, vulnerable, and open. And I hope to inspire everyone to be that way too! Find me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, I'd love to fight alongside you in the trenches. Oh and please check out my business website & personal/business blog. Also I am the editor of an awesome new venture called Bumps to Bottles. We strive to create a community of support and inspire creativity in young mommas.