This post is a part of PAIL's monthly theme, "Feeding Your Child".
How a woman feeds her baby is a hot topic. And, personally, I really don't feel it should be. Sure, there are women out there who have no sense and don't care what the best way to feed their child is or whether or not they are getting proper nutrition (the best example of this was the girl feeding her 10 month old a giant slurpee), but that's certainly not the majority of women. Most of us go into parenting with good intentions, we want to feed our children what's best for them. We want to make sure they are getting the right nutrition. We all know that breastfeeding is good for moms and babies and so many doctors/hospitals/medical professionals push it on new moms. I would assume that they do it with the best of intentions. But, here's the thing, breastfeeding isn't always easy or the best choice for women.
When it came to feeding my kids, I always knew I'd at least try to breastfeed. And, I assumed, it would come easily. Or, maybe, I was just hoping it would come easily. I went down the whole IF/TTC and so I thought that my body owed it to me to this one thing right. Then I had a c-section and I didn't get to feed Piper until we were in recovery and at that point I was throwing up. On her second day, she didn't eat for over 8 hours and the nurse forced us into giving her sugar water. We ended up spending $120 in copays taking her to the doctor for weight gain and, finally, on day 10 we were forced to supplement with formula. (And I'm not blaming any of this on my doc). Piper started gaining weight and I decided that because breastfeeding was so painful that I would continue pumping and Piper would eat solely from bottles. I pumped for her until she was 6 months old at which point I weaned so we could TTC #2. I hated all the women who told me I just didn't try hard enough or that I shouldn't have listened to my doctors. I felt judged for making a decision that to MBL and I was a no brainer. I either had to give Piper formula or she was going to have to go back the hospital for failure to thrive. My body just didn't produce enough milk plain and simple.
Now, when I got pregnant (naturally!) with #2, I was hopeful. I knew I wanted to try breastfeeding again and I was hoping that my body would somehow have figured everything out. I got pregnant without medical intervention, surely my body could figure out how to properly feed our little one, right? Delivery went well, I was able to VBAC and Finn came out ready to eat. He latched great and it was only painful for the first 30 or so seconds. But, our very first night home I had to supplement. He just continued to cry and cry until we gave him a bottle. It ended up being a blessing because I was readmitted to the hospital the next morning and since we already knew he could take a bottle and tolerated formula, that's what he was given while I was gone (plus I couldn't give him what I pumped due to the meds I was on). Since then, we've happily done a breastfeeding/formula feeding combo. Finn gets about 40% breast milk and 60% formula. Now, there are women out there who would tell me that I haven't tried my hardest or done my best because I didn't go on medications to increase my supply or sit and pump after I nursed. And, it's true, I only tried medication for a while and pumping after feeding was just not reasonable with a 2 year old running around. I'm sure I could have done more to get a *little* more, but it just wasn't worth it to me.
But, here's the catch with how things have worked out this time around, I feel good about what Finn is eating because it was MY choice. When I knew that exclusively breastfeeding wasn't going to work out, it was easy for me to supplement. Easy because I knew it was what my baby needed to continue to grow and thrive. And, I'm not going to lie, the fact that Finn is used to taking bottles and formula has allowed me more freedom than if he relied solely on me to eat. I can go to the gym and out for runs and not worry about Finn getting hungry. It also means that if Finn wakes up in the middle of the night and I don't want to have to do the whole boo.b and bottle thing then I can just have MBL give him a bottle. Now, I won't lie, I'm a little jealous of all the women I know who are able to exclusively breastfeed and those who have piles and piles of frozen breastmilk in their freezer. That'll likely never be me, and I'm okay with that. I'm doing my best and that's all I can do. And I'm willing to defend it to any woman who tries to suggest otherwise!
Have you ever struggled with breastfeeding?
Anyone else out there with supply issues?