Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The F Word

Formula, that is. The way some people talk about it though, you'd think it was the other F word.

I'm a breastfeeding mama. NOW, I am. I think it's natural, healthy, beautiful and just wonderful. But I think formula is cool too.

My first child was not breastfed. We really wanted to but Oh. My. God. No. It was not happening. I got help from the hospital nurse and then a lactation consultant. Peanut would not latch. She was losing weight. She started crying and crying and crying. I was going out of my mind, first with frustration, then with guilt.

And as other mommies (and daddies) know, parental guilt is soul crushing. Especially for a first time mom. I felt like I totally failed my baby. I haven't really even started yet and I've already failed. After listening to my baby cry her little heart out, obviously starving, I broke out the bottle. And eat, she did.

I still feel the judgment over that.

I was afraid of going out with a bottle in case someone saw me giving it to her. But you know what? I got over that quick - I HAD to. Getting milk from a milk bank was unrealistic for me and I didn't want to get donated milk from random people. So formula it was. My baby was being fed, and was growing, thriving and healthy. She did everything on time and is a bright 3 year old now. And I am so proud of her. No more guilt here!

With my next baby, Pecan, though, I got to successfully nurse, thanks to the help of my wonderful midwife, Ann. She did latch on perfectly from the get go, and she is still nursing. She just turned 2. It's not like she is latched on to me a billion times a day, maybe once or twice. There is no harm in that. I think she still likes nursing mainly because she sees her baby sister Acorn doing it and she wants to feel reassured that she still gets her share. I think she is slowly weaning though. There are some days she doesn't nurse. And that is fine with me. She is growing up. And is very independent and loving!

I had a little reservation in me about nursing Acorn. I have heard that babies born by C-Section have some problems nursing. The hospital staff was wonderful though. She was having her first feed within an hour of her birth, she latched like a dream, and she is still going strong. I am glad to have the opportunity to nurse her. She has gotten very efficient at it and is a totally laid-back, cheerful, happy baby. Oh, she is pure joy! Always smiling and giggling.

When I see another mom pull out a bottle to feed her baby, all I could think of is "Good job!". Why? Because I am glad that she obviously loves her baby enough to feed him or her. Formula feeding moms aren't lazy. They are doing what is best for their baby and their circumstances. I'd rather a baby be fed formula than starve. Hunger is pain to a baby. So please, formula feeding mamas, know that you are doing something good.

Let's not judge so much, ok? People don't have to feel like they need to explain why they pulled out a bottle. There are other more terrible things in the world than a child being fed.

Baby Acorn having her lunch
Tandem feeding

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