The boss mom collective is back again with another real talk! This time : feeding! If you missed my post on Sleep, you can catch up here. I’ll wait.
So, you want to feed your baby. I don’t think I’m off base in thinking you want to nurse your baby until they are at least 1. That’s what all my mom friends want, and plenty of them accomplish it. Lots of them do not.
I’m going to sound like a real broken record here, but babies are crazy, and I don’t know anything but my own story. If I could give you just ONE piece of advice, it would be to take every other mom’s advice with a grain of salt. Okay a HEAP of salt. A mountain of salt. Even if that mom nursed 5 babies into the world and was a champ at it. That’s still just 5 babies out of like 6 billion babies. She doesn’t know your baby, and she doesn’t know your body. It’s your body, your choice.
Wait, I’m supposed to be telling my story. Sorry.
Charlie came 10 days early. Every woman who is 38 weeks pregnant wants their baby to come early. But the thing is, their ability to suck and feed develops quite late, and so an early baby can pose problems with nursing. Charlie was so sleepy and her suck was so weak that for weeks it would take forever to get her to finish nursing. And she’d fall asleep in the middle. This meant I was nursing ALL the time. Every hour. And she wasn’t getting all the milk out, so I’d have little lumps from where milk was getting clogged.
The best thing I did during that time was see a lactation consultant multiple times. Every mom and baby needs it, because here’s what I didn’t realize, you both have to learn how to do this thing! It doesn’t just happen easily for everyone. The second best thing I did was find a good resource and support for breastfeeding – basically all you need is THIS website, and maybe a breastfeeding support group (isn’t it cool that there is such a thing?) And lastly, what I didn’t do, but what I wish I had, was cut myself some slack.
I had it in my head that if I gave my baby one drop of formula I was a failure. And so I pumped when I had to work or had weddings or I just had to go get my nails done. But the thing is, pumping for me took a long time. It would take me an hour just to get a few ounces. And I put in hours a day for months and months. I could have saved so much sanity if I had just supplemented a little with formula. Instead I was a slave to that breast pump. She’d go down for her morning nap and I’d pump for an hour. She’d go to bed at 6 and I’d pump at 8 or 9 for an hour. Some women can pump in 10 minutes, and I used to think, what’s wrong with my boobs?! But you know what, mine are just made differently. But instead of accepting it, I kept going.
Next time, I will have some grace for myself. I will let modern medicine help me from losing my mind over something that doesn’t truly matter in the long run.
And so what if you’re pumping but your baby doesn’t want to get back on the boob? I know this happened to a few of my friends and they agonized over supplementing with formula. Or with a bottle. But truly, you have to find something that makes you both happy. If you can’t breastfeed, it doesn’t make you any less of a mom. I’m just grateful that we live in a world where there are resources for all of this.
I weaned Charlie around 11 months, and I can honestly say I miss it a lot. I never thought I would feel that way. Getting the hang of nursing through the first three months was torture. I would end up in tears, a sweaty mess. And I was cursing the fact that it took my baby 45 minutes to get a full feed.
But now, I miss those moments when she would be in my arms, still. She’s running at the speed of light, and she only wants to eat bread products no matter how much green stuff I throw at her.
Every phase has it’s challenges though, and every phase has it’s blessings. I’m learning that you have to learn to appreciate what’s coming at you in each season – take the good with the bad – but hopefully you cut yourself some slack, mama. You’re doing a good job no matter how you’re choosing to feed your baby.
If you want more real talk from real moms this post is in collaboration with some of my favorite blogger moms eva.
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