Breastfeeding. The job is not for the weak and weary. AT ALL. I remember receiving my pump in the mail when I was pregnant thinking “Yes! Mason gone be smart and never sick feeding him this liquid gold!” Here we are almost 4 months later, and every day is a struggle. The pumping, latching, storing, stressing, worrying, self-shaming. It became A LOT!
When Mason was born, I latched in the hospital the first day until he was admitted to the NICU for fear of fluid being in his lungs. I was devastated at first, but him being there ended up being such a blessing…it prevented nipple confusion. I had to pump milk and send it down to NICU to keep Mason on breast milk, but my child was so hungry even then I couldn’t keep up. They introduced formula in the NICU to supplement till I got my pumping flowing good. So, Mason was getting breast milk bottles, formula bottles, and latching with no problem (Ladies, DO NOT wait too long to introduce bottles…I have so many friends whose babies won’t take a bottle cause they have been latched so much).
By the last day we were at the hospital (Mason was 3 days old), I was pumping up a storm. Mason was strictly breast milk only (bottle and boob fed). I was pumping 2 days worth of milk and storing in fridge. Our hospital taught us 5/5/5 rule; room temp milk is good for 5 hours, fridge milk is good for 5 days, frozen milk is good for 5 months. I froze a few bags of colostrum for safe keeping and just kept majority of Mason’s milk in the fridge.
I felt so good about myself getting a surplus, but I must admit it also made me a little lazy. My mindset became “I am making so much, my pumping schedule can chill…” Boy was I wrong.
Pumping became a 2nd option over sleeping. I would sleep during the day while my mom had Mason and bottles in the fridge. So I was well rested for the afternoon/night shift, but after Mason was a month old, I could tell my supply was changing. What was a surplus was now falling behind Mason’s schedule and ounces. I did not consider my child won’t always just eat 2.5 ounces every feeding smh. I did what any new mother scared of what the public would think about me feeding my baby formula would do…I panicked!
I ordered lactation supplements, started strictly latching Mason so my body would get the memo I need more, and cried from stressing and worrying about it. While the supplements did work, the moment I stopped taking them, I could tell a difference. Between that and finding out cabbage slows down your supply as well (yeah I did not know the myth of eating cabbage or putting cabbage leaves on your breast slows down milk production), I am present day just pumping in the morning and before bed. I feed my child breast milk and formula. His now 5 ounce bottles are 3oz breast milk and 2 ounces formula mainly (some bottles are all breast milk/some are all formula) and that is OK WITH ME! I had to stop beating myself up and stressing myself out and realize a FED baby is a HAPPY baby! Heck I was formula fed and I turned out just fine!
Moms and Moms to be! Don’t let society or these pro breastfeeding moms make you ashamed or embarrassed to say that you use formula. I feel so much better letting that go. I lost all my baby weight and I can admit part of that was from stressing while pumping (I’m sure sleeping and not eating as much as I should some days contributed too lol). If you want to breastfeed exclusively and your body/mental/schedule allows it GO FOR IT! If you have to supplement with formula as needed GO FOR IT! If you have to use formula exclusively GO FOR IT! That’s your child, and you as his mother know what is best for YOUR child.
Now excuse me while I go do my morning pump and fix my formula for the day : )