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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

formula?!

This post at www.expectingwords.com, "I'm taking formula to the hospital" was so great to read. It's short, so check it out at www.expectingwords.com/im-taking-formula-to-the-hospital#more-2977.

It basically is how I feel the next time around. I'm not planning to take formula to the hospital with me, as I know they have it there already available. However, I am going in the next time around (whenever that happens) with the breastfeeding plan of I'm going to try it, but I'm not going to work myself up, starve my child, or get totally obsessed with it to the point of exhaustion, fights with anyone who steered me in the other direction, and postpartum depression over not being able to do what I thought I was "supposed" to be able to do naturally.

I intend to give it a whirl, taking into account all I learned in Breastfeeding 101 class. Then leave it up to nature and nurture and my baby. If it doesn't work, it doesn't work. I pumped for an entire year with my son. I am positive I did not screw up my bonding chances or my son's IQ by not providing my breast to my child, therefore I know if it doesn't work again in the future the world will not end. I so wish I'd had this attitude the first time around. I really wish I'd not been so afraid of formula the first time we had to supplement Owen with some after he'd lost too much weight and even the lactation people were saying it was probably a good idea to supplement a little. I wish I hadn't seen that formula as poison as my son drank it from a straw.

Next time I swear will be different. Because now I know it doesn't have to be like it was the first time. Now I know formula is not evil. Many of us grew up on formula and we're still here to tell about it. Yes, I believe breast is best, and if that works, then great! However, there are a lot of downsides to breastfeeding that I think many mommies believe are too taboo to discuss out loud for fear of sounding like they aren't enjoying the "bonding experience." I have personal opinions on all of this breastfeeding stuff that I find difficult to talk about with anyone other than my husband who totally seems to get where I'm coming from.


So here it is...
If breastfeeding does not work for me next time around I'm OK with it because...
-sore ladies are not fun to deal with.

-pumping works just fine

-it's nice to have someone else feed my child a bottle so I can rest or watch the bonding happening with my husband or a grandparent or someone else who adores my child like I do.

-I know my son bonded to me, despite not latching on. And I firmly believe he is much more bonded to his father than many other kids because he had that "bonding experience" early on while eating in dad's arms.

-it's fair and helpful to have two parents feeding the baby in the middle of the night instead of only mommy doing it every hour all day for months.

-I don't like showing off my girls to just anyone and found it really challenging to get a baby to latch on underneath my shirt or a blanket when people were around.

-it's OK not to be perfect.

-I have not heard from any single person that breastfeeding was easy, just worked magically from day one, and that they did not experience discomfort or crying while nursing or that it was not tough.

-I believe one of the main reasons my son slept through the night early on and seemed calm and content during the day is because he was full from what I pumped.

-it's a shorter period of time to feed a baby drinking a bottle of pumped milk than it is to nurse on each side, from my observations.

-I know my child is very smart, well adjusted and happy, even though he did not nurse for more than a week.

-the lactation people and nurses and even my family and friends who basically gave me the stare down when I said I was not nursing but instead was pumping are not ME. They have no idea what it's like to be me or to be my child, therefore I do not need to care about their opinions.

-I don't think it's right to starve my son and watch him continuously lose more weight than the expected, normal amount the doctors say all babies lose after birth just because my milk has not come in yet or because of some expectation I have that nursing is the only thing I can provide my child.

-I was a happy mom after I chose to supplement and pump, not stressing out and obsessing anymore after 5 days in the hospital about nursing and the fact that it was not working how it "should." From the book The 7 Stages of Motherhood by Ann Pleshette Murphy, she wrote, "It's far better to give your baby formula feeling relaxed and comfortable than to nurse twisted with anxiety, resentment, or anger. Mother's milk alone isn't going to determine your child's path in life. In fact, deciding to respect your own feelings, your own needs, will probably benefit your child in ways that far outstrip any nutritional advantages of breastmilk." (page 41)

-formula is not evil. It's healthy and OK and fine if you need to supplement as you get going, or even if you choose it first instead of pumping at all. It will not be the end-all to our children.

-there are no have-tos, shoulds, and must-dos with parenting. This I firmly believe. We must all do what works for us and our babies. We'll all turn out OK if we stick to what works for us.

All of this being said, sure I'm going to try breastfeeding again in the future if I get the chance to be a mommy again. I'll even try hard at it, not give up after the first failed attempt if that is how it goes. However, I plan to go into it with a clearer head and fewer expectations of how it will turn out. My hope for those of you, my friends who are also planning to nurse your babies, is that you lower your expectations, put some effort into it as you acknowledge it's difficult and needs some effort, but then do whatever it is that is best for you and your baby, not what anyone expects you to do.

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