My most popular post on the blog is when I wrote about my || failure to breastfeed Gemma ||. I opened up a little bit during the World Breastfeeding Week, about my breastfeeding journey with Evander but I wanted to go into a little more detail here. In all honesty, I hope this post will either encourage someone going through the same thing or just be another story out there exclaiming that FED is BEST.
I had some anxiety during my pregnancy about breastfeeding Evander. I really wanted to have the experience that I missed out on with Gemma. Despite my anxiety, I was confident that I could make breastfeeding work. Since the main reason I stopped with Gemma was pain, I knew that I was capable of producing milk, I just needed to be proactive about latching and reach out for help in those first few days so that I wouldn’t have the same damage that I’d had the first time around.
In the hospital I had an AMAZING nurse and lactation consultant. They were such an amazing team and they spent so much time not only helping me practically but also in listening to my fears and encouraging me in my journey. If they had been around when I had Gemma I know my story would have been different. So I left the hospital confident. We still had to work hard but I understood a lot more about my body and how to best help Ev. Dallas was so hands on. He would help me get Ev latched and was such an encouragement in those first few days and weeks when it seemed like all Ev wanted to do was nurse.
WATCH: Our Daily Combo Feeding Schedule
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This is where I get really honest. The first few days were rough. I just kept thinking, “it will get better.” Then I blinked and I was a month into breastfeeding. Yet, I was still thinking “it will get better”. No pain, No damage and a healthy growing boy. So why wasn’t I enjoying it? Why did I still sigh every time he needed to eat? Why was I still wanting to bottle feed? Why did I still cry over breastfeeding?
You guys, I tried to love it. I really did. But in all honesty, I just didn’t. And I was slammed with guilt over that. I felt like a failure of a mother. I felt selfish and I am sure that some people wouldn’t hesitate to tell me I was and still am. I did not like being a human pacifier. I did not like walking around exposed. I did not like struggling with “nursing friendly” clothes and having to adjust and readjust every time he ate. I did not like using a cover and I did not like going without. I did not like latching and re-latching and switching sides and wondering if he got enough or why he was still hungry when he unlatched on his own just 10 minutes prior.
So, I started using my stash of breastmilk that I collected the first few weeks with my Nature Bond. Hands down the best invention EVER and I would recommend to anyone and everyone that plans to breastfeed. I would feed him a bottle of breastmilk daily and then pump afterwards or right before.
Gradually that one bottle a day became two. Then three. I would feel guilty and would jump back into exclusively breastfeeding for a few days. But ultimately I’d burn out and go back to a bottle or two a day. The more I used bottles the more I’d have to supplement with formula because I couldn’t keep up with pumping alone. Your baby will be the most efficient at removing milk, not a pump.
Currently I am almost exclusively bottle feeding. I nurse once or twice a day usually in the early morning or right before I put him down for bed. He gets about half breastmilk and half formula at this point. My goal is to make it to six months without fully switching over to formula, even if that’s just one breastmilk bottle a day. If I don’t make it to that, it will be okay. I just take it day by day. I pump 3-4 times a day and I don’t stress about how much milk I get each session. We give him breastmilk when it’s available and formula when the breastmilk is low.
Ultimately what I have learned is to be THANKFUL. I am Thankful for my nurse and lactation consultant that gave us the best start to breastfeeding. I am thankful for being able to nurse him without damage and ALMOST pain free. I am thankful to have nursed for as long as I did. I am thankful for all the support I have received from family, friends and even a few strangers from the few times I nursed in public. I am thankful for my husband who has been completely supportive of me every single step of the way. I am thankful for a good milk supply. I am thankful for the ability to pump. I am thankful he is still getting breastmilk.
And I am thankful for formula. Because it has helped me in keeping my baby boy growing, thriving and completely healthy.
My Favorite Nursing/Pumping Items
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