Saturday, February 28, 2015

My Truth About Breastfeeding

I have been lucky to be able to breast feed both of my babies.  I know that not all women are able to do so for a variety of reasons.  I also know that the social pressure and the "breast is best" motto has really got to hurt when you are unable to do so... and are unable to afford the high cost of donor milk (20-35k per year).  Mommy guilt sucks.  Mommy guilt also sucks, big time, if you don't WANT to breastfeed... which is the category that I fall into.  I struggle daily with my desire to wean/supplement with formula and my guilt around giving my kids what's "best" and taking for granted something that other mothers would love to be able to do.  But please, hear me out.  Here's what I have heard (and continue to hear) about the positives of breast feeding... and my take on the situation:

"Breast is best"/Breast milk is better for your child than formula --  I'm not going to argue to the science here.  Breast milk has been shown time and time again to have more health benefits, both short and long term, than formula does.  However, that being said, my children are not going to be mutated, fat, stupid and lazy if they are given formula.  Jacob and I were both formula-fed babies, and we are both well-adjusted, intelligent adults living very happy lives.

Breastfeeding is convenient.  HAHAHAHA.  This one, in my mind, is truly laughable.  Yes, it may be easier to whip out a boob than to put water in a bottle and mix it up with some formula, you don't have to carry as much around in your diaper bag and you don't have to do any sort of pre-planning in terms of feeding... HOWEVER (and please remember, as the title said, these are MY truths) it would be so much easier to bottle feed a baby while trying to grocery shop, while your partner is driving the car on a road trip, when you're at a social function with (non-nursing mom) friends and family (pulling my boob out in front of my father-in-law doesn't equal a good time in my book), etc. etc.  Additionally, if you breastfeed you have to plan your wardrobe around the activity... I am constantly having to think about what shirt/outfit will allow me the easiest access to my chest.  Want to wear a cute, high necked dress?  Not going to happen unless you want to retreat to a private place and get undressed every time you need to feed the little one.  Don't want the entire world to see your baby-flab tummy?  Gotta wear multiple layers so you can pull one up and one down and keep your mid-drift covered.  Final note on the "convenience" point, pumping breast milk at work is, like, the complete opposite of "convenient".

Nope, actually, I have one more thing to say about this one... sleep.  As a breastfeeding mother, when my baby has to eat.  It's up to me... day or night.  Sure, my husband could give the little one a pumped bottle, but guess who had to pump that bottle, and who will need to pump again in order to keep up supply/relieve the pressure from that missed feeding?  Waking up every 2-3 hours for months at a time, I do not feel the lovey, dovey warmth that I am told that I should feel as I breastfeed my child... I feel tired, stressed and often resentful of my sweet child who needs the nourishment, my husband who's sawing logs in the next room (and well rested in the morning) and my toddler who has so much energy and just wants her mommy to play with her during the day.

Breastfeeding is cheaper that formula feeding.  OK, so this one is pretty legit.  It's much cheaper to produce something for free than to hand over tens of dollars for cans of formula.  However, there are expenses involved with breastfeeding... nipple pads so you don't leak out of the left boob while feeding from the right, creams and gel pads to soothe tender areas, nursing bras/tanks/shirts/etc., breast pump, and the 30 bottles you may have to purchase to figure out which one is the most shaped like your nipple so that you're little one will take a bottle while you're away at work (Dr. Brown's, if anyone is curious).

Breastfeeding is great bonding time for mom and baby.  So... if you don't breastfeed you don't bond?  I call bull shit.  I don't feel like my bonding with my children came during feeding times.  I was too tired and had my eyes closed at 2 AM or they were asleep (though, of course, NOT at 2 AM when I wanted them to be) or staring off into space.  My bonding came from rocking them in my arms, making funny faces and coo-y noises at them, dancing around the living room and just spending time together.  I can also tell you, for a fact, that my husband did not bond with our children due to breastfeeding.  ;)

If done correctly, breastfeeding doesn't hurt.  Again, BS.  Breastfeeding, even when the latch is 100% correct can still hurt... just maybe in different ways.  Even now, 4 months into my second kid, my let down still stings a bit.  Ever since my first was a few months old, my chiropractor has become my best friend.  I constantly feel physically drained, nutrient deficient and dehydrated... I'm constantly focusing on what I'm eating/drinking, how much and how often.  Breast pumps are not exactly soft, pillow-y apparatuses either.  But that's just the physical discomfort... there's the constant stress of: is s/he getting enough to eat? Is working outside the home killing my supply? When am I going to be able to pump today? Can I drink that?  Can I eat that?  Where, while I'm at this event/party/activity/date with my husband will I be able to pump?  Crap, am I leaking through my shirt?  Is this taco going to give the baby gas?  Is this medication going to decrease my supply?  Can I run all 20 errands in the 2 hours that I have between feedings or am I going to have to find a place in public (or retreat to my car) to feed my baby?  Am I wearing appropriate clothing so that I can do so without flashing the old man sitting across from me at the restaurant?

Pregnancy weight will just fall off!  Not much to say on this topic... just wanted to point out that this is NOT the case for everyone.  I had to TRY to lose every pound after the initial birthing weight loss.

So, to sum it up, breastfeeding is a pain in my ass that I really don't like doing... but I continue to do it... because mommy guilt.  I don't know how much longer I'll do it.  My supply had pretty much kicked it by this time with my first, so we'll see what happens with the second...

I can't be the only one, right?  I'm not alone?

P.S.  That linked article pretty much could have been written by me, too.

Four Months!

I'm not really sure when to post Sam's 4-month post... as he won't actually have an official 4-month birthday... being born on the 30th kind of screws over the weird month of February.  So, I guess the last day of the month will have to do.  =)

Weight/Length- You have your 4-month check with the doctor in a couple of weeks... I'll do my best to remember to update this post.  You're getting big though... that's for sure!

Eating- Taking a bottle now just fine.  Thank GOD!  You're eating around the clock... literally.  I'm exhausted. 

Sleep- Awake every 2-3 hours... still.  Like I said, I'm exhausted.  I'm so looking forward to the point when you realize that sleep is good and mommy is happier with at least 6 hours of good solid sleep.  We have managed to transition you out of needing to be swaddled to sleep... but we replaced the swaddle with a pacifier (only for bed).  I figured that I'd rather deal with that later than constantly be worried about you rolling over while swaddled and not being able to roll back/push your head up, etc.

 Clothes- Transitioned to 6 months clothes last weekend!

Personality- Still a happy, happy, smiley baby!  And really a big sweet heart who loves to be engaged and talked to. You LOVE your big sister (who keeps you VERY entertained!) and it's so sweet to see the two of you together.  I hope you continue to grow into best friends. 

-You like to be entertained.  You love to watch your sister and the other kids at daycare playing and dancing.  And, in the dislike pile... you don't like when you aren't entertained (or can't see someone else... I sweat we're not magically disappearing every time we walk down the hall).
- You like to be held and up high (making us walk around with you)... a lot like your sister did at this age.  We've started to put you in the high chair at meals hoping that that will suffice... but you'd still much rather be held by one of us... and grabbing for our plates/forks/napkins/etc.
- You like to put things in your mouth... pretty sure that you're teething because you are drooling EVERYWHERE and chewing on everything you can fit in there.

-You don't like the Ergo... at least, not yet.  I remember that Em didn't like it until she could see over the arm straps.  I think that you may be right there with her.
- You don't like waiting.  We're definitely going to have to work on your patience as you get older!
- You don't like to sleep through the night.  Argh.

-You can roll from front to back!  You mastered that skill a week or two ago.
- You are in the reach and grab stage... my hair stays up in a pony tail at home these days.
- Celebrated your first Valentine's Day... thought that really just consisted of watching the rest of your family eat a heart shaped Papa Murphy's pizza.  =)

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Three Months!

A few days late... again.  =) Sam's 3-monthiversary was on Jan. 30th. 

Weight/Length- Not really sure how much you weigh... I'm thinking it's around the 15 lbs mark.  You'll have another official weigh in at your 4-month check up in about a month.

Eating- You are FINALLY getting better at taking a bottle.  You've been at day care 4 full-days a week for about 3 weeks now and you don't fuss anymore when you have to drink out of a bottle.  And you're drinking more, too.  So, I am feeling MUCH better about this back to work thing!

Sleep-You WERE sleeping for 8-9 hour stretches at night about a week ago... now you're waking up 2-3 times per night.  I really want that 0-1 back.  =(

 Clothes- Still in 3-month sizes, but I don't expect that to last very much longer.

Personality- Definitely a smiley, happy guy!  You are very observant and like to watching your sister do a variety of things.  You are also starting to grab at toys so have been not hating your car seat as much these days as there are dangley things for you to play with.

-You love your sister.  Sometimes you will just stop crying the moment that you see her. 
- You like having something to do.  You tend to get bored if you're not actively engaged in some kind of activity, observation or interaction.  You're starting to spend more time on your play mat swatting at things.

-You don't like being left along... even if you're not really alone.  If you're sitting in your chair and can't see someone, you aren't a happy camper.
-You don't like baths... at first.  You aren't a fan of your body hitting the water... but after a few minutes (and some play time with your sister) you seem to enjoy kicking around in it.

- "Celebrated" your first new year... by sleeping through it.  =)
- First trip to a salon... to watch your sister get her hair cut.
- First "full time" day care experience.
- Discovered your fingers and toes.  You have started to grab your feet when you're laying on your back, and have started to suck on your fingers (middle and index together).