fed is best
To start this blog post... it's been a long time coming basically since before I had Blake I've had this on my mind.
First, we need to back all the way up to when Leo was a baby. I did not think fed was best. I thought breast was best (unless of course there were special diet circumstances or doctor's orders). This is REALLY hard for me to admit. I just thought it was the lazy way out. I really did. I wasn't like open about this or anything like that I never shamed anyone or even said it to Scott. In my mind, I HAD to breastfeed Leo to give him the best life ever. So I did.
I was blessed with an over supply but was also given a colicky baby that only stopped crying while breastfeeding soooo they went hand in hand. He nursed throughout the night every night and it was draining. My mother in law encouraged me to have Scott give him a bottle at night so that he became accustomed to someone feeding him besides me, and to give myself a break. I took her advice, and I pumped at night to replace that feed.
It was all fine and well as a first time mom to breastfeed on demand... until I went back to work. I was OBNOXIOUS and so ANXIOUS about every ounce he consumed. I was a slave to my pump and would honestly freak out if I couldn't pump at the time I knew he was getting a bottle... even though I was a teacher and that just wasn't possible.
I held out. I kept doing it. And that's all fine and well. He was breastfed for a year and never had formula. It was at a detriment to my own mental health. I was OBSESSED and not in a good way. I remember once my mom suggested I give Leo a formula bottle to see if he'd sleep better at night - and I basically told her to never suggest anything like that again.
Leo never had formula. And yet, no one gave me a trophy or told me I'm a better mom for doing that.
For Blake, I have a fine supply. And in the beginning, I collected my over supply so I had a decent freezer stash. I've repeated the same routine and given her a pumped bottle at night since she was about 2 weeks old. Neither of my kiddos had nipple confusion.
I'm not sure if it's because Blake is my second, I'm a little older, or a combination of a bunch of variables but I obviously now team FED is best. Even knowing that, there is a LOT of shame around formula feeding and even when I opened up about this on my instagram, there were a lot of "it's worth it" or "our bodies are made to do this" comments that just bothered me.
It's not always worth it. Feeding your baby shouldn't be something you dread. Or something that causes you extreme anxiety. Or pushes depression. YOUR MENTAL HEALTH & PHYSICAL HEALTH ARE SO IMPORTANT.
Our bodies ARE designed to breastfeed. However, it's almost 2020 and not all formula is stocked full of cornstarch and chemicals (some are lol). But our bodies are also designed to take care of other small humans if you have other kids and it's LITERALLY a full time job to breastfeed. Calories have to go in to produce milk and creating time to eat is a WHOLE task.
About 2 months after having Blake, I REALLY started to dread my evening pump session. Like RESENTED it. And because I'd get SO ANXIOUS, I'd produce less some days than what she was eating. So I'd use my freezer stash. Some days, I found it REALLY HARD to get in all my calories when Leo is home too. I work from home + take care of the house + the kids. I don't always have "eat every 2 hours" on that list.
**disclaimer:: nutrition & hydration has everything to do with supply. working out does NOT.**
After realizing I was resenting that last pump, I came to the decision that once my freezer stash was out, I would supplement with formula. I started telling just one or two people because I STILL felt so much shame around it. I felt like I let down society??? Or the female population? Or my daughter? Telling Scott was the hardest. He was obviously super supportive. He asked a few questions and I sort of explained that although it LOOKS like I just sit on my ass multiple times a day while I feed her, it takes more energy from my body than my BRAIN TAKES (that's a fact). He understood as well as dads can.
Then I bought my first tub of formula. THIS is the one I decided to go with. I let it sit out on the counter for a few days while I continued with our regular freezer stash for the last feed of the night. Then, it came time at 12 weeks old, to give her a formula bottle. After watching her take the bottle, relief washed over me, I literally cried.
I tell you this saga, not to be pro formula or pro breastfeeding. I just want to put out there that I am pro - do what's best for MOM & BABY. It's a big sacrifice to breastfeed for the mom. And if that brings you JOY - then you shoud do that! If it doesn't, I want to encourage you to find what does. I am pretty ashamed I felt otherwise in the past. No one, LITERALLY NO ONE, looks at Leo who is 2 1/2 and asks me "oh was he breastfed?". YES there are amazing benefits to breastfeeding. But there are also side effects to putting yourself as the mom last if it's not for you. And I understand that now.
I am breastfeeding. And I am supplementing. And that's OK.