Breast is best. No argument there. I'm fully aware of the magical white stuff and all its powers, but I'm also aware that as natural as it is, it doesn't come natural to some women. I include myself in that category. This time around has had its challenges for me, and I think that it’s important to share our struggles. When breastfeeding doesn't come easily, it's simple to conclude that the issue is you, and your abilities to mother are diminished, or subpar. Breastfeeding is hard (sometimes).
I breastfed Elle for about five months, it seemed so much easier with her. I also supplemented with formula when I was at work or gallivanting around. I felt zero guilt. This time around, I wanted to exclusively breast feed, and I was determined to pump and stock up on my supply. I think it was that pressure I put on myself that got in to my head. Too much information as a second-time mom. I felt the need to be PERFECT this time around, which, in retrospect, was a bit unrealistic.
Baby Ever latched on straight out of the womb like a champ, and I thought surely this will be effortless. It seemed that way for the first few days. However, after my C-section, and being too exhausted to ensure a proper latch, my nipples were a wreck. When I say a wreck, I mean a total bloody mess (read my prior post for baby vampire story). After they scabbed over, it was too painful to even try, and I developed Mastitis (Mastitis is painful inflammation of your breast tissue). I used a breast pump on the lowest setting for the next day, crying the entire time. Luckily, I had a frozen breast milk supply a friend had so graciously offered me. I'll admit to being slightly weirded out by feeding my newborn child another women's milk, but I got over it after the first bottle (which he also took like a champ). Two days went by, and I was ready to try again. Although still painful, it was tolerable.
Another couple of days passed, and I began to offer formula (I use Similac Organic ready-to-feed). I know cow's milk is for cows, and I know that dairy is hard to digest in humans (especially newborns). I have never been a big dairy fan, but there is so much delicious food (like ice cream and pizza) that contains dairy, and even though we will always keep it to a minimum, I want a child that is lactose tolerant.
So now I've laid off the breastfeeding guilt, and I breastfeed when I'm home and at night. I'm still using my frozen supply when I need to, and I offer formula when it's convenient. This method is not for everyone and every baby, but it worked for me with Elle, and it's working for me now. Breast is best, but fed is fed in my case. I'm hoping to stretch my breastfeeding to least 6 months this time, because I do enjoy it. I wish I could say I love it, but in all honesty, I’m not home very often and it's just not realistic for me. I commend women that breastfeed like it's their job, it's a beautiful thing that they do. This is my truth, and I'm prepared for some backlash, facts, and advice, but I'm in a good place. thank you!