I was 26 years old when I had my first child. My labor and birth went great. As great as it can be, right? Shortly after my daughter was born, she was whisked away to the NICU because she passed meconium in the womb, which caused her to have a form of pneumonia. I was not prepared for her to go to the NICU. It is not something anyone warns you about, especially with your first child. I was a complete mess. My husband had to wheel her down there while I laid there thinking about what the heck just happened.
I saw my sweet daughter about four hours after birth. She was hooked up to a bunch of stuff, but I was able to hold her and breastfeed her right away. Later that night they moved her to the other side of the NICU where there are babies with less severe cases. I told the NICU nurse that I wanted to breastfeed, and she responded with, “Well, then you are going to have to be down here 24/7 because I am not going to deal with your baby crying all the time.” I started crying my eyes out. (She later got a talking to by the manager, so it’s all good.)
Right after I fed my daughter, I went upstairs because I had booked a massage. If you are questioning getting this done while in the hospital, DO IT. It is THE BEST. So I was up there about to get my massage and the nurse in the NICU calls and says, “Your baby is crying,” and hangs up. I was still crying, but I went down there, fed her, and come back up.
Why did I do this to myself? Why did I put so much pressure on myself after JUST having a baby?
Because I ALWAYS heard, “You should breastfeed.” “Breast is best.” “You need to give them that liquid gold.” Blah, blah, blah. Well, I ended up really disliking breastfeeding, but I did it for a year with her because you have to at least make it a year, right? That’s what the books say. Bull. Let me tell you though, I did have this condition while breastfeeding called D-MER where you get EXTREME depression and sadness right before your milk releases and lasts for a couple of minutes. I could never feel it so I didn’t know what was going on. It was so bad though. It was scary. I wanted to die and would say it out loud with my husband right there and then a couple minutes later be happy. It was so crazy!
Moms, I was at the point that as soon as I found out I was pregnant again, I said to my husband, in these exact words, “Frick, I have to breastfeed again.” None of this is okay. Why should ANY MOM feel pressured into breastfeeding? Why should ANY MOM feel less because they aren’t breastfeeding? It is not okay for moms to feel that way. FED IS BEST.
So there is no “cure” for D-MER, but I knew I was going to have it again with the second because that’s what I was told. So I prepared. They said the things that can help is ingesting your placenta and taking B vitamins. So I did those, which can be another post altogether. Ha! But I still had some D-MER with my second baby. Long story short–my second wasn’t growing from three-six months, and the pediatrician said I needed to pump every two hours and feed her on the breast every three hours. I did it for a week, and I was about to lose my mind. Trying to do this and run around with a two-year-old was impossible. I was just not making enough and this did not fit our lifestyle, having something hooked up to your boobs whether it be a machine or a mouth while trying to run three businesses–nope. It was hard, so hard. I stopped breastfeeding and I gave her formula after six months.
I felt guilty. I felt like I was a bad mom. I felt inadequate. I felt judged. I felt like I couldn’t go out in public and feed my child formula.
After about a week of my child on formula, I wanted to do a happy dance. I could go to the store and not worry about leaving my cart in the middle of the aisle while my baby screamed her head off and then having to go to the car to breastfeed. I didn’t have to sit on bathroom toilets anymore to feed my child. I didn’t have to be up every single night and do every single feeding. I didn’t have to worry about leaky boobs. Hallelujah!!!
We ALL have our struggles as moms, but how we feed our child should not be defined as a struggle. Just because you formula feed does not mean you struggled to breastfeed. Some moms choose to formula feed because of their lifestyle. Don’t look down on them because of that.
Can we just stop saying, “breast is best,” and start saying, “fed is best,” and encouraging each other? Being a mom is hard enough!