**warning- there will be some "tmi" moments in this blog. prepare yourself for them, or leave now. you've been warned**
so, i've recently been bombarded with a gaggle of articles more or less condemning formula feeding. it really just ticks me off. i do not dispute the "breast is best" concept at all, HOWEVER, i do not believe that every article about such topics should make mothers like myself feel like dirt.
some moms, no matter how much they want to, are unable to breastfeed or are unable to breastfeed as long as they want to. which was my case both times. so when i see an article that mentions formula, i want to read it...and then immediately following that, disappointment, guilt, and just bad feelings.
i think there needs to be more support, emotionally, especially, for moms who are pushed into formula feeding. when looking for positivity in formula feeding, i find very little. i find more of the scary articles that list obesity, frequent sickness, and just over all poor health of those children who are formula fed.
it's weird too, i was formula fed. i'm not obese (never have been) have never had a weight problem (maybe a little under, but i have a high metabolism), and over all, i'm a pretty healthy chick. the problems i have encountered are more of those that are caused by outside circumstances. i've never once had the question posed by a doctor, "well, were you formula fed?"...as if that was the root of my problem.
now, again, i want to reiterate that i believe with all my heart that if you can, then you should, breast feed. but let me share with you my story:
i had Lily when i was 20, and while i thought i knew what i was getting into, i was sorely mistaken. i had these magical images in my head of how awesome it would be to breastfeed Lily (i know i've mentioned this before). i had NO idea the pain involved. i was completely unaware that it takes up to 3 days for your milk to "come in". i didnt realize that you must be relaxed to have a "let down"...add to that the stress of needing some alone time and sort of being bombarded with guilt of allowing friends and family to meet Lily. i was way to stressed! she was my first baby! i was clueless. i was also extremely poorly educated on breastfeeding. after 6 weeks, through tears and tons of guilt, i gave up and formula fed. within a week, i'd never been happier and miraculously, Lily's fussiness was at an all time low. even now, typing this, i feel the sting of guilt.
but i look at Lily and she's 7 and healthy. no serious illnesses, not overweight (which is a claim against formula), and happy and active...and i try to let go of the guilt. the problems she has (hearing loss) has been deemed congenital and possibly hereditary and in no way related to formula.
last year, i gave birth to Amelia. the birth itself was easy. one push. but then my trouble started. my placenta wasnt budging...and i was bleeding. i felt sick, dizzy, and really weak...and i heard the mention of blood transfusion and suddenly my heart was in my throat. then a nurse was at my side with smelling salts and a syringe of something that she said would help stop my bleeding...and just as quickly as it started, it was over and i was fine.
little did i know, blood loss can affect your milk supply. and while this time around, i was better read, and a little more educated, i was again, shocked and disheartened by my experience. i needed to heal and i guess "recharge" from what had just happened, but i also knew that breastfeeding immediately was the right thing to do for myself and Amelia...so i was trying. and i continued to try. i cried a lot.
but i wasnt giving up. i had a lactation consultant round the clock that was at my beckon call. i was asking questions, taking notes, and reading their pamphlets. i took their suggestions and their encouragement. i stayed as positive as i could. day three rolled around and there was barely anything. i didnt give up. i went through a lot with Amelia. i continued to follow up with my lactation consultant. i went through WIC and borrowed a hospital grade electric double pump. i did power pumping (look it up. it's insane. i opted to pump through the night also.. and i was already exhausted)
i stressed a ton. i wanted to keep a strict schedule for pumping and feeding to keep my dwindling milk supply from slipping by the wayside, but we also wanted friends and family to see her...i however am modest and not big on public or semi public breastfeeding...so i stressed some more.
oh and WIC...they're supposed to be supportive and while some were, others were just down right mean. i HAD to supplement with Amelia, i simply didnt have enough to sustain her. and when i asked to change my order from exclusively breastfeeding to a mix of both breastfeeding and formula feeding, the girl i was speaking to resonded to me in a very flat, somewhat disgusted voice, "so you're giving up then." i honestly wanted to punch her in the face. she had no idea what i had gone through. NONE.
i talked and talked and talked to the consultant (also through WIC, and she was very supportive). the next option was to go to supplements. NOT something i was willing to do. so after 10 weeks of an insane schedule of feeding AND pumping, i tearfully let go and switched to formula. i was never engorged when i quit. that's how low my supply remained.
so, you see, i get notably angry when i read about the terrors of formula. the bad health affects it has on children today. i get really upset when i read those comments from moms that list off how they are "EBF" (exclusively breastfeeding) for X amount of months now. and i shouldnt but it ticks me off. i know i have a chip on my shoulder about it, but it's like a slap in the face. it's like bragging because you're tall. some people get it. some people dont. i havent yet. but i'm not giving up.
cain arnold dugan is due august 30th and i plan on trying again. but this time, no matter what happens, i will not guilt trip myself if breastfeeding doesnt work out. i cant keep beating myself up over it...and i hope more mothers realize this. it's not fair to mentally beat yourself up when you're already going to be a whirlwind of emotions and hormones. bottom line is love yourself and love your baby and do what's best for both of you. :)