Jessica Paige has been a friend of mine for over 10 years now. She is an amazing mom to 6 sweet kids and has another little one on the way.
Bottle or Boob? You MUST Choose!!!! And if you don’t choose the “right” one, as a first time mom you may feel the following symptoms: guilt, shame, anxiety, exhaustion, worry, fear….. did I mention how much crying you may experience as well? Yeah, that too! Before my oldest baby was born I did as much research as I could on feeding my new baby. Seeing moms all over the place with covers as they quietly nursed their newborns, I could only imagine when I finally got to hold my baby and do the same. “Breastfeeding is Best!” was the Mantra I continued to hear and read everywhere I went. I so badly wanted to breastfeed, I mean it was the best and right choice for my baby’s future development after all. I was given pamphlets on the “dangers” of formula and what it could do to my baby’s future well-being. I knew my only choice was the boob. That was the only choice if I wanted a happy healthy baby.
Fast forward to his birth day…. Why is he having trouble even latching? Oh no! The nurse is giving me a supplement to feed him so he would stop crying. Should I stop her? The next couple weeks, I had many visits with the lactation consultant to help him latch and was given some weird plastic device to put from a bottle into his mouth all while trying to then place him on my boob so he can latch properly… in the middle of the night this was extremely challenging. He’s finally latching properly!!! But he’s lost weight and isn’t regaining it. No matter how many hours I “feed” him, how much my boobs hurt (and no one ever told me about chapped nipples before the baby – seriously OUCH) there is still not enough milk supply! Feeling so guilty, so exhausted over trying to do what is “best” and most natural for my baby. I finally give into using a bottle and alas…. He is not crying, I am not crying! Woohoo! I did not know how my emotions would be like a roller coaster these first few weeks and how TIRED I’d be just simply trying to feed my baby! I took him to the Pediatrician for a checkup and told her about my whole dilemma. I mean, my sister not only has enough breast milk for her baby but an overabundance of milk to store. So why do I have to supplement? She then said “Sometimes some cows are good baby producers and some cows are good for making milk!” Hearing just this made me realize that no matter if my baby gets the boob or the bottle as long as he’s happy and healthy that’s all that matters. We then tried a handful of different bottles until we stuck with one and I continued to supplement with breast milk but he was a hungry boy and enjoyed his bottle.
Fast forward to the other five children. Did I try to breastfeed? Of course! And I usually did that first before giving the bottle for at least the first couple months of their life. Feeding times took longer and I always had to make sure to be prepared with a cover-up and a bottle everywhere I went. With each baby, that little bit guilt I would feel about giving my newborn a bottle went away and all the “fears” associated with it also went away. My children are all happy and healthy and at the end of the day I’m so glad I chose to just not give into the pressure of what others are doing or feel like a bad mother for not being able to do the same. At the end of the day, before we know it our babies are drinking out of a cup and all on their own. My boys especially would push me away at even a couple months old and down at least 8 oz of formula or more after I tried to breastfeed them. But they were well satisfied with the bottle. And that’s okay.
When baby 6 arrived, I was the happiest I had ever been during the newborn stage. I couldn’t wait until his midnight feeding to hold him, cuddle him, kiss him and just enjoy being with him in the quietness of the night. I wish I had not allowed inadequacies to steal me from truly enjoying every moment of my other babies as newborns.
If you are struggling with having to supplement with formula or feed out a bottle completely, being a first time mom or even a veteran mom be encouraged! Hold that beautiful baby and know that boob or bottle, your love and comfort matter more than making the choice between one, the other or both. I’ve heard the saying “the days are long but the years are short.” The days seem especially long sometimes with a newborn. Don’t let guilt and fear rob you from experiencing joy in this season! Try to really enjoy those moments of aloneness with your little one as you feed him in whatever way is best for you and for baby.