Doing What’s Best for Baby and Mom {Feeding Your Baby Series}


Feeding your Baby

Breastfeeding versus formula feeding seems to be such a touchy subject these days. There are some pretty hard core people on either side who seem caught up in defending their choice. I find it unfortunate that either choice needs to be defended. In fact, I fall in that middle ground where it is all about just doing what’s best for baby and mom. I marvel at the fact that a woman’s body has the ability to provide completely for her baby and I am also thankful for the ingenuity of man to come up with another healthy man-made option. Aren’t we so lucky?

Prior to my first born’s arrival, I decided to give breast feeding a chance. I’m not exactly sure why I made this decision because deep down I thought it would feel awkward and unnatural for me. Society seems to scream at us that breast is best (or at least until it’s done in public) and so as the inexperienced mom that I was, I relied on that. And truly, I do believe that is what nature intended for us to do. So with a guilt free heart, I gave breastfeeding a shot. He arrived and I had no idea what I was doing…with anything…not just breastfeeding. He cried and cried. Type-A me had him on a strict schedule because my book told me to. It was supposed to work, so I held strong.

It didn’t work. I was stressed. I feared that he wasn’t getting enough. I began pumping and discovered that I was in fact producing nearly nothing. I turned to bottles, attached myself to the pump and agonized over every drop. I also had a terrible “pediatrician.” I put that in quotes because he was really a family doctor who, so it turned out, had mostly gotten out of the baby business. Needless to say, as my baby’s weight continually hovered at the 10th percentile and with lots of tears shed, I turned to formula and felt the stress lift off my shoulders immediately.

With baby number two I was determined to give breastfeeding another go. I had changed so much as a mother and really wanted to experience the bonding that everyone spoke of when referring to breastfeeding. I had felt like a failure the first go around. I failed at breastfeeding. I regretted the schedule. I feared that I had starved my child. As a semi more relaxed second-time mom, I dropped my need for a schedule. With a crazy toddler on my hands, I couldn’t imagine trying to get a baby on a schedule anyways. I fed him when he cried, we co-slept (gasp!) and it was amazing and so convenient.

I embraced breastfeeding through the growth spurts and dairy allergies that separated me from my beloved cheese addiction. And, I hardly ever touched the dreaded pump that had been constantly attached to me with my first born. I lasted nearly 6 months before having to switch to formula. It seems I’m plagued with low production and what I call skim milk.

I’m thankful for both options. I’m thankful for the lessons the experience has taught me, the bonding breastfeeding provided me and the stress relief and fall back plan that formula gave me. The world will continue to throw its two cents in our faces about breast versus formula, but the key to surviving it is to stand confidently in the decisions you make on what is best for you and your baby because that is all that really matters anyways.


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