Thursday, July 31, 2014

it's like, having a baby has made me more honest or "real" or whatever.

a little diddy from february. 

two weeks ago, we made the switch from nursing to bottle feeding. 
it has been one of the hardest things i have done.

jude had a fantastic latch. that first month and a half of nursing was, for the most part, great. then something happened. after about 30 seconds, jude started freaking out. like, legitimately freaking out. screaming, flailing, turning red. she was completely inconsolable. it was heartbreaking and frustrating and overwhelming.
what was i doing wrong? why was she not eating? why couldn't i do this?

i called her doctor. i called nursing hotlines. i talked to moms. i spent hours doing online research. nothing helped. after a lot of talking and crying (on my part), cory and i made the decision to bottle feed jude. i was determined to pump because it felt like the whole mommy world was telling me "breast is best" and if i didn't get breast milk into my baby, shame on me.

i had pumped a a few times before to save up for that blessed nighttime feed, but pumping for a whole day was a different story. when you pump, you have to keep a rigorous schedule in order to keep your milk supply up. so every three hours i pumped for an hour (20-30 minutes on each side) and prayed jude would stay asleep. i cried when i saw i'd barely gotten two ounces from both sides (and that was on a good day). there was nothing more devastating to me than seeing five drops of milk in a 4 oz bottle after 20 minutes of pumping. talk about kicking a sister while she's down.
i have all the love and respect in the world for mothers who consistently pump.
you are incredible.

cory came home to two bawling babies.
"i can't do this. i just can't."
"okay. then brissa, we're done. we're going to formula feed her because this isn't worth it."
"but cory. she needs breast milk. i am supposed to be able to do this. why can't i do this?"
and then he looked at me and said, "no. stop it. you are not a bad mom. this isn't something you did wrong. this is not your fault. she just won't eat. so many babies take formula. look at maty. look at how healthy and happy he is. he never had breast milk. jude will be okay."

so we switched. we switched and i had to learn how to not feel like a failure or a quitter or a bad mom because of it. and, honestly, how stupid is it that? how dumb is it that because of everything i read online and the pressure i put on myself, i felt like a failure because my baby simply didn't want to nurse?

it's amazing how quickly we all calmed down after we made the switch. jude was getting enough food and she was getting it fast. i don't think i was producing as much as she needed and she wasn't getting it quick enough. homegurl likes to eeaaattt. cory and i got more sleep and my crying sessions spaced themselves out a bit more. which was a blessing in itself. i finally felt like i was able to focus all my attention on being a good mom.

now that i've written this out, i'm wondering why i did. i guess what i'm trying to say is that we need to be kinder to ourselves. we need to remember that we are all doing the best we can. it's sad to see that so much of the mom-shaming going on today is mostly self-inflicted. no one is better than someone else. we need to do what works best for us and our babies. because, honestly. as long as they're happy, what else matters?

jude is happy.
jude is healthy.
jude is formula fed.
and that's okay.


Alissa said...

You're a great mom. Never forget that!

I was bottle fed, and look how well I tu--, ya know what? Never mind.

I'm kidding! :)

But, really, I have a blog post for you to read, as soon as I can find it.

Lex said...

I think this post is proof that you're a fabulous mom.


kylie said...

you are a good mom. don't let the haters (including yourself sometimes) get you down.

Shambray Matthews said...

I couldn't agree more. I feel like we are all too hard on ourselves. You are a wonderful mommy!

Cassie Traasdahl said...

YES. I love this. You are an amazing mother Brissa! I already have such a hard time with the mommy-battles that have taken over the internet, and I know it'll only get worse once I have kids. I hope I get to meet you and that cute baby someday (literally typed "hope I get to meet Jude" and then realized we've never met either.... awk) because for realz I think we could be BFFs.

Natasha Louise Taylor said...

Oh I can tell you are a fabulous mum, I actually have a friend with a similar story and she'd breatfed all of her children up until that point and she couldn't do it anymore. What's best is your response to the situation, being kind to yourself about it actually helps Jude as she sees a happy Mum, sometimes these things just happen, and you are awesome! :)

Kandice Breinholt said...

surreal moment because this could have been written by me in 2011.

three months into breastfeeding natalie started...

" legitimately freaking out. screaming, flailing, turning red. she was completely inconsolable. "

i would get SO frustrated and scared and worried and feel so overwhelmed. a week went by with my newborn baby refusing to eat and we both would scream and cry all day.

then one day i remember those tiny bottles of formula that the hospital had sent home with us. i had stashed them away in some closet and i just thought to myself that i'd just try it and see how it went.

i put that little bottle to natalie's lips and she immediately stopped crying and sucked the thing down in seconds as if she had been starving all along. she was SO HAPPY to have food and nourishment.

sean got home and i told him and he was so supportive because he knew how hard it had been that week we started having issues. he reminded me of those days when we had a date planned and i had to spend the entire day prior to the date pumping on the couch non-stop hoping our crappy pump would collect more than two ounces for my parents to use if she got hungry while in their care. it was so hard.

our stories are so similar, it brings me right back. and, alas, if nursing is something you want to try again with your subsequent children, i can tell you that at least for me, it came so easily the second time around.
perhaps it will for you too?

love you love you love you
(and i love even more to hear of the love you have for that jude)