Two things that have rocked my world since becoming a mom are 1) mom guilt and 2) mom shaming. And one of the things that surprises me most is that these two go hand-in-hand when it comes to how a mom chooses to feed her baby. I was clueless to the pressure many moms feel to breastfeed and to the fact that many moms have a difficult time maintaining a milk supply, getting their baby to latch, and all of the other issues that can pop up when nursing.
Another thing that surprised me? How HARD breastfeeding can be. It’s exhausting. It felt complicated. And it was painful. And even the stigma around saying it’s hard, or that you don’t like it, continue to amaze me. Let’s all admit this: fed is best. Yes, breast milk is amazing — but so is a mama’s sanity and baby’s health. If you’re stressed and baby isn’t getting enough to eat, then you’re comprising both of these important things.
My breast feeding journey has been, overall, similar for both of my children. I thought I would exclusively breastfeed both babies with ease. I was offended when friends suggested I have some formula on hand in case I had any problems and needed it in a pinch. DEEPLY offended. How dare they suggest I wouldn’t be good at it? Or that I’d give up and resort to formula? They were both moms. They knew what I hadn’t yet learned. Breastfeeding is not all sunshine and rainbows and for some people, their journey is shorter than others. And that’s okay. It’s more than okay! Every mom is different and every mom knows what is best for herself and her baby.
Both times I’ve struggled with my supply. With Blaire, she lost too much weigh during our time in the hospital, so I drove myself insane pumping and tracking every ounce she ate, starting at 3-days-old. And when I couldn’t make enough for her, I supplemented with formula. And guess what? She thrived! She put on weight and she continues to be happy and healthy, three years later.
With Ben, my supply came in quicker and was okay for a few weeks. I have one side that makes virtually nothing. Also I, personally, am uncomfortable nursing in public. So it’s hard to keep up a supply when you’re frequently giving a bottle of pumped milk, but not emptying your breast while out and about. And it’s a vicious cycle that never stops. But it’s unrealistic for me to not be out and about when Ben may need to eat. With both kids I’ve gone back to work at 12 weeks and that has taken an even bigger toll on my supply. It’s not fun. It can be very frustrating. But, in the end, Ben is also happy and healthy and thriving. That’s all that matters.
My worth as a mother is not based upon my ability to make breastmilk. My worth as a mother is based upon my love for my children. And YES, we must make sure they are taken care of, but we must also make sure we are taken care of. Feeding them, clothing them, caring for them, loving them, teaching them to be children who are grateful, kind, compassionate and caring. These are the measurements I look at to define my worth as a mother.
As moms, I think we constantly feel pressure. Whether it’s really there in our lives or just something we’re inflicting on ourselves. The constant feeling of having eyes on you. Of people judging your every move.
I want you to know you should waste NO time feeling guilty when…
- you’re feeding a bottle of formula to your baby.
- you’re mixing up a formula bottle in the middle of a crowded area.
- you put a can of formula in your shopping cart.
- you have thoughts of wanting to quit breastfeeding.
- you want to roll your eyes at your friend who talks about her freezer full of milk.
- you want to take your breast pump parts outside and burn them.
Imagine the weight that will be lifted from you when you no longer worry about the mom guilt (in this aspect of momming, anyways!) You are a mom now! You have no time to waste worrying about what everyone else thinks. You could spend that time sleeping… or staring at your baby sleeping… or looking at photos of them sleeping.
When it comes down to it, yes, breast milk is best for your baby. But, EBF just isn’t that simple, cut and dry for all mamas. According to the CDC’s 2016 Breastfeeding Report Card, 81% of moms have breastfed their baby at some point, while only 44% are EBF their 3-month-old and only 22% are EBF their 6-month-old. So, whether you choose to exclusively formula-feed your baby from the beginning, or you choose to supplement your low breast milk supply with formula, choosing a high-quality formula is important.
There are so many different types of baby formula out there, and it can be overwhelming to try to find the best fit for your little one. After so. much. research. I finally found Baby’s Only formula by Nature’s One®. Researching baby formula is actually scarier than you may think. Reading through what the ingredients are actually made of, reading about the side-effects of those ingredients. And yes! Honestly, organic, is a feel-good word! Not all organic baby formulas are created equally.
I was a little thrown off at first because Nature’s One Baby’s Only is marketed as a “Toddler Formula” but do not fear, it does meet the same nutritional standard the FDA has set for infant formula. Nature’s One is privately-owned and operated, by the original founder of the company, something I love, love, love to support.
We tried a few other organic formulas before finding Nature’s One and neither of the other two were as gentle on Ben’s tummy as Nature’s One. The consistency is vastly different from any other baby formula.
Lucky for you, you can try Nature’s One free through their website! (You just have to pay shipping.) And they run awesome deals. The last time I ordered I was able to stock up on cans cans for $10.99 instead of $15.99/each.
So, mama, just remember, as long as you’re doing what you feel is best for your little one, you have absolutely NO reason to feel guilty. You’re doing your best and that’s what matters. At the end of the day, that baby will love you no matter what, because to that precious babe, you’re the earth, moon and stars.