Let me start by saying I am so grateful that my body is producing and providing for my baby. I am so grateful we have had a fairly smooth nursing experience. I am so grateful to get to bond with my baby by feeding her this way. Breastfeeding is glorified as this always beautiful, lovely, magical thing. Sometimes it is, but sometimes… I get jealous of formula feeding moms.
I know that as a new mother breastfeeding can be one of the many important things you can do for your baby. I know that there are immense benefits such as passing antibodies and providing a balanced mix of nutrients, even to the extent of the baby’s saliva communicating what it needs at different times in their infancy. It’s connected to higher IQ scores in certain studies, better bonding, and fewer ear and respiratory issues according to WebMd, and as confirmed by The American Academy of Pediatrics helps reduce the risk of SIDS.
I never know how much I’m actually producing, I have to trust my body to just make exactly what my baby needs and maybe a little extra. While a firm believer on letting babies eat whenever and however much, I don’t get that visual confirmation that baby has ate X amount. If I’m going to pump I have to hope that my body will compensate if baby decides to be hungry again shortly after, but again have no guarantee.
I have to constantly be aware of what I’m putting into my body, too much caffeine, spicy foods, or even veggies and fruit could upset a little ones tummy. Certain herbs can pass through to her and potentially cause harm. If I get sick I have to be wary of cold medicines as they can dry up my milk and or pass to the baby.
My breasts are not mine, they are not my husband’s, they are our daughters. So after giving birth, I didn’t really get my body back, I’m still sharing it with my baby. Along that same line, unless I manage to pump any excess, I am still attached to my baby 24/7 for the next however long. If I’m in the tub for the first time in a week for some much needed mommy time, face mask applied, bath bomb fizzing, favorite song on, and baby calls… I’m hoping my bath water stays warm.
My clothes are limited to what can be easily removed for that 24/7 access to my daughter’s meals, and what conceals my less then sexy breast pads, as well as any surprise minor leaks.
I cannot diet or do intense exercise. I have to eat and keep my carb consumption higher in order to keep up a healthy supply…that mystery supply that I can never know how much I am making, makes sense right?
So, that baby weight that isn’t magically melting away with breastfeeding isn’t really going anywhere.
I will be the first to admit that when my daughter pulls away from my breast, fussy for whatever reason today, it’s always a thought that crosses my mind, wouldn’t it just be easier to formula feed? When I see that crisp cold energy drink or quad shot iced coffee in another mother’s hand when I was up feeding baby every hour and a half last night, I think about how nice it would be to have that extra boost to help me fold that mound of laundry. When my week has consisted of a four year old with a million questions about everything climbing on one side of me while I’m nursing baby on the other, and my get away is speed grocery shopping, the thought of being able to have someone else feed my baby so I can get my toes done and go on a date with husband sounds like pure heaven.
I know that by choosing to be a mother I chose to do the best for my children with what I have in each and every situation. With my eldest my body stopped producing enough around the 2-3 month mark. So the best decision I could make was to supplement and then switch to formula, so my baby could grow and get the nutrition she needed. She is smart, and vibrant, and formula feeding her is not something I regret.
In this situation, my body is maintaining my supply well. Baby is growing and healthy. She not only is getting the nutrition she needs but extra things like antibodies that protected her when the last bug swept through our family.
So my decision is clear, I will put aside my selfish woes and cravings for that quad shot caramel machiatto and just have a cup of coffee. I will wait to try and burn that extra little bit of baby fluff off with intense exercises and work on maintaining and staying active. I will reheat bath water or just take showers. I will buy clothing that I can still feel attractive in that hides my nursing pads. Lastly, I will continue to pump so that maybe someday soon me and my husband can go on a date that lasts longer then an hour, after I’ve gotten my toes done of course. I will breastfeed until our situation changes. Because in our situation breast is best, for now.
What choices have you made about feeding your little? Have you made choices that are hard for you but best for baby?