Thursday, January 14, 2016

Breast or bottle?

But what if its both?
Literally, both.
I fed my baby through a bottle. With milk from my breast.

Harper never latched, so I exclusively pumped for a year for her.
I never planned on this being our journey. But it was. 
It was the hardest thing I've ever done in my entire life. 
Time consuming, such a commitment, and hard. Just plain hard.
There were many tears.
And one of the worst things about it, is that people would see me give Harper a bottle and automatically assume I was giving her formula.
I am not at all against formula. Its there for a reason so use it if you want to or need to. 
Do you feed your baby? Yea? You're a good mom. No matter how you feed your little one.
The thing that hurt the most about it for me, however, was that I was working so hard behind the scenes to provide breast milk for Harper. And no one saw the struggle or knew what we were going through.
Breastfeeding in the traditional sense means putting baby on your breast. Well, sometimes, we can't all do that. Whether it be because baby wouldn't latch like Harper, personal reasons or maybe baby was in the NICU. Or maybe it was a decision you made because you just wanted to & it worked better for you & your family.
I wanted to breastfeed so bad. I cried an insane amount of tears because my plan wasn't working out how I envisioned it. 
When I would try to nurse Harper, she would scream like someone was murdering her.
Four lactation consultants, nipple shields, feeding Harper through a syringe while trying to get her to latch, endless tears and late nights later,  I knew where we were headed. Exclusive pumping.
Its not the end of the world.
Its not a death sentence. 
Its not for everyone, either. I'm not saying breast feeding is easy either. I see it first hand at work how women struggle and cry and question it. 
But any amount of liquid gold you can provide to baby is amazing. 

And in case there is any question, yes, you can maintain a supply by simply pumping.
After the 12 week hormone surge, your supply is determined by exactly that-supply and demand. Want more milk? Pump more. Much like you would putting baby to breast. 

Of course, I feel like pumping is a heck of a lot of work. More work than breastfeeding or formula feeding. Why? Because not only are you feeding your baby, which is the time both a breastfeeding and formula feeding mother would take, but you're also pumping. Pumping alone will take you anywhere from 30 minutes-1 hour. Then you have to clean all the pump supplies and bottles. Wait, maybe you should also fit in some sleep?
So lets think about this. In those first few weeks, when baby is supposed to eat every 2-3 hours, when does mom sleep!? She doesn't. 
So if you're anything like aren't sleeping, you are crying all the time from your dreams being crushed that you can't breastfeed and you now are faced with this super time consuming task that seems so daunting that you could never possibly reach your goal.
You can do it. You can. 
If its something that is a priority to you, you can 100% do it. 

In today's world, it seems as if anyone and everyone has an opinion on how others should parent. That really needs to stop, because each mama is doing the very best they can. Its not fair and so discouraging. The constant comparison is the worst thing.
So the next time you see a mama bring out a bottle to feed her baby, please do not judge her. You don't know whats in that bottle. Or what it took to get whatever it is in a bottle.
Take a step back, and maybe praise her for feeding her baby. No matter how shes doing it. 


  1. Oh my, I did the exact same thing with Allison for 2 months. She would never latch. It was one of the most frustrating things I've ever done. Honestly the only reason I quit was because my body couldn't take it anymore. I was so tired and just not eating enough. I eventually almost passed out... twice... That's when we switched to formula and never looked back!

  2. I breastfed and pumped at work for a year, and cannot imagine how hard exclusively pumping was! I give you so much credit, girl! You are an amazing mama!

  3. Wow EP for 12 months is so amazing! I struggled with nursing with both my kids. It made the first couple months of a new baby so much harder. Lots of tears, supplements, more tears. Looking back I was so hard on myself. I wish there were more articles talking about how hard is can be, so moms like me don't feel like such failures. It's tough! Pumpin ain't easy!

  4. Amazing post! I am 12 weeks away from having my first and absolutely LOVE that so many Mummas have shared their experiences as it has taught me I need to be absolutely flexible with absolutely everything! Sure I have my 'plans and wants' but in the end, it's whatever works for our children. <3 Thank you


  5. I HATE the "how to properly and best feed your baby" debate. I agree with you. As long as you are feeding your child, you are a good mom. I had a hard time nursing, as well. My son was born tongue-tied, so he ended up bruising me pretty badly. We used a shield for about a month. But, he also had silent reflux and spit up most of what he ate, and wasn't growing as he should. Around 3-4 months, he would suck then pull away screaming, on and off. I was working, so I'd pump at work and could barely get anything. I tried fenugreek, changing up my diet, getting off birthcontrol, all the "solutions" But, I just wasn't producing enough milk for my baby. We supplemented with formula. But, I wanted to breastfeed my son. It was important to me. But, as he turned 4 months, we decided to try just solely formula feeding him. He had a MAJOR growth spurt the next two weeks. It broke my heart because I felt like I couldn't do what my body was supposed to do. But, I knew it was the right thing to put him on formula because it was better for his health.

  6. Therefore, the foremost necessary issue to contemplate is that your baby, whose system is certainly not as robust as a baby or adult's, has properly sterilized, germ-free instrumentation like bottles and pacifiers see more information.


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