Baby Steps, Mom Steps: Breast Intentions
There was no doubt in my mind: I was going to breastfeed. Exclusively. Nature set it up for me to be able to provide food for my baby and I didn’t need to worry about formula…or so I thought.
While I did plan to pump so that we could also use bottles, allowing my husband to get in on the 3am feedings (I love you, honey!), I was not planning on using anything but breastmilk. However, when my son started to show physical signs of lack of nutrition (including a scary change in skin color), my doctor suggested supplementing him with formula in addition to the breastfeeding. I made my first decision as a mom for the health of my child and said “okay.”
Once his color returned to normal, I stopped using the formula. We were home by this time, and my postpartum depression was in full force. We had gotten a baby nurse (thank heaven for her!) and on her first day, she made the suggestion, once again, that I supplement breastmilk with formula. Well, since my son was at least his normal color again I just wouldn’t have it. Even though his constant crying was likely due to his being hungry, I threw a fit. I said a lot of awful things, slammed a few doors, and proceeded to cry for the next hour!
I realized that I’d come to believe that anything less than 100% breastmilk was failure. I had to let go of that belief for my personal well being.
I continued to breastfeed and supplement for the first 5-6 months, and, while I was able to pump at night when he slept, I was not able to store any “extras.” When I went back to work I weaned him off the breastmilk and he continued on formula until he was a year old when he then started drinking regular cow’s milk. And you know what? He didn’t get his first cold until he was 11 months old. When he started day care he certainly had his share of physical ailments, but in general, his health has been great.
When new moms talk to me about what to do about breastfeeding, I always tell them that there is no such thing as failure: you do what you can, and that IS good enough.
Lauren is a mom, wife, BornFree Ambassador, and former architect living in New York. She describes herself as being quite a bit like Phoebe from “Friends” with a little Monica thrown in. Her blog “Baby Steps. Mom Steps” is a regular column on BornFreeMom.com
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