I hate feeling like a machine for making milk.
I hate the awkward positions & endless back aches
I hate really wanting to pee and not being able to get up.
I hate that my boobs are now two different sizes, and may stay that way.
I hate having to be half naked in public on a regular basis.
I hate having milk leak all over me.
Most of all, I hate sleepless nights staying up breastfeeding every two hours.
All moms know about these nights. Psychologically, feeding every two hours overnight was really detrimental for me. The constant lack of sleep contributed heavily to my postpartum depression, and by week two, my body was so weak I passed out on the floor. Unable to get myself up, I laid there for nearly 20 minutes, without the strength to even call for help. Eventually, Douglas found me and fed me back to life.
After that we knew we needed to change. I needed to sleep at night if I was going to be any good to my family. We decided to ignore everyone’s advice and look to bottle feeding, so that DG could help feed Noa during the night. I was lucky I already had an amazing breast pump that was meant for future use. My mom had generously bought me a Spectrum Dual Action Breast Pump, which is super incredible amazing and worth every penny. I would recommend it to everyone I’ll ever meet.
When I began pumping, my life changed dramatically. I pumped extra milk, froze or refrigerated it, and DG and I began to swap off nights for feeding. That meant that every other night I got a full night of sleep. Please, to all women out there, let your partners help you at night. It is potentially the best system ever and it very much saved my sanity.
Plenty of people tried to warn us off. They said Noa would get nipple confusion. They told us he won’t want to feed off my breast anymore. I was told it was more work to pump than to just feed him from my boob. (For me, quite the opposite is true.)
I can only speak from my own experience, however I can tell you that none of those things have been problems for us. Noa happily eats from a bottle or from my breast, no problem. As long as there is milk coming out he is keen. My milk supply hasn’t lessened or really changed at all, and when I’m healthy and well slept I can pump a 6 oz bottle of milk in approximately 4 minutes.
When I pump milk, I don’t experience any of the awkward social situations that I formerly dreaded, further helping me feel like a normal human being. I repeat: I love my breast pump.
Now, I express milk and bottle feed about 50-60% of the time. I find it much more comfortable than having Noa suck on my nipple all the time, which can hurt. Sometimes, when we’ve got time, or we’re out at the beach, it’s nice to sit and breastfeed. It seems like, now that its not an on command requirement, it came sometimes actually be enjoyable. I admit though, I still prefer the bottle most of the time.
IT’S TOTALLY OKAY NOT NOT LIKE BREASTFEEDING. I THINK MORE WOMEN NEED TO HEAR THAT.
Bottle feeding has also been great for our family. With bottle feeding DG can feed Noa just as much as I do. It helps us be a team, so we can fill in for each other’s when we need. For example, I’m pretty sure DG night feeds more than I do. I am not ashamed of this at all, because I am a horrible person when sleep deprived, and he seems sort of fine with it.
Pumping and bottle feeding also means we can have a nanny or friend watch Noa and we can go surfing or be normal people for a few hours. I don’t think it’s possible to overrate how amazing it is to be able to do normal things when you’ve got a newborn. Having two free hours can put everything back into perspective and make the rest of the day flow smoothly.
I still believe in the powers of breast milk, so we haven’t gone to formula yet. However, when I got sick, I wasn’t producing enough milk. I felt completely worthless; like I was failing as a mom. We considered formula as a backup plan. Although we didn’t end up needing it, I don’t think it would have been the end of the world. If you’re not making enough milk, it’s not your fault. You are a good mom. If you have trouble pumping or don’t make enough, you don’t need to suffer, or diminish the quality of your baby’s diet. You can get donor milk, or if that isn’t an option for you, there are all natural formula recipes you can make at home.
Remember, life is about what makes you happy. If something isn’t making you happy, change it. Breastfeeding doesn’t have to be your thing, and don’t let anyone pressure you into thinking otherwise. Find what works for you and your family, so that you can be happy.
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