When I was pregnant I thought breastfeeding would be weird, hard, and I didn’t had any hope that I would have enough milk. The last bit looks so silly to me now, because I’ve learned so much since then. I thought I will be stressed with everything and I will loose the milk. I thought it was going to be hard for me when we go back home, with no help, with my mother in law lurking around and giving unwanted advise, but it turns out the stress level should be pretty high to loose the milk, and even then all is not lost forever.
So the baby came and I gave formula supplements like an ignorant fool because I didn’t do any research and I trusted the doctors that advised me to give it. I didn’t want to get my hopes up that I will successfully breastfeed because I didn’t know too many mommas that did it, so when supplementing was introduced I somehow expected that outcome. But being on a mommy group and meeting a girl with so much experience in breastfeeding that continuously pointed out that the baby doesn’t need formula, that I have enough, that the more formula I give, the more the baby will not get from me, made me HATE her so much in the beginning. The fact that I never gave up and always put the baby to nurse every single time before offering a bottle helped tons, but I ended up with a 1 month old baby that gained 2 lbs 15 oz in his first month and giving him 27 oz A DAY. Which even for a preemie is A LOT.
THEN I started to question the formula intake, and started listening more closely to that girl that never gave up on me. She kept insisting that I should start lowering the formula intake because I don’t have anything to worry about, the baby was gaining MORE than usual, so I listened and started the slow process of removing the formula. Maybe I should’ve got rid of it faster, but the pace helped me feel safe.
Now I know that 98% of women are able to breastfeed their babies, more can do it exclusively, some with help from formula or breast milk, but they can, and they should IF they want to. Now I know that I made breastfeeding hard for myself when it should’ve been as easy as taking a walk in the park. Now I know I can’t fully loose my milk if I keep putting the baby to nurse every time he asks for. Now I know that even if I somehow loose milk do to illness or very special circumstances, I can always re-lactate. Now I know that the country I live in has more to gain if a woman gives formula than if she breastfeeds her baby. Now I know that breastfeeding after 6 months, the usual recommendation, gives the baby SO MANY nutrients, antibodies, good for brain development, for immune system, and I could go on and on.
Formula is what the name calls it, a formula, containing the same stuff, in the same amount, in the same form, for every single day. Where breastmilk contains different stuff every day, or every hour, depending on what baby needs at that moment. It can be watery if he’s thirsty, fat if he’s hungry, more minerals one day, more vitamins the next, with antibodies if mom has a flu, or with melatonin if mom is sleepy. You can eat whatever you want and drink whatever you want, IN MODERATION! No one says you can get drunk and breastfeed, but if you drink a glass of wine right after you nurse, and not get dizzy from it, you can enjoy your rest of the night without worrying, the baby will not get dizzy because of it.
I don’t blame mommies that don’t breastfeed, I don’t care what others do, I just wanted to share this info with those that are misinformed and want to do it as much as I did. I wanted to write this down, to never forget the mistakes I did because I didn’t do proper research of something I wanted so bad. I just needed this truth to come out, and make myself aware of how much I’ve “grown” since 11 months ago. I had to tell myself that I had a bad start, a hard road, felt myself in a rollercoaster at times, and that I should be proud now, that I have a 11 month old baby that still breastfeeds, that weights 22 pounds (10 kilos) and measures 30 inches long (76 cm). He gets solids 3 times a day, 2 bottles of formula (STILL) of 2-3 oz, never managed to get rid of it entirely, but still better than 27-30 oz a day, and nurses during the night and whenever he feels like it, and we did it because I fought for my baby, and never gave up, and because the fighting and the tiring were a good price to pay for what I give to my baby.
I always said “a happy mommy, a happy baby, no matter what you feed your baby”, and the fact that I was able to breastfeed was more satisfactory and made me happier if I did it, than if I did NOT and got some rest instead. I would’ve been depressed not to succeed doing it and I would’ve resented myself not being able to do something so natural and good for my baby. But that is just me, because I just wanted this so bad.
Never thought I would go THIS far, I just hoped for the 6 month mark, but here I am, with a well developed baby, that continues to get what he needs from me and more. I am grateful for every ounce I gave him and for taking it this long. I’m also grateful that the girl I met never gave up on me. So thanks Tabitha, I love you forever! I’m so grateful and so happy to know so much stuff, that it made me want to learn more and help others too. I just hope I can convince more women, that they CAN breastfeed IF they WANT to breastfeed, that NO FORMULA in the world can be THAT accurate and in tune with the baby’s needs as breastmilk is, and they should look for answers away from doctors that don’t have proper training in lactation.
Get informed! Do some research! And don’t forget to be happy! Enjoy the bounding and the beauty of feeding your baby even if is just for a little bit. Every drop is good for him! But if you are not happy doing it or are getting too stressed about it, then it doesn’t benefit anyone!