Breastfeeding. Oh man. I could write and talk about breastfeeding for hours. From my own experience to friends’ experiences, and women all over. A natural act that does not come natural for everyone. Lock and I have made it 5 months nursing. We battled a tongue tie, a large dip in supply, to the stomach flu, nursing in public, nursing schedules, the best nursing covers, and what to do when baby just needs more food. I have eaten an absurd amount of oatmeal, drank a large quantity of booby smoothies and herbal teas, and definitely emptied a few lactation pill bottles.
Breastfeeding was a big deal for me when I found out I was pregnant, so much so it quickly became an idol in my heart. In some ways, I allowed the way Lock was fed define me as a mother. When he had his tongue tie and it was miserable, I allowed to let myself feel like I was failing him. While breastmilk does give the most nutritional value to a baby, breastfeeding itself can be extremely stressful on a mother when the floodgates of milk don’t open up. Always nervous if he was getting enough, if he fussed at all, I assumed it was because he was still hungry. I really just focused so much on breastmilk, I didn’t allow myself to just enjoy him. “Breast is best” is all you feel like you hear when you’re pregnant and having a baby, but isn’t “fed is best” really what we, as new mothers, want to hear? Yes. I am so proud of myself for sticking it out and not giving up on nursing, but I also had a community of people standing behind me and supporting me in what I chose. At the end of the day, Lock was always fed.
My husband really was my biggest encouragement and greatest support. When those mommy hormones hit hard and I was about to throw the towel in, I literally cried to Martin saying Lock wasn’t going to bond with me, and Martin simply responded “We aren’t breastfed by God. We are adopted by God. If we don’t bond with God through breastfeeding, I am pretty sure there’s more to bonding with Lock than how you feed him.” I mean can you say convicted? He was so right! From that moment, I wasn’t letting breastfeeding define me as a mother, because it just doesn’t. Then, everything just became easier because I wouldn’t let myself worry over it. Here is some advice to all the mommies out there struggling or preparing to have a baby:
1. Always remember how many ounces you can make does not define you as a mother. You are a mother by how you love and communicate with your child. God handpicked you to raise that baby in the way of Him and that’s what matters.
2. Always feed your baby. I have no shame if Lock is still hungry after I nurse and we make a bottle. I can’t keep up with his growing tummy, so he just gets the best of both worlds.
3. Find a mommy friend or friends that have the same goals and values as you. I have a few friends whom really walked alongside with me to help me get where I am today. Shout out to Morgan Ellis for helping Lock latch the second day I was home from the hospital….
4. Don’t let breastfeeding define you, because it definitely does not.
5. Oatmeal really does help, and so does all the carbs. Eat up!
6. Seek out a lactation consultant for guidance. Breastfeeding is “natural” but then so not all at the same time.
7. Formula is not poison.
8. Stay off the internet. Might just be me, but some articles on the internet can really kill my day, so I stay clear of google. Google is satan. just sayin’
9. Power pumping does help, but is a big time commitment!
10. Set goals for yourself when it comes to nursing. I would set a goal to make it to three months, then four, and sometimes just one more day. It takes a lot of pressure off yourself when you set little milestones to achieve.
11. If you think you’re eating enough calories, you probably aren’t, so go eat that cookie cake.
12. You will feel like you’re drinking the worlds amount of water, but your body will need more than that. Buy a large water bottle and continuously refill it.
13. The more you empty your breasts, the more your body will know to keep producing. Nurse and pump away!
14. Breastfeeding is not an all or nothing deal. Lock gets mainly breastmilk, but formula too, and it just works for us! Do what works for you and your family best.
15. Ignore what everyone else is doing and saying. There will always be people that say their unwanted opinion or say things before they think it through. Ignore it. I let way too many people ring in my ears, and it just made things worse. Just nod your head, smile, and walk away.
God created us in unique ways for specific reasons. I am honored He chose me to struggle with the beginning stages of nursing, because it opened so many deep conversations I never would have had otherwise. I have met and grown close to some women I never would have talked to if it weren’t for the struggles we started off with when Lock was born. It has showed me how different every woman’s journey is wih all stages of motherhood. Truthfully, we are all just winging it everyday no matter what anyone says. Some days are better than others. Some days you just have to find your own punch line. For example, Lock ate peas last night, had an explosive diaper, and now his thighs are stained yellow…so who is winning here?! The glories of motherhood, I swear, are found in the punch lines of life. Try and tell me it’s not funny when your baby poops on your husband after you got 0 hours of sleep and HE says he’s tired….love you babe. All in all, find the glory in the creation you are. Be open with whom you are, God made you for a reason, down to every bit.
There’s probably a lot of points I am missing and will want to put later, but this is all I have for now. I am a complete open book when it comes to just about everything and would love to give advice and help anyone that needs it. Shoot me a message and let’s chat! At the end of the day, you bond with your baby because you were chosen to be its mother. No one can do a better job than you, so ignore what everyone else is saying. Negative opinions are never wanted (:
Last thing, it is by far one of the sweeter moments watching Martin bottle feed Lock.