THANK YOU + a little more about formula11:21 AM
To do this right I must start at the beginning. The story begins when I was halfway through my pregnancy and I read somewhere that the absolute best time to start breastfeeding was right away. So I was determined that as soon as I would be done gazing at my little bundle of love I would attempt breastfeeding. And so it happened that I pulled Birdie's tiny body onto my chest, for some reason asked for "permission" to breastfeed, lifted up my shirt and... pure bliss ensued. She latched on perfectly and sucked voraciously. I thought to myself "this is it! I got it! We got it! Go us!!" She nursed for a few minutes and predictably passed out.
The next few feedings went fairly well until the evening of the second day. Papa bear had left to go check on our kitty and get us some food and he returned to our room at the hospital to quite a scene... There I was in my bed topless, bewildered, my face soaked with tears and my almost purple screaming babe in my arms next to me. I told him I had been trying to nurse her for the past forty-five minute to no avail. He did the absolutely prudent thing and pushed the button for the nurse. Moments later a lovely young girl appeared who attempted to help - I am not going to delve into the minutia but let it be said she was also of no use. However, she did tell me that most likely my baby is fine, I should let her sleep and that she would send a "lactation specialist" to me first thing in the morning.
Now let me tell you about this "specialist." This woman was more than a specialist, she was our angel. She came bustling into our room at 8 am with her arm full of bracelets cheerfully jingling and for the next two hours she proceeded to get as close and intimate with me as almost my own husband (side note: you may think it's all very awkward, and maybe it is, but when you feel like your child is starving you'll stand stark naked in a mall if it guaranteed a full feeding). And this sweet, sweet lady showed me how to nurse, because NO it's NOT common sense. I will forever be grateful to her as I'm sure Birdie will as well.
It was a few weeks before we had another one of the screaming incidents but I would always try some of the tricks she taught me and we seemed to figure it out. And yet by the time Birdie was one month old I couldn't shake the feeling that this was not how it was supposed to be. I read Vanessa Lachey's experience with PPD and nursing a few weeks ago and she described some of my feelings perfectly. I too hated the way nursing left me feeling very lonely. I wouldn't seclude myself due to embarrassment but because of the fact that because of my broken tailbone the only place it was comfortable for me to nurse was my bed and I wasn't dragging my husband, my family or my friends to our bedroom with me every time V needed to nurse. I kept waiting for that "warm and fuzzy" feeling that so many women spoke of to kick in but it never did. Instead with every passing week I would find myself dreading that cry more and more. I began to obsess about it, spending every "non-nursing" minute dreading what was to come.
And then on top of everything I got a plugged duct. At this point papa bear had gone back to work, I was alone, in a lot of pain, with no way to feed my screaming infant, attempting to make do with one breast and trying to pump the other one while gritting my teeth. As George Banks would say "that was the low point." It was then and only then that I got the courage to even begin to broach the topic of formula with my husband. Being the ever supportive and kind spouse that he is he told me that his priority is a happy mama and baby and that I should do whatever I think will bring that about. I wanted to make it to five months so badly but each day was becoming insufferable and so I decided I would try a little bit at four months.
I'll never forget the drive to the COOP to pick up our first can of formula. We were driving back home, the can safely tucked away in the backseat and I had a complete panic attack and meltdown. I felt like I was failing, like I was a terrible mother, terrible person and that this was my first test and I had failed miserably. I cried and cried and cried. And then the next day with a lot of support from papa bear I gave her her first bottle. She had had bottles before so that was not an issue but she also didn't mind the formula itself!! I was relieved but also still a little apprehensive.
The following week we decided that I should go back on birth control and between that and supplementing some of the feedings with formula my milk had dried up completely within two weeks. Whether I wanted to or not we were fully on formula. And I have to tell you it felt so good!
All that time I spent dreading nursing I now enjoyed with my little girl, I could wear my (much more comfortable) old bras again and a lot of the hassle of breastfeeding was gone. For me personally it was a much better fit. I was happy, my baby was happy and we were all happy as a family. And now you my dears have taken away that last pang of guilt! Formula isn't for everyone but neither is breastfeeding and as so many of you have told me as long as our babies are healthy and happy well to put it bluntly - who cares?!
Since this is already the longest post on earth I'm going to just briefly touch on what we use that works and makes all of our lives easier:
- Earth's Best Organic Infant Formula - I did a lot of research and this really seems to be the best organic option. It's also worth noting that a lot of our family have often remarked saying that V doesn't at all "smell like a formula baby." We once tried conventional formula and I simply couldn't stand the smell. She's never had any problems with it whatsoever.
- Lifefactory baby bottles - these are pricey but well worth it. They are glass which I love but best of all the nipples NEVER get clogged. All other bottles I have tried were a disaster when it comes to formula including Medela (duh), Tommee Tippee and Honest Co's baby bottle. Also, I've found that the glass retains the temperature much better.
- Tea kettle - I'm big on giving her the formula warm as often as humanely possible (unless we're out) and this tea kettle is fantastic and warming the water to the perfect temperature in just a matter of seconds. It's also very small and portable.
- OXO Tot bottle brush - this is my favorite for the Lifefactory bottles as it's long enough to get to the very bottom and fits inside perfectly.
- Gerber Pure Water - I mentioned my troubles with baby water in the last post so let me say something GOOD about this water. It's available in most grocery stores including Target. It's ready for mixing which means you don't have to boil it which is great for when you're in a time crunch and like I said before I have never had any problems.
So that is our experience with both breastfeeding and formula! Thank again SO much for making me feel comfortable and understood and for giving me the opportunity to share about this. And as always any other formula feeding mamas please do share any tips or advice that you have!!
Sending each and every single one of you and huge, huge hug!!!