The most controversial F word in a mamas language.
My f-ing goodness.
Why does it bring such criticism and shame?
Let me tell you a little about both my breast feeding journey's.
Zoe was a preemie, I didn't even get to hold her immediately, she was whisked away after an emergency c-section. By far the scariest day of my life. We had heard the worse case scenario being she could be still-born (I still can't say this out loud) and then she came into this world (and beat all odds) perfectly perfect but itty bitty and since it took my milk a week to come in, in the NICU she was bottle fed a mix of formula and breast milk.
Did you know preemie's aren't allowed to breast feed right away or for too long because they burn too many calories doing so? She'd have designated, timed breast feeding visits once or twice a day. I'd sit in my extended stay room at the hospital with my rented pump, crying as I stare at my pump bottles barely filling a 1 ounce bottle . She'd have to have formula.
Don't get me wrong we breast fed for 18 months and had an amazing journey but in that first month I'd feed her a few bottles of formula to supplement what I could pump and I'd feel so friggen guilty about it. Like ugly cry in the bathtub during my "relaxing bath" because "breast feeding IS A NATURAL" thing and I was failing at it. The tears were tears because I was failing this tiny little human.
I remember purchasing that first container of the golden dust. The stuff that helped me get my preemie to 4 pounds so we could take her home. The dust that allowed me two straight hours of sleep or getting my hair done so I could feel human again. The golden dust that brought so much guilt and judgement. I was beet red and asked for a gift receipt... This way the Target cashier or other checkout guests wouldn't think I was giving my baby the F-Word.
The second time around the guilt was even more fierce. Ami had a REALLY hard time gaining her birth weight back. It took over 2 weeks. We had like 5 doctor visits and 2 at home nurse visits to weight her. I pumped every 2 hours for 3 months, got mastitis twice because whenever I wasn't pumping she was on the boob. And cried through so many feedings because it was so painful I literally couldn't even open my eyes.
Again, we powered through. Even the 3 months of cluster feeding with her brace on, when she refused to take a bottle ( seriously 12 WEEKS!!!! ) we powered through and it is still one of the things I enjoy the most about motherhood. The connection, the closeness, the whole process of my body carrying her and then feeding her is just AMAZING. But it is f-ing hard.
And we should be able to say that, it may be natural but it is hard. And it hurts. And it's not glamourous. And I'm usually not made up or have my hair brushed. But (almost) exclusively breast feeding is right for us and it is special to us.
I am a strong believer in the fact that a happy mama is the best for baby. So let's try and judge less, let's be kind to ourselves and let's remember that we each have our own journey. We each have to take in the facts/knowledge and do what is RIGHT FOR OURSELVES.
During this week to honor the importance and awareness of breast feeding I'd like to remind everyone that this special golden dust feeds babies. It feeds adopted babies, babies of mamas who do not survive or are simply unable to breast feed, babies of mamas that choose to supplement or simply formula feed, it feeds adopted and fostered babies.
It FEEDS babies, period.
Let's let go our judgy-wudgy-finger-waving-looks.
Better yet lets understand that we should all have rights to our own bodies no matter what we decide to do with them.
This is the start to a series on the breast feeding journey of different mamas of different walks of life. From mamas that exclusively breast feed, who exclusively pump, who do a mix of it all or skip breast feeding completely to do what is best for them. I ask for feedback and comments but that ALL judgement be left at the door. If you don't have something nice to say you best believe I will delete it! ha. no but really, let's support eachother.