Mom Knows Best
Having kids is AMAZING! Can I get an Amen, mama? There are some frustrations, yes, but overall, they are the sweetest people to have around. Benjamin says the kindest things to me. In fact, the other day on our way home from the cities, he randomly said, "Mama, your hair looks beautiful like that." Talk about a melted heart!!!
There is a downfall people tend to not talk about, and it doesn't lie within immediate family of you, your significant other and your babies. It lies with other moms and sometimes can even be your own mother or mother in law. They are called "mom shamers" and whether they mean to or not, they certainly make us feel like we are incompetent, they bring up feelings or rage, sadness and doubt within ourselves, though we are doing our very best at being the best moms we can be.
There are so many topics I could cover where mom shamers are most prevalent, but one that really comes to mind, as I have a newborn in the home, is how we feed our babies. I will never forget when my first son was born, how much pressure was put on me to be good at breastfeeding. I remember people talking about a dear friend who's baby was in the NICU and she couldn't produce enough milk and they were saying how horrible it was for her baby because he was already premature. They would tell her to her face and talk behind her back about how she could be doing things this way or that; she must be doing it wrong because "I was able to do it, you must not be trying hard enough." How very heartbreaking! It isn't hard enough to have a baby in the NICU, no certainty whether or not they will survive, let alone people coming and telling you that you are failing as a mother, when you already feel like a failure. It brings tears to my eyes just remembering this.
As for my story, it has its ups and downs. As I said before, the pressure was on with my firstborn. I didn't have much support aside from my husband and as a new mother I had no clue what I was in for. Of course I wanted to breastfeed; they make sure you know that "Breast is Best" which is totally fine. What they don't say is how much it takes out of you, that baby may not latch well, and you really feel tied down. And the TOUCHING. I will never forget the feeling of being "touched out" because I had someone constantly on me, touching me.
I had a hard time getting Benjamin to latch properly and if he would get over hungry he would scream at my boob instead of latching. I was a new mom, the crying really got to me and I became very frustrated with myself to the point of crying because I was failing. I wanted to breastfeed him so badly and if I had to use formula, I would have failed as a mom, though we all know that is not at all true. I tried pumping with a hand me down pump, not even really knowing how to correctly use it. That was also a nightmare, so I never left the house without my baby. We did get into the swing of things with the nursing and I didn't wean him until he was 27 months old. That "touched out" feeling never went away and it wreaked havoc on my marriage. I swore if I ever had another child, I would do it differently. I didn't want the nightmare and I definitely didn't want the stress on my marriage.
Six years later we are blessed with baby #2. Wow, have things changed in this short amount of time, with the education on breastfeeding and the normalizing of it. Even insurance companies provide a breast pump and I happily have a brand new one that works amazing! I was also able to take a class with The Nursing Mama that was all about pumping, because I swore this time I would get away and out of the house for much needed alone time, or time with my oldest or my husband. I wanted things to be different and I am making sure they are.
Little Samuel was born on January 27th and this feeding journey is a lot different already, thankfully. Firstly, I have experience breastfeeding and being a mom so I know more of what to expect, though every baby is different. The nurses made me feel confident in myself when it came to feeding. Samuel latched right away, with no issues, and I think it was because I wasn't so nervous. I am just catching onto his schedule, different feeding cues and getting used to this little person on his own. The Nursing Mama boosted my confidence in the pumping department, though at first it felt like I pumped constantly! When my milk came in, it came in fast and much more than Samuel needed so I already have the bottom of the freezer full. Now I pump once or twice a day. This has been nice, because the days my husband has off, I can go to appointments by myself, or like the other day, take my oldest on a mommy/son date (we went to see the Lego Batman Movie Sunday; it was awesome!). This alone time or "fun" time has helped me feel better and not so overwhelmed in general with the lack of sleep.
Even with all this positivity with breastfeeding, I still struggle. When my milk comes in, it hurts because it comes in so fast and furious, especially if baby has slept an extra hour. There is also the aspect of nipple confusion, which Samuel really hasn't seemed to have, but I worry about it. He doesn't necessarily like the bottle either. Take today for instance; I got back from the cities after my appointment and Samuel was eating a bottle. I went and pumped because I had been gone for a few hours and was very full. Samuel still breastfed almost non-stop once I took him from his daddy until he fell asleep. Is he getting enough from the bottle? Yes, I'm sure he is since we can actually see the ounces, but he doesn't eat as often, because he doesn't prefer it.
Aside from that aspect of feeding, breastfed vs formula fed, and these mom shamers, there is also the breastfeeding-in-public issue that has been a hot topic for a few years now. I feel weird doing it only because of issues in my past, and I know a few other moms who have been sexually abused who it makes them feel awkward. I haven't personally been attacked for breastfeeding in public, but I know it's out there. I make sure to cover up because that is how I prefer to do it, though I know it doesn't bother other moms to just feed in the open.
My point in this is ~ Moms, we do our best no matter how we feed our babies. Whether breastfed exclusively, breastfed while supplementing with formula, or strictly formula feeding, your baby is thriving and that is all that matters. Don't let other moms who think they have it all together get to you, because I'll let you in on a little secret - they don't have it all together. People who tear other's down have something inside of them they are insecure about so don't let them bring you down to their level. YOU are amazing. Don't let someone else tell you otherwise.
Let's all try to be mom supporters instead of mom shamers. Negativity isn't good in any form, let alone tearing down the women raising our future. Go get 'em mama, and feed that baby however you see fit, because you know your baby better than any other person out there.
For information on a good organic baby formula, check out
Also, check out The Nursing Mama on
Holly is an amazing mama who helped me greatly in the pumping department but she is also an expert on breastfeeding itself (naturally).