Look at that cutie bear!
Over the past eight months (yea, Zain turned eight months this week—can you believe it?) I’ve learned a lot about myself, my baby and my family. I know I had mentioned this before, but the mom shaming is real. Whether it’s about staying at home vs working in an office, breastfeeding vs formula, CIO or not, it seems to be a sensitive place for a lot of women.
I hope that by sharing mine and my families experience, it can open up a dialogue and a place for us to talk freely about our experiences because I know they are all so different and there is so much we can learn from one another. Before I ever had Zain, I knew I wanted to breastfeed. It’s just something I had always seen myself doing and even though I believe ‘Fed is Best’ I wanted to try my hand at this breastfeeding thing.
I touched on the very beginning of our journey a little bit here but the actual act of feeding was quite easy for us. He was good at latching, very quick and efficient and I seemed to be surviving. He latched within seconds of being born and if anything, I had an oversupply issue. Everything was going well (well, besides us never sleeping ha!) until around 2-3 months.
Zain’s reflux got really bad. He would cry inconsolably in the evenings for an hour or so because his gas was hurting him. We tried everything from gas drops, bicycle kicks, tummy exercises, even the Frida Windi once. Nothing seemed to relieve him and we finally consulted our pediatrician about it. She recommended we try a formula that was helpful for reflux in his last bottle before bed to see how it helped.
This, much like the sleep training was something I would agree to during the day and then when it came time to do it; I would resist and just nurse him. I felt a little selfish for it especially when his reflux wasn’t improving and I finally gave in.
I sat in my bedroom and cried my eyes out while Trevor fed him a bottle of formula in the living room. I didn’t expect to have such a strong reaction but I think more than anything, I felt like a failure. I felt like I had let him down and myself I guess.
The formula seemed to greatly help his reflux and he almost immediately stopped having so much discomfort in the evenings. We decided to keep that one bottle on the schedule and after that first time it bothered me less and was so nice to have someone else feed him every night.
We continued that schedule till around 5 months. Zain was becoming more aware and breastfeeding was becoming harder and harder. He would latch and then immediately come away, turn his head and try to look around. I think he was just getting older and less interested in staring at me all day, haha.
It slowly started to happen at every feed and I physically couldn’t get him to stay latched long enough to fill him up anymore. I started pumping and storing milk but we had some trouble with that too. For reference, I used the Medela Freestyle and it worked great! It was covered by my insurance—make sure to call and check with yours because they are almost always covered. I loved how small the pump motor was and it was really easy to travel with. I pumped the whole time I was at Jess and Neal’s wedding in Portland and it was so nice to have something small enough to throw in my bag and take with!
I did a lot of research about thawed milk possibly tasting different and think that may have been the problem but Zain would not drink straight breast milk from a bottle. I was routinely wasting breast milk and literally crying over spilt milk. I tried to save what I could and mix it in with his food but it just wasn’t working for us. Mixing it with formula (even 50/50) seemed to piss him off and eventually once he was past 6 months I stopped trying to force it.
I had to find a way to be at peace more with myself and my goals because Zain was very happy with himself. Some days I really miss it and wish we could have made it to a year and some days I see or hear friends pumping over the phone and don’t miss it a bit, ha!
I think every family has a unique journey and whether you tried or not, I applaud you for doing what’s best for your baby. I think it’s important to take the guilt and shame off of mom’s who decide either way. Zain’s now on full formula (we use Enfamil Gentlease Non – GMO), I still have frozen breast milk I mix in his food and we are obviously on lots of solids. He will eat just about anything and doesn’t even have teeth yet. I’m pretty sure he’s going to eat me out of house and home soon!
We seriously love this high chair!
He’s a happy healthy baby and that’s all I can really ask for. If you have any questions about my journey, breast feeding or formula feel free to reach out and I would love to hear how it went for you!