My nursing journey has been pretty easy with Emma and I’m so grateful. I had a bit of a rough start; two months before having her I got a swollen milk duct(those hurt soooo bad), I had a brief stint with mastitis, my nipples felt like knives were cutting them every time Emma would nurse and let’s not even talk about engorged boobs. It was rough in the beginning but after Emma and I got in our groove things were smooth sailing. I love the bonding I get to have with her and that I can nourish her completely with just my body. Womens bodies are truly an incredible thing.
With that being said I feel like I’ve been putting a lot of pressure on myself to nurse her for a certain amount of time. She’s 7 months now, she’s eating purees and soft foods and with work and life in general, I haven’t had a ton of time to pump milk for our nanny and even for Aaron if I want to go run errands. It’s been an ongoing battle of I’m exhausted I would really love to go to bed right now but ughh I have to pump! Not everyday is like that but it’s so time consuming!
One of my best friends got married this month and leading up to the wedding came a lot of festivities. One of which was a bachelorette weekend in Napa. Although this mama totally needed it, I was reluctant to go because Emma was only 5 months old and I had never been away from her but another reason being how in the hell will I pump enough milk to be gone a whole weekend? The pressure I put on myself was unreal. Between having to pump for the nanny during the week and trying to save up to be gone for 3 days, I was so stressed. On top of that, I had major anxiety about traveling with 25+ bags of milk on a flight alone with Emma. It ended up being completely fine, I was able to save up enough milk but holy cow!(literally)
Fast forward to the wedding weekend. I discovered last minute that I’d have to be gone from Emma for two days and I didn’t have any milk saved up. I tried pumping nonstop. I pumped in the mornings and in the evenings. I drank a ton of water, I ate a ton of those lactation bars. It just wasn’t enough time for me to save up what I needed to be gone from her. I ended up buying formula and immediately felt a weight lifted off my shoulders. I had put so much pressure on myself to make sure that I had enough breastmilk saved up that I completely turned a blind eye to what was right in front of me. Emma ended up drinking the formula just fine and I was able to be there for my best friends big day, worry free.
It’s been a couple weeks since the wedding and we’re still using formula at least once or twice a day. I’m still breast feeding but the pressure of having to pump frequently and build up a constant stash of milk is gone. And you know what? I’m a lot happier as a mom because of it. Once I stopped letting that constant stress of how much milk I had in the freezer or what other people would think take over, I was able to be open to other options for us. I really can’t say enough things about letting things go as a parent. I went into this journey with an expectation of how things would go and as time went on I started to realize that I was just making things harder on myself when it really didn’t need to be. I struggle with this a ton and I’m sure I’ll have even more hurdles to get over as she gets older. But this is our journey and what’s working for us in this stage of life. x
I agree there is so much guilt on moms when it comes to breastfeeding vs bottle or formula feeding and it’s so silly. As long as our little ones are happy, healthy and gaining weight it shouldn’t matter how they are fed. I recently had to switch to pumping and bottle feeding because I’ve had mastitis twice and my breasts just need to heal. But I felt so much guilt giving her a bottle instead of breast feeding because I missed that bonding time. But I’m actually much happier with pumping and putting it in a bottle. Now my husband can help feed her, I’m not confined to my house so much and can go more places freely. The best advice I was given was just do what is best for you and baby and don’t worry about judgement or what other people think. Us mamas do so much during the day that anything that can take stress away should be a good thing! And good for you for going away for a weekend, I think that’s so important to still live your life and have fun with friends 🙂
Oh mama!! First, I’m so happy to hear that nursing has gone mostly great for you!! Not sure if you knew, but I had “breastfeeding failure” with Alba. My supply never established due to a lack of gland tissue, and she was on formula from 2 weeks until she was a year (with a bit of my breastmilk that I could give her). This time, I was so hopeful it would be better. Thankfully, it is. I am like 95% able to breastfeed her … but even with that, giving Maple formula was a hard choice. Now that we’re doing it (1-2 ounces a day), I echo your same sentiments!! It just takes the stress and edge off of it … and it’s a good feeling to not stress if our baby is getting enough to eat. Sending LOVE!!