With my 1st lil' 1, I did all the research on breastfeeding & I thought it was something I was all ready to take on, but then when Aidann arrived at early at 35 weeks all my plans were kind of tossed out the window when she started losing more weight then our pediatrician felt comfortable with & I had to start supplementing & pumping so I could keep better track on how much she was eating. I have to admit, I felt a lil' bit defeated, the way I thought everything was going to be did not end up working out the way I had planned, but a healthy lil' baby is always the best thing. I kept up formula & pumping for a few months, but stopped a lot sooner then I would have imagined at about 4 or 5 months. Between finishing up college, the holidays, & being in our 1st year of marriage we just had to make an executive decision on what was best for all parties involved. Again, I felt guilty, but I think it is just part of the whole "mommy" thing.
With my next baby, I was determined to make it further on just breastmilk. Not only was bm the best nutrition a baby could have, but I also COULD NOT wrap my mind around spending practically $100 a month on formula alone! I don't care if we could "afford it", that is plain robbery lol! So, it took me a few weeks to find a balance between raising my 1 year old, newborn, pumping, another wonderful baby I took on to babysit, & attending Aidann's weekly classes (library time, baby gym, & swim class), but I somehow made it work. It was not an easy road all the time for sure. I experienced 2 somewhat mild cases of mastitis, which was NOT fun. Breastfeeding/pumping is not always the fantasy we think, it is often a physical & mental struggle that only mommies can truly understand. Needless to say, I pushed passed a lot of those hurdles & pump for a few more month until I hit a big "bump" in the road, lol. I was pregnant again :)! Yes, I do know what causes pregnancy, I do not like when people just assume we had an "oops". My husband & I are young & wanted a big family anyway, so the more the merrier. BUT once again, I felt that guilt over no longer being able to supply milk for my lil' Asher.
9 months later, Austin arrives!!! For me, adding a 3 bundle of joy into the mix with pumping was not too bad at all. I had gotten a lil' practice in when Asher was born & so making up a schedule again was not too bad at all. I personally think the jump from 1 to 2 kids was more of an adjustment then adding a 3rd because by then you are already used to juggling a lil' bit. With Austin I had her purely on breast milk. In the 1st few months, I worked up such a huge frozen supply that I wanted to brag about from the roof tops. "Liquid gold" is what many mommies refer to it as. Well, I had a huge supply until 1 day I went to the deep freezer only to discover it had gone out on us & all my long hard work was out the window! I literally stared at it for about 10 minutes & just cried. I had to work extra hard for this lady's milk. For some reason, this time around my "2 breast-friends" were cracking & bleeding like no one's business for the 1st few months. Maybe they were tired of being pregnant & breastfeeding soooo much too, lol. I had fought SO hard not to give up & just put Aussie on formula & now....back to square 1. Somehow, after crying it all out, I mustered up the strength to keep going & managed to pump out (pun intended) another month or 2 until we decided to take on a huge family vacation to California (Universal Studios, the beach, Sea world, etc). I wanted to be able to just have fun with my babies & hubby rather then stressing out about finding an outlet every 3 hrs around the clock, so I stopped pumping. Taking Austin off of the breast milk was the hardest this time around for some reason. I literally cried, again. I blame hormones x's 3, but that "mommy guilt" hit me extra hard for this time. Even though my husband did not put on too much pressure, I think in being a stay at home mom I felt like with bp I was contributing financially to our family somehow and of course giving my baby the best nutrition possible. Who knows.
Here we are, baby #4! I would be lying if I didn't admit to feeling a lil' burnt out this time around. almost 5 years of being pregnant or breastfeeding were definitely catching up to me & coming off an extremely hard pregnancy, I really had to give myself a serious pep talk to get excited about pumping again. Balancing 4 kiddos (3 and below) was a big jump for sure & adding in time for pumping every 3 hours made me feel like I had a 5th child. It was only through His strength, a supportive husband, & my inner mommy power that I somehow found a way to make it all work this time around. I am SO proud to announce that this is the furthest I have made it pumping, 8 months plus! BUT, I seriously think I am done now. Every day I go back & forth trying to decide if this is going to be THE DAY I stop. I have talked with a lot of my mommy friends & have found that this guilty feeling is SO common. Whether you feel guilty because you ended up deciding not to breastfeed, or maybe you couldn't, maybe you had to supplement with formula, or whether you made it all the way to a full year & now that its time to "pull the plug" & you still feel guilty-Its all the same. We want to do everything perfect & be perfect for our kiddos constantly & when we feel like we have fallen short we tend to feel shameful or guilty. I am definitely feeling it right not, but why? On a level, I feel like I have more than earned a break & I feel like it is time to pack up the Medela & focus on spending even more quality time with my ladies & husband. Every 3 hours for 20 minutes at a time does take a good sized chunk out of your day & adds up. There are times I feel like I cannot do even 1 more session or I will simply scream, but then I look at that lil' baby & think that maybe a few more weeks won't hurt.
I still remain "undecided", the verdict is still out, but I just wanted to put up this post to let all the mommies out there know that they are not alone! Your feelings are valid. The fantasy of breastfeeding vs. the reality of it can be huge! Things do not always work out the way we plan & sometimes we have to be willing to readjust our plans & that is okay :) "Super mommy" does not mean perfect mommy, just that you are a mom that cares enough to try her very best each & every day! :) So, stop being so hard on yourself & just let it go. You are doing a great job!
"What to Expect" Another helpful link
|Opening her "sister present"|
|The ladies gave their papa a dog|
|Giving girls' their Christmas pup,|
|Aidy took to the dog |
|I think they are|
both in love!
Cinnamon & Oatmeal!