Throughout my entire pregnancy, I kept telling myself that I would exclusively breast feed for at least six months. Now, this wasn’t based on “society” and their thoughts, it was just what I wanted to do. That was my ultimate goal but that wasn’t what ended up happening.
My son came around my scheduled due date which was fantastic because you know when you prep your mind to something, you literally don’t want any surprises right? I had a natural delivery so I was in the hospital for a day and a half after giving birth. During my mini stay, I was breast feeding, well, at least I thought I was. I thought I was doing it the correct way and being that it was a weekend, the lactation nurse wasn’t available. My son Aaron weighted almost 8 pounds at birth and during our hospital stay, there wasn’t much of a change so I figured, ‘Okay, mama’s popping with the breast milk..”
We get discharged and a couple of days after settling in, Aaron became a crier. I would feed him and he was still crying. I just thought, ‘newborn, he has to get used to this new environment’ but on the other hand my mom kept saying, “Maybe he’s not drinking enough milk. Maybe he’s not full” But in my mind, I thought the milk was flowing and my son was being fed. So, the days went by and it was now time for my one week appointment and my son had lost weight. He was down to almost 6 pounds from 8 pounds and the doctors were worried. So, I became worried. They couldn’t understand why he had lost so much weight in such a short amount of time, if he’s being fed.
So, the doctors suggested I start Aaron on formula right away and come back the next day so that’s exactly what I did. I purchased Enfamil and started him on it as soon as we got home and he indulged in it like he was starving. My heart breaks thinking about this time. The next day, I went back to the hospital and they asked how things went from when I left my appointment and I told them that Aaron didn’t miss a meal and he took the formula well. Because of the drastic weight loss, they suggested Aaron be admitted. Oh, that’s when the tears came and I became very nervous. They wanted to monitor Aaron and up his feeding to see if he would gain weight over night. I let them admit me also because I wasn’t leaving my newborn son in the hospital. Not happening. I was able to get a room with Aaron and stay by my baby’s side. Overnight, the nurse would check on us and would bring his bottles as and when needed.
The next day, he had literally gained most of his weight back. I finally met with the lactation nurse and she realised that yes, I wasn’t lactating enough but also, Aaron just wasn’t latching on correctly. No matter how many times we tried, his mouth, my nipple, it was a negative. LOL. Basically, he could latch on for a few minutes and that was it. The conclusion was that I would primarily bottle feed Aaron and then whatever top up of breast milk he would take, I would give it to him.
But let me tell you, the horror of my nipples. My nipples were so sore and cracked that each time Aaron had a top up of breast milk, my body would cringe because it hurt so badly. I tried all the nipple creams in the world. It felt like my nipples were being ripped off for the couple of minutes he would be sucking on it. I also tried pumping my breasts but due to me not lactating enough, that was another struggle but I tried, as much as I could.
When Aaron turned three months, I stopped giving him the breast milk top up because honestly, he wasn’t getting much and he loved his Enfamil, which is one of the most trusted infant formulas in the U.S.
Til date, I’m asked how long did you breastfeed Aaron for? As though it’s automatic and some are shocked that I primarily fed Aaron formula while others are very understanding. Women are not created equally. We will not experience this journey of motherhood the same. Everyone’s experience will be different but what bonds us is that we are mom’s and we should be understanding and respectful of each other.
I wasn’t upset when I found out I had to put Aaron on formula. I was overjoyed that their was a healthy substitute because at the end of the day, it was important that my son received all the nutrients he needed for his growth process.
To my mama’s who for whatever reasons are unable to breast feed and feel like your entire world has crashed because of that, please, that is why there are options. We have options for a reason. There are so much trusted formula brands all around the world. So if option A doesn’t work, there’s option B.
At the end of the day, it’s about your child being fed and being healthy.
Don’t be hard on yourself.
You got this. ALWAYS.