I had every intention of breastfeeding and when Lovise was born they praised her good latch so I thought I was in the clear.
Shortly after she was born I found out she had jaundice and my midwife and pediatrician told me I needed to supplement.
Some pediatricians advise to wait until milk comes in, but in my case I ended up having retained placenta, which meant it took months for my supply to fully come in because my body still thought it was pregnant. In addition, she has a lip tie, which meant she couldn’t transfer enough milk. She was in the failure to thrive category.
I felt really upset about the whole thing. I was really worried that she wouldn’t know I was her mom if she took a bottle, which of course hasn’t been the case!
I read online forums that killed me inside with people shaming mothers who wouldn’t breastfeed, claiming babies just weren’t as attached to those moms. I read about how formula fed babies have lower IQ’s and are more likely to have allergies and get sick. It riddled me with guilt!!
As a result, I tried everything to get her to latch properly and build up my supply! I saw a lactation consultant, took all of the herbs, ate the galactagogues, pumped every hour (with power pumping), used supplemental nursing systems, did weighted feeds, drank buckets of water, ate tons of food and took domperidone. Unfortunately nothing worked.
I gave her some breastmilk by exclusively pumping for 4 months (she had bottle preference) with formula supplementation and then switched over completely to formula. I could never pump more than 1.5oz per session and decided to spend the hours a day I was pumping cuddling my baby instead. My mental health was deteriorating being attached to the pump and I just wanted to hold and bond with my girl. You can read about the day I decided to quit pumping here.
I am sad that there’s so much shaming out there when it comes to the way babies are fed. I think everyone is well aware that ‘breast is best’ but for so many moms it doesn’t/can’t happen that way. My mom said, ‘love your baby and feed your baby’, which is great advice.
If I could talk to myself a few months ago I’d say exit the la leche league blogs, be kind to yourself, stop pumping for the sake of your mental health and you’re going to have a wonderful bond with your girl.
I love my baby, I feed her and I refuse to have any sort of guilt about the way I do it.