Motherhood is hard. It is so rewarding and such an overwhelming feeling of love, but it is hard and we shouldn’t stop reminding ourselves how awesome we are for doing the most difficult job in the world! I also think it’s important to note that we are all crushing the mom game. I know moms wake up each day and begin our day with full plates of chores, working, keeping schedules, and now even some are tasked with teaching! Whew. Because I know I’ve needed to hear it a lot in my first few months of motherhood, I want to be your reminder: YOU ARE A ROCK STAR.
The Funny thing about being a rock star is you very rarely feel like one. Well, not in the case of motherhood anyway (I’m sure Mick Jagger feels like a rock star daily).
When I was gearing up for birth/postpartum, I promised myself one thing: have no expectations. Sure, I practiced affirmations and manifested an easy, healthy birth experience. Yes, I wanted to deliver our son naturally but I knew if that didn’t happen, I couldn’t be hard on myself. I safely, for both my son and myself, delivered him perfectly healthy at a whopping 9.5lbs via caesarian section. Does that make my birth experience any less than other moms? HELL. NO. I’m so grateful for my whole labor and delivery process. But this blog isn’t about that.
Along with no expectations, I did promise to give breastfeeding a real try. When I was pregnant and was asked “bottle or breast?” I always responded, “I’m going to try breastfeeding and if I can’t, no big deal! Fed is best.” and I truly believe that. But I didn’t know what an emotional toll breastfeeding can have on a new mom, on a 2nd-time mom, on a 3rd, 4th, 5th (giiirrlll bless you) time mom. Oliver latched right away. I was elated! I had heard horror stories (as you only do) about babies not being able to latch or latching incorrectly. “We are the best team!” I thought, hours after becoming a mom. I fell in love with breastfeeding at that moment.
How incredibly cool is breastfeeding? In my opinion, it’s so freaking cool.
A couple of days later, while we were still in the hospital, my milk came in! WOOHOO. My baby is latching correctly, my milk is coming in. Life is good. Until it came time to get him on the scale.
He was losing weight.
The guilt was palpable. Was I doing it wrong? I don’t get it. Why is he constantly nursing and losing weight? Where the heck was the non-mom version of me who was NO SWEAT, IF IT WORKS OUT, GREAT, IF NOT, FINE! She must have been on vacation because I felt sad.
Now, don’t get me wrong. The baby and I were pumped with fluids for three days before I had him. He and I were wood ticks. I thought I lost my ankles for life. There is normalcy in babies losing weight at first but Oliver’s NP said it was time to supplement with formula after monitoring his weight for a couple of weeks. I was so down and out about it. I cried, real hard. His amazing NP and lactation nurse comforted me. She told me we weren’t giving up, but just adding formula until his weight increased a bit (I’ve cried a lot to his NP, she’s amazing but also probably thinks I’m a nutcase. Anyone else? Is this just a right of passage?).
For a while, we supplemented. He nursed, I pumped, then whatever more he needed was formula. Guys, this was exhausting. I was doing so much to get a half ounce, a full ounce on a good session. I cried some more. The more he grew the more he needed and my body just wasn’t meeting his needs. It got so bad that I pumped all day every 2 hours to produce only 3 oz of milk for the whole day.
Why did I feel like I did something wrong? I felt like my body wasn’t working. I felt like I couldn’t give my baby the one thing that is drilled into us is best for him. It was a hard pill to swallow. I admit, some days I still get emotional over it. But I noticed something.
My. baby. is. thriving. He has chunky little cheeks. He is gaining weight like crazy. He is meeting milestones, happy, and above all else, healthy. He has 0 idea that I stopped breastfeeding. He couldn’t care less. He just wants to eat!
My body didn’t fail anyone. It carried a beautiful little life for 9 (long) months. My body birthed a healthy baby and healed back to normalcy. My body did exactly what it was supposed to do.
Yes, motherhood is hard, but, we make it harder for ourselves because we feel we are doing wrong when, in fact, trying our best is the best thing for our babies. I hope, if we have more children one day, I can try to breastfeed again, but more so, I hope that if I do and have a hard time again, I remember to hold my head high no matter what.
After 3 long months of truly giving it my all, I am no longer breastfeeding.
But look at you, rock star, raising a happy healthy little dude. We are now both happy – that’s all that matters isn’t it?