One of the hot topics that tends to come up as soon as you become pregnant is whether or not you plan to breastfeed. While I'm not sure why perfect strangers feel comfortable asking or commenting on it, I can say that I understand why it's something people have so much to say about. For one, it's no small feat! I always casually planned on breastfeeding but did ZERO research on it before Sailor was born. I remember thinking, "Everyone's situation is different so what's the point in taking a class before I know what my situation is going to be? What if I can't even produce milk?" But then she came along and it all went so downhill for me in those first few months. Even now, typing the word "months" I can barely believe that incredible pain lasted for so long. It's hard to describe the feeling. It probably sounds like I'm just being whiney and dramatic because without there being a scary "diagnosis" of some kind and hearing over and over again that it's normal, how bad can it be? I don't know how to really describe it... sort of like hot razor blades every time you feed your baby. To this day, I'm still shocked that there isn't more routine medical attention paid to the transition into breastfeeding for those who need it. Instead you have to "hire" a lactation consultant, like it's some kind of luxurious treat.
After a week or so of seriously questioning if it would ever get better, I finally saw a lactation consultant to address the issue. Honestly, while I took comfort in feeling like I was taking steps to help the situation by seeing someone, looking back now I see that the main thing that healed it was time. Sailor's latch was the primary issue and we worked on improving that, got her tongue tie fixed... but even now I wouldn't say her latch is perfect. However, everything all my friends told me about how it will just eventually fix itself was true. I just had to be patient and tough it out. I thought about stopping so many times, and the reason I didn't was not because I thought it would be "bad" for Sailor to switch to formula. It was because we got started on such a bad foot that I just didn't want that to be all I knew of breastfeeding.
During those first few weeks though, I was desperate for anything to ease the pain or keep me from having to experience it all around the clock. Since she was eating every couple hours day and night as newborns do, I never got to feel like I was done for the day. It was horrible both physically and emotionally as I felt so much guilt and resentment all at the same time, not to mention the hormones making everything worse. I had remember the doctor saying that if we planned to ever have her eat from a bottle, we needed to introduce it within the first 2-4 weeks. It felt so early with everything still being so new, but this was oh so important to us. Her drinking from the bottle was the only way I could get a break, leave her in the care of anyone else, and give Ian a chance to feed her too.
So, I started pumping twice a day and her last feeding before bedtime was done through the bottle, as well as any feedings during a time when I'm not available to feed her. This was and still is a LIFESAVER for us. Not only does it give me the freedom to do other things that might require me to leave her with someone else, but it gave me that much needed break at the end of the day in those first few months when I was in survival mode. After a few months of this routine though and after breastfeeding pain finally stopped, we got a little lazy with giving her a bottle. That made her decide she didn't like the bottle at all anymore, and would never take it if we offered it. CODE RED!
We tried a few different bottle brands during Sailor's bottle boycott and each one had some sort of issue. Either she hated it, we hated it, or it leaked, etc. Enter the Latch bottles by Munchkin. These were finally the perfect match for us all. Not only are they designed to mimic the breast, they're also super easy to clean with their specially designed brushes. A matching brush is a game changer for bottle cleaning - not to mention their brush designed for cleaning pump parts (genius). Now these are the bottles we officially use in our house. One of my favorite things to do is pour myself a glass of wine while Ian feeds her the evening bottle, and it feels like OK - we made it through another day.
I hope some of you guys found this post insightful in some way. I know when I was starting on my breastfeeding quest, I would go online and search for blog posts by other moms to see if anyone else had a similar experience to me. So I wanted to share my version with you guys in case anyone else is looking for the same thing. I was originally planning to just talk about how the bottle gives me some freedom in my mom duties, but when I sat down to write, I realized that version would truly would be leaving so many details out of the story, so I had to tell it all. Motherhood is filled with lots of unexpected challenges, that's for sure. I'd love to hear your stories too!
This post is sponsored by Munchkin, who rids the world of the mundane by developing clever, innovative solutions that make family life safer, easier, and more fun. You can find Munchkin products at Munchkin.com, Target, Babie
Photography by Heather Kincaid