So I wanted to share a bit of my breastfeeding journey with you guys here, as personal as it may be, in case others of you out there are experiencing the same thing and to reassure you that you’re not alone. My experience with breastfeeding prior to Quincy had been amazing. I breast fed Rylee until she was around 8 months old and I breast fed Cru over a year. I loved bonding with my children in this way and also loved the fact that I was supplying them with the most complete form of nutrition I could give them. It was convenient, free of cost, and a way I could connect with my babies like no one else could. I loved breastfeeding….and then came Quincy.
The first day in the hospital after delivering her she latched on right away. I expected everything to be smooth sailing from there, but little did I know things would quickly get really difficult. I found out that I separated my pubic bone during her fast and furious delivery so that was challenge #1. If any of you have had that (pubic symphysis separation), you know it’s crazy painful and basically any movement hurts. Challenge #2 came when breastfeeding became super painful (bleeding nipples, scabs + blanching…the whole 9). After seeing a lactation consultant, I found out that Q had both tongue and lip tie and I decided to go ahead with the procedure to release both of them. All the doctors reassured me I would see immediate improvement. Quincy was still well under birth weight after 3 weeks and we were all starting to get a little worried. I was completely naive to the process of a frenotomy (tongue tie release) and expected relief from the pain after it was complete, but that never came. Not to mention the exercises I had to do with her every day were so brutal, for the both of us. Basically, I had to stretch the wound every 3 hours by pushing it down toward the back of her throat with a popsicle stick (you have to do that so it doesn’t heal back together again). She’d scream so hard she would turn purple and I would cry every time I did it because I hated hurting her. All of it was so much more awful than I had imagined and I thought for sure she would never want me to hold her again after torturing her for weeks in this way. (I’m being dramatic, I know, but with all the hormones and emotional up’s and downs that come after having a baby anyway, this is honestly how I felt). It would have been one thing if she was feeding better post procedure and the pain had subsided, but after everything was said and done, nothing had improved – neither her weight, or my pain. I was so discouraged. I later found out that I was having what is called vasospasms after and during feedings (sudden constriction of the blood vessel…in the nipples in my case….that is extremely painful). Another fun side effect of having an auto immune condition. And then came the mastitis. It just felt like one thing after another after another. I just couldn’t win.
After all of this, I decided the best thing for the both of us would be to supplement. I felt a little sad about it, like I had somehow failed her….but I had to keep reminding myself that I tried my best and that this is what we both needed to do to get healthy. I started out by pumping as much as possible and introducing her to a bottle. After trying almost every bottle out there, I came to love Philips Avent anti-colic bottle the most. It had one of the slowest milk flow options that I found and it left her with less gas bubbles in her tummy than some of the others did. I very slowly started mixing small amounts of formula into her breastmilk bottles….and wouldn’t you know it, she finally started gaining weight. I made the transition to formula super slow to make it a little easier on her tummy and to get her as much of the nutrients from my breastmilk as possible in those first few months. It took me about 2 months in total to make the full transition to formula.
After this whole experience, I am now a firm believer in all Philips Avent products. Not only did I use their breast pump and bottles….but I also still love and use their bottle warmer that quickly and easily warms the milk, and also their Microwave Steam Sterilizer that kills harmful germs and sterilizes everything in 2 minutes! I also swear by their pacifiers and my minimalistic self loves the fact that they are clear and white and not giant blue rubber ;) But more importantly, they support natural oral development and are BPA-free. I’d honestly recommend Philips Avent to anyone.
If you have gone through or are going through an experience similar to my own, I am with you. I would have never imagined not breastfeeding my third child after doing it successfully with my first two…but sometimes you just have to roll with the cards you are dealt. And sometimes choosing to formula feed your baby is the best choice in your situation, and don’t let other people make you feel otherwise. There is so much pressure on mother’s these days to do things a certain way….a myth that there is only one right way. But I think there are a lot of right ways, as long as you have the best interest of your child at heart. And moreover, we don’t know everyone’s story and what they are going through…..and in my opinion, it’s just best to support and encourage each other rather than criticize and critique (just some thoughts after having dealt with some criticism myself)…we are all in this together, after all.