Para la versión en español, pincha aquí La mama mas feliz de la Tierra
A few weeks ago I was contacted by ¨The Honest Company¨ and they suggested me to write about my experience ¨feeding a new born¨
I thought about it and realized that it was a great idea so I started working on it.
I remember that after 16 hours of labor, as soon as my baby was born I was the proudest and happiest mom on Earth. After all that effort my little one had just gone through, he knew exactly where to go to get his food.
He seemed to be able to attach properly and because of all of the oxytocin and emotions from the birth it didn´t hurt at all. I was so happy!
After this, I went to sleep and so my newborn. The next time I nourished him was the next morning. He seemed to be getting something, but it was hurting too much. I remember one midwife coming over to tell me that I had to sit straight and try to relax my body, something that I couldn’t do as it was to painful.
I thought that this was going to improve as soon as we arrive home.
That same day, after less than 24 hours since my baby was born, I went home and I remember that even being in the same house as two days before, everything felt new. New sleeping routines, new feeding routines, new feelings, a new whole little person in our life that didn´t come with a manual and that demanded milk every two hours… A new beginning.
Around the third day at home, all the milk came up to my boobs. My body was ready to feed my little newborn.
But when feeding time approached, I just wanted to cry… in my personal experience, this wasn´t the bonding moment with my baby that I had heard about so many times.
I remember siting and trying to think about something relaxing while he was trying to attach, but my body could only stay tense from top to toes.
It was clear that my baby wasn´t attaching and I didn´t know what else to do to make it happen. I was very frustrated. ¨Why wasn´t I able to provide the basics to my baby?¨
After some time, this got us into a situation where the little one cried more often as he was hungry and I got a big mastitis (something that I do not wish anyone to have).
I was discouraged, sad and couldn’t really enjoy the time with my new born.
After a while trying and not improving, as my nipples were also bleeding, we decided that buying a ¨pump¨ was a good option to consider. So we did buy one.
It wasn´t hurting anymore, but it was taking a bit more of time for sure.
This was pretty easy when my mom and husband were at home with me, they were in charge of helping with the bubba, they were in charge of feeding him while I was expressing, and they were in charge of cooking to make sure I was getting enough energy in my body and food in my belly.
But after they were gone, this wasn´t sustainable anymore. I was spending far too much time pumping myself, feeding the baby, changing his nappy and getting him to sleep and doing other things that I had to do all by myself. This situation didn´t left too much time for me (to eat, shower, clean, relax, enjoy a cuppa or anything…)
Before my mom left I started to freeze all the remaining milk that the baby wasn´t drinking, because as most of us know, new borns have a very little stomach.
So that way I had provisions just in case I needed them anytime.
I know breastfeeding shouldn´t have been painful, I have been told that way too many times, but I didn´t find the right help or I probably was so lost that I didn´t even know where or how to ask for it.
Now when I look back I just think to myself ¨Don´t be silly! If this ever happens again, ask questions Laura… ask as many times as you need to, ask to as many people as you feel like… ask you mom, other moms, your midwife, your doctor, friends…¨
Just a few days before my mum went back to Spain, I talked to her as I was feeling down and miserable. My husband wasn´t coming back home in another fifteen days and my mother was also leaving. I was going to be with the baby all by myself and I wasn´t sure I was going to be able to keep feeding him this way all alone.
¨Why not trying formula?¨ I thought to myself.
Then is when casually I had a doctors appointment (to check that my stomach muscles where going back to where they belong) perfect timing to be honest.
There I found a genuine, kind and a good listener professional, that didn´t impose any option and that didn´t judge me… And he spent the time I needed to go through my situation.
I talked to him and shared my feelings… I remember my eyes very watery.
He suggested me to try formula. He agreed that breast milk helps to immunize the baby, but he said that for a baby to grow healthy there are also other things to consider… The baby also needs a fit and healthy mother to look after him.
There is when I opened my eyes, I needed to be that fit mom for my baby!
As I have said many times before, I am not trying to say one way of feeding a baby is better than the other, but every single person needs to consider their personal circumstances and what’s best for mother and child. In my personal experience breastfeeding or pumping milk didn´t work out, so I changed to formula to make the situation improve. And it did.
I arrived home. I called my husband and he supported me with any decision I was taking. I told my mom and she said exactly the same.
That evening I took the tablets to stop the milk flowing and cried… And so I did the next day, I cried…
I was feeling the worst mother ever.
But now when I look back, I realized that I was actually being the best mom I could. I was worrying about my new born well being and I was making the right decision for both of us: he was going to have milk in his stomach to make sure he was growing healthy and I was going to be mentally fit to look after him and happy to enjoy all the little moments.
I started feeding him formula once a day and using the frozen breast milk for the other feds. After a few days I increased the feds of formula and started reducing the ones of breast milk. I kept doing that till I run out of my frozen breast milk.
After a while, he started demanding milk every three hours and then every four.
Midwifes guided me in how much milk he was meant to drink and how often, something really useful.
He also started sleeping longer hours during the night, what allowed me to rest and wake up ¨full¨ of energy (as full as you can when you have a baby)
Basically, now that I was feeling happy I was able to invest my time enjoying him. So is then when we started to know each other… I started to know when he was hungry, I started to know if he wanted more milk… And I started to enjoy all those small moments, like when he was falling sleep while sucking from the bottle… He looked so cute! He was so tired but didn´t want to give up his milk.
And I was happy, very happy… Just like when he attached at the very beginning when he was born…. I was having that same feeling again… I was the proudest and happiest mom on eart