Breastfeeding has never come naturally for me. In that I mean, my body produces pitiful amounts of prolactin, a significant hormone needed to make breastmilk. I discovered this with my first baby who was minutes away from being admitted to the hospital due to my lack of breastmilk and dutifully following every book, nurse, lactation consultant in that I shouldn't give him the dreaded formula. Well, in the end it came down to formula or dehydration, guess which one I chose for my infant? That's not to say I didn't continue breastfeeding, whatever I had was good right? I went on a high dose of Domperidone (which cruelly sounds like Don Perignon), consulted everyone I could, even Jack Newman and it turns out, my hormone making capacity is screwed when it comes to prolactin, among a few other ones, fortunately less significant in my day to day life. So, easy, simple right? Give baby breastmilk and formula, no biggie, baby is growing, healthy, happy, and they lived happily every after.
Well that is until other people weigh in. I sought help from various organizations, people and mothers and in those wee hours of motherhood, I was pretty much told how much less of a mother I was because I hadn't worked hard enough to produce milk. I wasn't doing this or that and hadn't sacrificed enough. Short of going out to seek help, I was pretty much home, feeding, weighing my baby, obsessing over wet and dirty diapers and tailspinning into a nice case of PPD over it. A public health nurse told me that I was essentially feeding my newborn McDonalds when I supplemented, a LLL mom told me that my kid was destined to grow up to be stupid, fat and sick, some other new moms looked at me in disgust when I pulled out a bottle. As much as I like to tout I have a thick skin, I really don't.
Anyhow, alls well that ends well, well in a way....well, well, well. My milk eventually petered out at around 3-4 months, I ended up making some really awesome mom friends who didn't care what I fed my child, Dearest found a list of people I respected, who were all fed formula, ended up pretty smart, healthy and thin. I am two of the above myself...but my brilliance makes up for the lack of my svelte figure. My baby is almost 5, never an ear infection, has only had antibiotics once due to an unchecked hangnail gone wrong, wonderfully fit and almost as brilliant as his mother. My second, who pretty much followed the same feeding pattern, unfortunately, he has asthma, like his father-who incidently was breastfed for a year, but no allergies, otherwise healthy, fit and despite a delay in starting to speak has now caught up and is making us laugh daily with his well timed outbursts.
So why was I up last night crying about being unable to provide my youngest with enough milk? Why am I hiding bottles and formula for when the midwife comes over? Why am I terrified for take one on a trip with me, therefore going no where? What the hell is wrong with me? I'm stronger than this...maybe I'm stronger when I've had sleep. Sleep helps...definitely! I think like a lot of breastfeeding mothers who get the stink eye when they feed in public, a lot of us moms who use a bottle aren't in much better shape, you can't win! Sometimes it's just a comment from someone who means well. Which to my grouchy sleep deprived mind today means "I need to educate the world because I've figured it all out and no one can be as together as me." My grouchy sleep deprived mind is prone to rattling off a laundry list of things I do, including taking 40 pills a day just to produce the bit of milk I do and then telling them to cram it, while simultaneously running them over with my stroller. Oh yes, I use a stroller too, shoot me!
Dearest has reminded me that there doesn't need to be either extreme, which is pretty much how we parent, but in these early days of being a mom again, sometimes the common sense...what little I have... has taken a backseat. So will someone please remind me that just over a week ago, I was insanely confident of my parenting abilities and doing my best with what I have and have managed to raise two wonderful guys so far and the fact that they were supplemented with formula was the furthest thing from my mind and worries.