Growing pains

The past couple of months have brought a lot of new and exciting developments in A’s life. We’re in the really fun part of babyhood where we’re finally getting rewarded for all our hard work. She’s constantly laughing, smiling and learning new things. She’s starting to get object permanence so it’s fun to watch her figure things out.

But not every development has been so awesome. In the past month we have made a permanent move to bottle feeding. This came on the heels of the illnesses A and I had. With both of us on antibiotics (me on some super strong ones), both my doctor and A’s pediatrician felt it better if I did not nurse while we were both on medication.

To be honest, we had been moving towards this for a while. Establishing a pumping routine at work was nearly impossible as my job involves a lot of driving. Because of this my supply had been slowly dwindling, and I was down to only nursing twice a day. This cessation of nursing was pretty much the final straw to bottle feed full time. Part of me is even a little relieved. I was constantly worried she wasn’t getting enough, as well as perpetually stressed about pumping. Plus I was supplementing pretty heavily, so it was pretty much an effortless transition. I’m not going to lie, it’s also nice to be able to hand her to someone else for meals and not the sole food provider.

I have made no secret about my guilt over not being able to exclusively breast feed. I make a big deal about being an advocate of “whatever works” parenting, but I seem to struggle when it comes to me personally. I’m sure this is universal: The belief it’s okay for others but for you nothing short of super-mom is good enough. I’m trying hard not to compare myself to other moms, because it’s stupid and pointless. It doesn’t change I am where I am, and in the end makes me feel worse about myself.

It helps to have found support in women who are in the same boat as me, too. I have found a home over at Fearless Formula Feeder. It’s comforting to read the stories of other moms like me and know I am not alone. I feel like I’ve finally found the mommy group I was always meant to be a part of. Before I felt like an outsider looking into a world I didn’t get to be a part of because I was doing something differently.  It’s great to have a space where I don’t feel judged or like I’m less of a mom for using formula.

I am hopeful that the next time we have a baby nursing will be easier. And if I’m being honest, I do miss it. I miss the closeness, the snuggles, and feeling her little hands patting me, so I’m allowing myself time to grieve the death of our nursing relationship. I know A is doing fine on formula, and I know she will continue to be happy and healthy not despite how she’s fed but maybe even because of it.

My baby is thriving. That’s all that matters. Soon, I will be too.

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