Mom guilt. They’re two words one may hear while pregnant, but in reality won’t ever experience until your little one arrives. Sure, you prepare your home, family, your body for your baby’s arrival. You make sure you’re nourishing yourself properly to grow that little seed into a majestic human being. You give up caffeine (or if you’re like me, switch to decaf), walk for 30-minutes every day, take your vitamins and listen to your doctor’s advice and guidance to ensure your baby is growing as they should.
But what happens when your little nugget arrives? Well, you’ll lose sleep, forget to feed yourself since you’re so consumed in your baby, basic hygiene may go out the door for a week or two (granted, at some point you have to shower), make sure your animals that shed are kept in a separate area, if you have a winter or summer baby rack up that heat/air condition bill and you figure out your rhythm when it comes to nourishing your child.
Let me be clear. Mom guilt can happen to any mom for any specific reason. Your hormones are through the roof the first two weeks postpartum (you thought pregnancy hormones were bad, guess again…) that even a Pepsi commercial can make you cry.
What I personally have learned about mom guilt is that it’s 100% in my head. I am playing the mom guilt card in many different situations, and for me, it’s been mainly associated to figuring out the best way to feed my baby.
Since birth, my little girl has had a hard time latching. Every time we’d try, she’d get frustrated that she couldn’t latch onto my boob. She has a very small mouth, which can be part of the issue, but I blame my nipples. They aren’t the most ideal for breastfeeding. At the hospital, my body had to heal itself a bit before it could really think about nourishing my child, so I was self-expressing colostrum and finger-feeding it to her. Once we arrived home, I was pumping and trying to get her to latch. I was pumping every hour and a half when I got home that I had cracked and bleeding nipples and have since discovered a bruise on my right breast from the intense suction (a hospital-grade pump will do that to you).
I try and get my little one to latch every time, but in all honesty, we’ve had to supplement her with formula. The formula I’m using is from Happy Family Brands and is the Stage 1 Happy Baby Organic Formula. The reason I love this formula so much is that it’s modeled after breast milk and doesn’t wreak havoc on my little one’s digestive system. She handles this formula really well and I feel good when I feed it to her. At this point in our breastfeeding journey, it looks like my supply is dwindling down no matter how much I pump or how much Fenugreek I take.
Enter my main “mom guilt.” I keep beating myself up that I can’t provide more of my breast milk to my child. At this point, she is a formula baby.
While I know that the first month of life is the most crucial for my little one so she receives the antibodies in my milk to help build a strong immune system, potentially having to stop because my supply is getting smaller was never part of my plan.
Society puts a lot of pressure on moms to breastfeed their child. “Breast is best” they say. True, it is, but what about those moms whose supply isn’t there, or moms who just don’t have any milk at all? They give them formula. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. In fact, I envy those moms because they never had to even go through a bout of mom guilt related to breastfeeding.
When taking my breastfeeding class prior to giving birth, the instructor mentioned that it doesn’t matter what type of nipple you have (inverted, flat or pointy), you can breastfeed. What they fail to mention every time is that it’s not easy. There are so many situations that may come up that prevent successful breastfeeding:
- Your baby has a hard time latching due to a small mouth, lips, etc.
- Your nipples just aren’t erect enough for them to hit the roof of your baby’s mouth in order to stimulate suction (this is my problem).
- You have little to no milk supply (granted, you won’t know this till the time your milk is supposed to come in). This is also my problem.
- It’s a frustrating experience trying to get your baby to latch. You get stressed out and they get stressed out, resulting in nothing.
All in all, it doesn’t matter how you feed your child––whether it’s breastfeeding, pumping and bottle feeding, or straight up formula––the only thing that matters is that your child is fed, growing and healthy.
If you’re happy and not stressed, your baby will be, too.
Did you have any issues in the breastfeeding department? I’d love to know which route you took for your child. Let me know in the comments!