Funny thing about having more than one kid, you think you’ve got it all figured out. Sure, there are things that you would do differently, but for the most part, you SWEAR you’re going to do things the same way. Especially if your first kiddo is amazing (which mine is).
I didn’t do that. I mean, I OBVIOUSLY have everything all figured out all the time. If you know me, even just a little, then you know I’m a BIG HUGE KNOW IT ALL. And usually, I’m right, even when I’m wrong. And there’s absolutely NOTHING wrong with O. He’s perfect in every single way. But there were a few things that I wished I would have done for him. I wasn’t exactly in the right headspace to do a whole heck of a lot, and I REALLY wish I would have figured that out sooner than a year after he was born. But I’m not one to regret, I’m one to learn from my mistakes… so, five years later, I prepared myself a little bit.
What I didn’t prepare myself for was breastfeeding. I mean, I knew that I wanted to do it. I knew that I was determined to do it. I knew that even if I didn’t succeed in the actual breastfeeding, A would still get breast milk come hell or high water because I bought a pump (it was my very first purchase). I talked a BIG game about how I was gonna do this, and it was gonna work this time, and everything was gonna be a-okay. No problem. No big thing.
If anyone ever tries to tell you that breast feeding is easy? They’re lying.
Nope. Don’t tell me your experience was good.
STOP. Because you had that new baby fog going on, and you don’t remember.
IT IS SUPER HARD. AND PAINFUL. AND YOU WANTED TO QUIT SEVERAL TIMES.
O was a formula fed baby. From about four days in. Because at that time, I was on coffee overload (new baby and all, plus hadn’t had any for 9 months), and all that caffeine was affecting my milk supply. So I just “gave up” and gave him formula. He was happy, I thought I was happy, everyone was alllllllllllll good. And he’s super smart, and healthy, and just all around perfect.
A is different. Because I was determined to at least TRY.
There’s a lot of pressure put on new mommies to breast feed their babies. A LOT. It’s ridiculous, actually. If you don’t have the right people around you to support you, there’s a feeling of failure if you choose to supplement your milk. I have amazing people in my life, I also have some NOT so amazing people. So, I know first hand what that failure feels like.
And people are relentless in asking how nursing is going. Every single conversation about the baby will start out that way. And if you say “meh, it’s okay,” they offer up commentary on how breast is best, and “hang in there,” and “it gets better.” And while I agree with all of that…. at the time anyone in your life is telling you all of this? It’s the LAST thing you want to hear.
So, what can we do to help each other out? Because I’m all about helping out my fellow mommies. Here are a few suggestions:
1) Mind your own business. A new mommy (or even a second time mommy) has enough going on without you asking every 5 minutes how nursing is going. If you want to be supportive, don’t ask, just say “I’m here if you want to talk about it.” That’s all, one time, then MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS. She’ll be more likely to talk to you about it if you don’t ask all the time.
2) LISTEN. Sometimes? New mommies just need to vent a little bit about what’s going on. We don’t ALWAYS need to hear about your experience and how wonderful it was (because hello? Frustrating when you’re going through a rough patch). We just need someone to vent to that doesn’t wet themselves, or throw toys around, or talk back, or cry, or wake us up every two hours to nurse, or sleep through night feedings (I could go on and on).
3) Be supportive of their decisions. Whether it’s to continue breast feeding, or to supplement with formula, or to go all formula all the time…. just be supportive. The last thing any parent wants, at ANY stage, is to have their family/friends question the decisions they are making for their own children. They’re not YOUR kids. YOU may do things different with your own children…. and that’s okay. Just be supportive. Make sure you’re there for the tears, and the successes. It really is the best thing you can do. Don’t forget to be encouraging too, even if you would do things differently.
Breast feeding is SUPER hard. I’m glad I stuck with it (bleeding nipples and supplementing early on aside). I’m glad I had some people in my life that did the above things. I’m not sure I could have stuck with it, or been comfortable in those early weeks with giving A formula, if I hadn’t had those people. You know who you are. 😉 Thank you.