To all the mums
Who don’t share their feeding journey with others and for the mums who aren’t quite yet mums may you connect, reflect and ponder my words and feel the miracle of life you are, no matter which way you fed/feed your baby- you are amazing.
Breast and bottle feeding is brave
Breast and bottle feeding is beautiful
Breast and bottle feeding is bloody challenging
Having a nutrition background when I became a mum made me determined to get it right, to start my child off with the most nutritious source of food I could provide.
Knowing that breast milk contains antibodies and 1-5 million live white blood cells that help your baby fight against infection and when you are sick the amount of them in your breastmilk increases. Even at 1 million that is 100 times more than what your blood carries! By 6 months postpartum the white blood cell count drops to 100 000 cells er ml - 10 times your own concentration. Incredible right?!
Plus not to mention all of the hormones such as prolactin and oxytocin which help you to bond with your baby and ease feelings of stress and anxiety plus the many many many other benefits I wanted to be able to do it so badly.
Unfortunately that’s not always how it plays out because of the stress of my labour my milk didn’t come in for 5 days so I had to bottle feed my baby straight from birth for the first little while until I could catch up. I certainly wasn’t prepared for that mentally or emotionally.
And it was hard, it was so hard! I feel like once the baby comes its all about them but what about the mothers. They have just endured birth, they are already sleep deprived, stressing about every little red mark, rash or sound their baby makes and just focused on keeping their new little creation alive and then there’s all the things. It was about learning positions of feeding, do I feed off one breast at a time or both per feed? Do I hand express when I got too full? Do I use a pump? Trying to find clothes that were accessible to feed that didn’t look like I raided an old ladies wardrobe, it was leaking boobs, sore boobs (thank goodness for cold gel packs or frozen nappies), it was getting used to feeding around other people, it was continuously trying to limit foods and figure out what causes your babies upset tummy, it was always looking for a spew rag but regardless usually getting coated in milk anyway, it was the endless feeding positions and the tears of sleep deprivation while feeding and getting excited when you could see the sun rise because you made it through another night.
But then there is the awe of it, the complete miracle of life you have just created gazing into your babies eyes still convincing yourself that this moment is real, this child is yours and you are now a mum. It is like time freezes. It is the satisfaction that you are all your baby needs, you are building a bond with this little person that no one can really put into words.
For me my breastfeeding journey came to an end at 3 months, which to say I was devastated about was an understatement. As challenging as it was I didn’t want it to end so soon. For me my body was speaking to me and i had to listen, I was so fatigued, my body was deficient and I couldn’t eat enough to keep up with my supply and was losing way too much weight. To make things more difficult I developed Post Natal Hyper-Thyroidism which sped up my metabolism and make me lose weight as soon as i put something in my mouth. Probably sounds like a mothers dream come true wanting to lose that baby weight but it really was far from a dream! This meant that I had to be the best I could be too provide and care for my baby so I had to make the difficult decision to switch over to formula.
I felt like I had failed, that I couldn’t give the very thing that my baby needed. Although I chose a high quality organic formula it wasn’t the same. I cried for a solid few days and felt all the things, I felt judged for being too thin and for bottle feeding whenever I was out in public but then I realised a few things.
What other people thought of me wasn’t my problem
I am still a mum
I can still bond with my baby and you know what now his Dad, Aunty, Nan and Poppa can too
I can get some rest as other people can need feed him
I can focus on getting my health back on track
I can wear whatever I like- goodbye old lady wardrobe ;)
I have more freedom which is so very important and healthy to have me time
But most importantly my baby was fed
My baby was sleeping better
My baby was thriving
I was happier and healthier which meant I could give him more love, more support and more fun.
To all the mums who have felt these feelings, you are amazing.
To all the mums who are still breastfeeding, you are amazing.
To all the mums who breastfed by choice until when they wanted to stop, you are amazing.
To all the mums who had to give up breastfeeding for daycare, jobs or illness, you are amazing.
To all the mums who were unable to breastfeed at all, you are amazing.
To all the mums who chose not to breastfeed, you are amazing.
To all the mums who prefer bottle feeding, you are amazing.
To all the dads who are also the mum, you are amazing.
To all the mums and mums to be that may be reading this, be kind to yourself. I wish I had been kinder, gentler and more realistic that both ways to feed your child is beautiful and this is your story no one else’s.
We all have a story and until you have walked in the shoes of the mother you may have judged or cast your opinion on please choose again. Choose to lift each other up, raise your own vibration and raise incredible kids regardless of how they were fed.
To all the mums, you are amazing!
I am passionate about sharing my health journey in the hope it will help others improve their health. Instead of taking 10 years like it did to me it is accessible now! I have a bachelor of Public Health with Majors of Nutrition and Health Promotion. I will soon be undertaking an Integrative Health Practitioner Certification.