Breastfeeding | Why It Failed For Me

Blog, Motherhood

Every expectant mother at one point or another has this perfect idea as to how their birth story is supposed to go. They plan every detail and expect for everything to go perfectly. You know what I mean, right? That moment when you think, “I’m going to have a natural birth with no epidural” or, “baby is going to breastfeed exclusively.” You even try and control what your time with baby will be like once they arrive because everything has to be just perfect. That kind of planning.

It’s almost like making sure that because we plan everything right it must mean that life will be easy because you already know what to expect. The harsh truth about all of this is that the majority of the time, things don’t go according to plan. And that’s okay.

Story Time

Going back to the birth of my daughter, I can tell you that I myself had an expectation of how everything was supposed to go. After going through so many doctor appointments, reading up on birthing articles, and absorbing knowledge from parenting blogs, I started to think I had a good sense of everything that needed to be done. Breastfeeding was one of the most talked about topics and it seemed to bring a bit of controversy into the parenting world. A stigma that one way was right and the other was a failure. Every article that brought up breastfeeding seemed to allude to the idea that breastfeeding is the only way to go and that formula feeding was wrong and made you a “bad mother.”

When the time came for my daughter to be born, one of the first things the nurses ask is if you want to breast or bottle feed. Naturally, I chose the route of breastfeeding. The nurses began to teach me what I needed to know and they wanted to see how well my daughter was able to latch on.  After a few tries, she finally did and I thought, “Yes! I am doing this! Breastfeeding is totally happening right know.” There was so much excitement in that moment I thought I was on top of the world. Newborns need to be fed around every 1-2 hours. So when the time came for her second feed, I started to have some trouble. I was trying all the techniques the nurses had shown me; even with my husbands help. My problem was that my daughter would latch and then detach. We called the nurse in for help and they gave me some other techniques to use; which seemed to work for only short periods of time. Arianna was getting so frustrated but the nurses insisted that we persist with the techniques they had shown us. Practice makes perfect, basically.

On our last day, they brought in a breastfeeding specialist. She claimed to have all the magical answers for us. When she arrived for our meeting, it resulted in just being shown more techniques to use on our baby to get her to latch on. I think she only spent a total of 3-5 minutes with us in total just trying to “guide” us on what was correct. All of this information from nurses and specialists. All these techniques that are supposed to be useful tools for getting this right. And we still struggled. The night we went home, the nurse gave us a few bottles of formula that were put in our take home gift basket from the hospital. That day, we tried breastfeeding again. At that point, my daughter was frustrated and hungry. She went from patiently trying to latch on to frustratingly impatient because she was hungry and it wasn’t working. I don’t blame her. Newborns only know a few things when they enter this world and one of those main things is that they’re hungry when they’re hungry.

After several frustrating tries and spending a large amount of time getting her to latch on, I told my husband to hand me the formula bottles. I was hesitant because I started to feel like a failure. But, my daughter needed to eat. Arianna took it right away and was the most peaceful she had been in four days. There was a bittersweet feeling about it. I felt a sense of relief because she was finally able to eat and be comfortable but I also felt guilt because of the stigma. I still had this expectation of breastfeeding so I got my hands on a fancy pump machine. I thought, “if latching on isn’t working and she seems to use a bottle fine, then I’ll just pump and she’ll get all the nutrients she’s supposed to be receiving.” My body had other plans. I read up on how the pumps were supposed to be used and how often to use them so I followed those instructions. My daughter was being fed formula while I tried my luck at starting a new breastfeeding routine. The first time I tried it, I sat there for over two hours and was only able to produce a minuscule amount of milk. Two ounces. The more I tried, the less I was able to produce until finally I just stopped. Within the first week of giving birth to my daughter, my body stopped producing milk.

My body had other plans. I read up on how the pumps were supposed to be used and how often to use them so I followed those instructions. My daughter was being fed formula while I tried my luck at starting a new breastfeeding routine. The first time I tried it, I sat there for over two hours and was only able to produce a minuscule amount of milk. Two ounces. The more I tried, the less I was able to produce until finally I just stopped. Within the first week of giving birth to my daughter, my body stopped producing milk altogether.

Formula Feeding Doesn’t Make You A Failure

It wasn’t easy coming to grips with the fact that my body had failed me. As a mother, one of the first moments you have of providing for your new bundle of joy is being able to breastfeed and provide those crucial nutrients they need to enter the world. My body being unable to produce it made me feel like I had just failed my daughter and she had only been on the earth for less than a week. I quickly came to the realization that I was giving into the stigma. I was letting all of those articles get into my head and cloud what was really important. Sure, my daughter was being formula fed, but most importantly she was being fed. She was still being given all of the nutrients she needed and I was still striving to make sure of that. Breastfeeding is ideal to the world where they only focus on the ideal. But they never account for moms who struggle with breastfeeding or the moms who can’t breastfeed at all. Formula feeding was created for this very reason and that’s okay. It should never be a debate that one way is better than the other or that one parent is a better parent than the other because of the ways they choose to feed their babies. No, we’re all moms trying to make sure our children are getting the best they can.

Breastfeeding is ideal to the world where they only focus on the ideal. But they never account for moms who struggle with breastfeeding or the moms who can’t breastfeed at all. Formula feeding was created for this very reason and that’s okay. It should never be a debate that one way is better than the other or that one parent is a better parent than the other because of the ways they choose to feed their babies. No. We’re all moms trying to make sure our children are getting the best they can.

Accepting that you are human and that your body works differently than the next person, you will realize that no matter what choices you make for your children you’re doing your best and that is okay. I won’t stop trying to breastfeed when I have more children but that doesn’t mean that I won’t consider formula feeding if something like this happens again. If our perfect plans don’t go like they’re supposed to, it doesn’t mean that you are a failure. It simply means that you are human. If there is one lesson I can take from this whole experience it is this. Breastfeeding moms, be open minded that formula moms are trying their best. Formula moms, don’t be so hard on yourself. Both types of moms are amazing mothers just trying to nourish their little ones.

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We hope you enjoyed our breastfeeding post today. We’d like to hear about some of your stories and whether you breast or formula fed your babies. So comment down below and let us know! Remember to be kind. We’re all mommas doing the best we can! Don’t forget to subscribe to keep up with my future blog posts.  

Birth Story | Arianna Rose

Blog, Motherhood

January 5th will forever be marked as one of the best days of our life. It was the day my daughter was born into this world. We chose to visually document the powerful moment of our birth story as a celebration to remember that day forever and share it with those around us.

On January 4th, I entered the hospital at around 10:30 pm because of contraction pains. Generally, when you first get to the hospital, they evaluate you to make sure you’re ready to stay there. Plenty of expectant mothers walk through those doors experiencing Braxton Hicks Contractions which is just another term for false alarms. So because of this, they check how dilated you are, how far apart your contractions are, and if your water broke. The did a series of those tests including an ultrasound just to make sure that baby was okay. I was 1 centimeter dilated when they finally decided to admit me so they moved me into room 2205. My contraction pain was pretty strong even at the very beginning and at this point, I was already a whole week overdue. The original plan that was created with my doctors was to be medically induced on January 5 at 8 pm. My daughter had other plans and decided she was ready to start her way several hours prior to that. My water officially broke around 3:00 am and from that moment on, the pain became unbearable so I made the decision to get an epidural to ease the pain.

The early morning started and close family members started to trickle in to visit. At our hospital, they didn’t really have a restriction as to how many people can be in the room with you while you’re going through labor. At one point, I was pretty sure there were at least 15 people in the room just watching me go through this. Even with the epidural, the pain was powerful. I actually thought that it wore out after a while because every time a contraction started again, I found myself writhing in pain. The nurses offered another dose but I declined and chose to keep pressing through it. I think my mindset at that point was just trying to put mind over matter and get it over with.

Eventually, I reached 10 centimeters of dilation and it was finally time to push. Everyone was sent out of the room and the doctor arrived to assist in making sure everything went smoothly after that point. As a newbie mom who never chose to go to a single Lamaze class, pushing took me a minute to get right. After I got it down, every push just seemed to last forever when in reality they were just simple ten-second pushes. My mom was counting the seconds down and I got so impatient I literally stopped everything and frustratingly told her to count faster. As if counting faster would somehow shorten my ten seconds. It’s one of those moments that I can laugh at now.

My daughter was born at 1:05 pm on January 5th. For me, that might just be the luckiest time to be born into the world. Once everything was said and done, there was a moment of relief but also a moment of overwhelming joy that produced many tears around the room. The doctor offered that my husband cut the umbilical cord, but I think with all the emotions he was feeling he couldn’t. So my mother got to cut my daughter’s umbilical cord.

The rest of the family that didn’t stay in the room with us during the delivery were all let back in. Everyone was eager to see her. I think most importantly, they were all eager to hold her. She was our Arianna Rose; our brand new fresh-faced baby girl. Everyone’s family title had suddenly changed because of our Rose. Brothers were now uncles, mothers were now grandmothers, grandmothers were now great-grandmothers and so on.

Once everyone got their doses of love in, we were finally able to change her. I wouldn’t say her first outfit wasn’t the most memorable. It was far too big even though it was in a newborn size. Our little peanut was so tiny and weighed only six pounds. Nevertheless, she looked adorable in anything that was put on her. Her baby blue onesie said “Daddy’s Little Princess” in yellow and had a white beanie hat to match. Fitted with warm socks and a blanket and she was ready to venture into the rest of the world right there along with us.

We spent most of our night with very little sleep. It was to be expected. She was such a quiet newborn; barely any crying or screaming. I had a little mishap after giving birth that I needed stitches for so I spent most of my time trying to recover, master breastfeeding (Which ended up as an epic fail. But that’s a story for another time.), and learning about my daughter and everything I needed to know to care for her. My husband helped me tremendously and was there every time I needed him and was so hands on. Any task needed, he was there to help. After all, he was learning too.

She mastered her first few days like a champ and before we knew it, we were ready to go home! We had officially done it. We went through three months of trying to get pregnant, nine months of pregnancy, several hours of labor and delivery, and three days in a hospital to finally reach the moment of taking her home and having her with us.

Her first day home was pure bliss. We were all incredibly exhausted both physically and visually due to the lack of sleep we were getting over the previous days but there was this calming sense about the whole day. I can’t really explain it. I think most of that calmness was because we were finally out of the hospital and back in the comforts of our own home but I also think it had a lot to do with just finally being with our girl. We couldn’t be more grateful to have the task and responsibility of cherishing and caring for the most precious gift in the world.

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Comment down below if there are any parenting stories you all would like to hear or what your own birth stories were like. Remember, we’re all different and every birth story is a real birth story.