Thursday, September 1, 2016

Formula Fed Baby and Mom Shaming

I am not ashamed that I formula feed.

When my son was born, I exclusively breastfed him until he was two months old. He fed often and slept well. I didn't mind feeding often too much because I knew I was doing right by my child. He was scrawny though. I look back at pictures and see his lack of baby chub.

We had our 2-month vaccinations appointment and doctor's check up in the same week and my little boy was the same weight at his appointments than he was at birth. I cried when the doctor told me to switch to formula so that he would gain some weight. I broke right down sobbing. Thank goodness my husband was there to comfort me because I was a wreck. I wanted so badly for things to work. My milk was plentiful, for sure, but the amount of fat needed for my boy to grow wasn't.

I then would hear from others about how they or someone they knew were basically milk cows. They could breastfeed so well, their babies were gaining exponentially, and their supply was so great, they could feed their children and probably donate too. I'm sorry, but the last thing I wanted to hear was that I was a failure at what a woman is supposed to be able to do and having it shoved down my throat. That's basically what they were saying to me with their words although in sure they didn't know it.
   "When I pumped, there would be a thick layer of fat on the top. Almost more fat than anything else."
   "My friend's kids got so chubby, it was hard to find clothes that fit them."
   "My daughter-in-law could probably feed triplets and still have plent left over with her supply."

My fake-smiled reply was simply, "That's good," all while I'm dying on the inside. I'm not sure if they were trying to make me feel better but it sure didn't feel like it. I knew their intentions weren't to hurt me but they didn't know that it cut deep! Obviously almost four years later, I still remember the comments so they did make an impact. Remember that next time that before you make a comment, look at it from her perspective.

Anyway, let me just say that my son was a happy baby. He ate well, he slept through the night from two weeks old, and he wasn't a fussy baby. He was a great baby and we were so proud of him. He was just skinny.

We switched to formula and almost immediately, he started gaining weight. I was sad but also happy that there was an option for moms like me. I just wanted to do right by my babe and have a healthy child. Praise the Lord there was someone who developed formula. I don't want to think about what I would have done without the options we have available today! *Side note: my grandpa was a twin and was actually fed powdered milk to supplement feeds because of weight gain! I'm thankful for that, otherwise, I might not even be here!

Fast forward to this week. My little girl is just over two months old, the same age as my son when we switched over. It's been a similar story with my girl except we have been giving her formula from the beginning so we wouldn't have a repeat of last time. She is gaining slowly but very well and sleeping great too. The only drawback is that my supply is a bit lower so we've decided to switch completely to formula. I was hesitant to exclusively formula feed, mostly because of the expense and (annoyance of bottle cleaning) but I know it's in the best interest of my little girl.

I know what to expect. I know that I may get comments that I won't appreciate. Mom-shaming is what they call it and it's all too real. No mom should be shamed for making decisions for their child that are sometimes out of their control.

To the mom who breast feeds, good for you! That's awesome and I hope you continue to do it for as long as you can. Way to be a great mom!!

To the mom who formula feeds, good for you! You're feeding your child the nutrients they need to grow and be healthy. Way to be a great mom!!

To the mom who feels like she can't do it and it's about to crumble around her, don't give up. There's hope for you and your babe(s) too. Don't be afraid to ask for help!!

To the mom shamers, shame on you!! There is no perfect mom. There are seemingly perfect Facebook or Pinterest or Instagram moms but that's only one side of the story. The green grass side of the story. But we all have weeds in our backyard. There's plenty that happens behind closed doors and you're not above reproach. Instead of shaming, let's think before we talk (or type!!).

Support your fellow mom. She's doing the best she can and she might be struggling with it. Love her. Take her out for coffee or buy her a flower. Let's remember that no one is perfect and that we all want what's best for our families - whatever that may look like.

Being a mom is hard. Making important decisions that may or may not affect your child's future is intimidating, even as a second-time mom. I don't know if anyone will even read this but I'm glad that I can look back and say that I know I did the best I could for my kids. They deserve the world and will inherit it one day but while they're young, it's up to us parents to make the hard decisions.

Good for you, moms. You make the world go 'round!!




P.S. By the way, my husband is amazing. With both of our kids, he has been 100% supportive on any feeding decisions and has been there for the meltdowns and struggles. I appreciate him so much as a man and husband but his actions as a father have made him that much more attractive to me. I love you J!

Monday, August 1, 2016

6 Weeks

So on June 21st, I had a baby. Yes! A baby girl!! Today she is six weeks old which signals the end of my 6-week recovery period from her Caesarean section delivery.

The last six weeks has been hard. Don't get me wrong, I love being home, having the excuse that I can't drive anywhere, enjoying the quiet. I just feel terrible for my little boy who gets out on the back burner every time I have to feed my baby girl. A (my son) is an awesome kid and he plays so well by himself which is great but we get cooped up inside because I can't see him from inside (and the mosquitos are the worst, you can barely stand outside). He's a trooper and he puts up with me. When B (my newborn) sleeps, I try to devote my time to him. We read, play trains, cuddle and watch movies, he helps me cook (he loves to stir anything!). I got a good one!!

Besides my struggle with balancing time between two kids, I'm struggling with my recovery, my body, breastfeeding. Recovery is actually going really well but my muscles still hurt so much, I thought they'd be so much better by now but I did read that it takes months for some people and less time for other people. That's the least of my struggles right now.

I struggle with my body. I believe this is normal, especially after having a baby.
My belly hangs down.
I have stretch marks where I didn't know you could get stretch marks.
My boobs hurt and sag.
My excess-ness just really bothers me right now. I don't know if I had a bad day - I did see my sister-in-law yesterday who also had a baby recently and she looks like a model!

Anyway, body issues have been an issue for me since my son was born. It's hard to feel motivated to get better. I just have to do it and I tell myself that I will but I'm finding myself tired. Not just lack of sleep tired but all around physically, mentally, emotionally tired. I'd rather just crawl into bed until someone - usually A - wakes me up to do my next task.

Next, my struggle with breastfeeding. Let's see if I can get through this without crying.

With A, I exclusively breastfed for two months because he wasn't gaining any weight. It was hard because he ate well, slept well, wasn't fussy at all so I thought that I was enough for him. Uh oh, here come the tears. The moment the doctor said, "You'll have to switch to formula," I immediately broke down into tears. Thank goodness my husband was in the room with me so he could take A and hand me Kleenex. I was devastated because in my mind, there are moms in Africa who can feed their babies, I should be able to do the same! I desperately wanted my body to do what it was supposed to do but my poor baby, although he was eating, wasn't turning into the little chubby baby he was supposed to. He was long and lean and wasn't changing much from that. Once we switched to formula, he did gain weight and although I was happy, I was hurt inside. My body failed me.

Now, I have B. We/I decided that we would breastfeed and use formula when needed. We wouldn't be against it from the start like I was before. B is slowly gaining weight but everyone - and I mean everyone - comments on how small she is. Some try to reassure me and say she's getting big but I'm feeling like it's going to be a replay of A all over again. It wouldn't be bad but I desperately wanted things to be different this time.

I don't like not being in control. I don't like not know what is going to happen in my life. I'm a type-A control freak (I'm not crazy though). This situation breaks me. Over and over again. It's hard being a mom when all I want to do is what is considered "normal".

With this change comes the feeling of being judged by others. Thank goodness there's more awareness of the issue and more moms are saying that it's not a big deal but there's always that one - usually old) lady who will make a comment like, "Oh you're formula feeding? Didn't you want to breastfeed?" I don't get why people ask if I'm nursing my baby. What's the difference to you, a perfect stranger, someone who I'm not in contact with every day. I don't get why they want to know or even care. I'm not going to lie, I was probably a bit judgy until I was in the situation myself but since then, I have realized that there are all kinds of situations, almost none are the same.

Every mom is going through something different and have different insecurities and different opinions. What is right? What is wrong? The answer: every situation becomes that mom's normal. What works for one may not work for another. So the best answer to anyone wondering is this: "We're doing what's best for our family."

So whatever happens with B, whether we continue what we're doing to steer in another direction, "We are doing what's best for our family."

Take care, friends!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Paper Piecing Patterns

I have fallen for Paper Piecing. The amazing things you can make out of fabric... it's incredible. I only learned how to do it last year from my sister's blog post here.

I'm working on creating my own patterns and I hope they turn out. I love the idea of an easy project that looks difficult.

Stay tuned :)

Friday, March 25, 2016

Happy Good Friday

I'm seeing a lot of "Easter-is-the-new-Christmas" posts around the internet lately. Easter trees (essentially Christmas trees with eggs and other Easter-themed decorations hanging from them), large gifts (bikes, toys, etc.), and other things that are making it a bigger holiday.
Here's my take:
It SHOULD be as big as Christmas... but not for the reasons mentioned above.
🎄 Christmas is the time we celebrate God sending his Son in the form of a human baby with the promise that He is our ultimate Saviour.
💐 Easter is the time we celebrate that exact promise being fulfilled! Jesus, as a man, enters Jerusalem humbly on a donkey (not a horse). He fully knows he is to be betrayed, tortured, and crucified on a cross in front of His followers and His enemies, yet He goes willingly to be our ultimate sacrifice. God provided a way for us to be with Him for eternity through His Son.
I think Easter deserves that non-commercial recognition, don't you?

Remember that Jesus fulfilled the promise of God. Happy Good Friday!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Pin Cushion!

I've been working on catching up on my quilting. I missed one guild meeting and then went back in January but didn't show anything for Show 'N' Tell. I have a couple things to show at the meeting on Tuesday.

I made a pin cushion inspired by one I saw online using felt hexagons sewn on to a square. It was really challenging with the small pieces but I love how it turned out.
Inspiration:
My Version:

I've also completed a couple table runners. I made a Christmas Bento Box (from my tutorial for sale in my etsy shop in my Craftsy Shop) for my Mother-in-Law and I made a Christmas Bento Box for myself. They are the same pattern but they look so different.

I'm really going to try and create some paper piecing patterns. I have made a few projects using paper piecing and I find them so fun to try out. The possibilities are endless!

Stay tuned!





Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Yikes

Well, my plan to post more often hasn't been going well. I doubt that anyone reads anyway and therefore, doesn't even know.

Hopefully everyone is having a great new year and I'll hopefully get back into the swing of things after a busy holiday season.

Merry (Belated) Christmas and Happy New Year!