Two days ago, before I started a big grocery shopping trip at Target, I went over to Customer Service and returned a swimsuit that I’d purchased in Tucson last weekend. The 28ish bucks went back on my Target RedCard, and I proceeded straight to the baby section to start my shopping.
I picked up a tub of Similac Sensitive (the only brand that doesn’t make her stomach upset) that will last Hadley six to seven days, and then I noticed the price was within a dollar of the swimsuit I’d just returned.
I was going to be a stay at home mom, so I’d have the time it requires.
Breastmilk is free free FREE!
It’s the best I can give Hadley nutritionally (the human body is an amazing thing, right?).
We’d hopefully create “that bond” I’d heard moms speak of.
Basically, I couldn’t think of any reason not to breastfeed.
We got home from the hospital around 1 p.m., and by that night Hadley was flipped out. She refused to breastfeed and went absolutely loco every time I tried. My new-mama fatigue was setting in, so I grabbed my new breast pump out of the closet, quickly set it up, and went to town. Hadley took the bottle like a champ and passed out with a full belly.
My not-so-secret is that I really loved pumping. I loved it, so much that I didn’t understand why more people didn’t do it. I’d never heard of anybody exclusively pumping before, but once I started doing research on it, I realized there was a whole community of people just like me pumping for the same reasons I was.
- She was still getting breast milk.
- It was still free.
- I could feed her a lot faster (this was a huge plus in the middle of the night).
- Friends and family could help feed her (Jamie loved it).
- I could run errands and always have a bottle ready to go.
The only major drawback for me was that I was constantly worried that I wasn’t creating that bond with Hadley that I’d always heard about. Truth be told, I didn’t feel like I was missing out though. To make things even more complicated, I felt guilty that I didn’t feel like I was missing out. It was weird. A new mama’s rollercoaster of emotions is so dang wild!
I continued my love affair with my pump until our cross-country move from Tennessee to Arizona started staring us straight in the face. When she was just about four months old, about a week before our road trip, I decided that I was done. I was tired of the time it took to pump (in hindsight it was only about an hour a day spread out over 24 hours), and thinking about incorporating pumping/storing breast milk while driving across the country added an element of stress to our move that was really too much for me to handle mentally and physically.
I started researching formula and supplementing before I went cold turkey. I’ll admit that the first time I gave Hadley formula, I cried. That may sound very silly, but it was the first time she was being nourished by something that my body hadn’t created for her. I got over “that” quickly, and started falling in love with how simple formula feeding became.
Fast forward 4.5 months to today, and we’re still going strong with formula. At a cost of $4-5 a day, our bank account has really taken a hit. I totally understand and accept that babies are expensive, but swallowing the formula costs has been difficult for me because I know that there was an alternative to formula that I decided to give up sooner than I technically “had to”.
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking over the last few weeks about what I’ll do with my next baby (whenever that may be). In my opinion, there are so many pros and cons to all three options: traditional breastfeeding, exclusive pumping, and formula feeding. Right now I’m leaning towards trying my hardest to breastfeed and not use that pump so quickly as an “out”. If I do decide that exclusively pumping is my thing again, we’ll definitely invest in a small deep freezer (we could use one anyway) so that I can stockpile the heck out of breast milk the first few months. I can’t see myself pumping for a whole year, so realistically stock piling as much as I can in the beginning is very appealing to me. At the end of the day, if formula will help my sanity with baby #2, then formula we will do!
Many moms have some very strong opinions about this subject, and I have a very strong opinion too.
I’ve been asked a few times by friends of mine what I suggest as far as feedings go since I’ve done all three of the aforementioned options. My advice in a nutshell would be to pick what you want to do that you think will work the best with your desires and your lifestyle (are you a SAH mom or working mom, etc.) and try your hardest to make it work. If the route you’ve picked doesn’t work, try not to stress about having to do things differently. Focusing on doing what’s best for you, your family, and your baby (whatever that route may be) should be top priority.
My motivation for writing about something so personal is the idea that my experience and my words may encourage a soon-to-be mom or new mom who is deeply struggling with this topic as I know so many do. Please feel free to share this post with anyone who you believe could use it.
Thanks for letting me share my heart on this one! I’m so far from a perfect mom (I really don’t know what I’m doing 99% of the time), but I do feel like this is one issue I’ve learned a lot about due to trial and error. Feel free to contact me if you want to discuss this topic further (especially those who are considering exclusively pumping).