Breastfeeding – what no one talks about are the challenges that can come. At least I never heard about it before giving birth. It’s like that with much of parenting. We go in very naïve, thinking that if we follow certain steps and formulas it will result in the quintessential child who responds just the way we hoped. Walking into parenting, I was quickly humbled when my plans were derailed by reality.
- This is a sponsored post written on behalf of BlueSmart mia. All opinions and experiences are my own.
Breastfeeding – What No One Talks About
My breastfeeding objectives were thwarted almost immediately. My baby latched just fine. It was beautiful and natural – until it wasn’t. Not long into the nursing journey it became a fierce endeavor to make it work. My body and my child were fighting against me.
I don’t give in easily. I went to the lactation consultants in the hospital. They would watch me nurse and tell me the latch looked good. They would weigh her to figure out if she was getting enough. The answer was just barely.
Le Leche League was another resource. I visited them to try and figure out the tips and tricks to make it work. From supplements to techniques, there was little that helped.
The struggle was real. Was my child getting enough? Why does she nurse for seconds and then turn away and scream? Why does everyone tell me my latch looks fine and yet my baby seems constantly hungry and desperate for the nipple? I’m sore and hurting, and my child is completely unsatisfied.
My supply was down. That’s only one of many complications that can come with breastfeeding. Babies can have latching problems. Breasts can be engorged. There’s mastitis, clogged ducts, Raynaud’s Phenomenon, thrush, inverted nipples and more.
I went into a crazy cycle of nursing. I would try and breastfeed her, which with all the tips and techniques and her fussing in between sucks would take 30-45 minutes. Then, I would try and supplement with whatever I had pumped. Eventually I would also start supplementing with formula. Next would come the pumping. I would sit there staring at my baby (after all, staring at your baby is supposed to provide letdown) while trying to pump. If my baby was sleeping in another room, which I had oh so carefully departed so she wouldn’t wake up, I would look at her picture. I would sit there, exposed with my pump – feeling like a cow rather than a human and letting the machine do it’s duty. I would be uncomfortable – machine pinching at my sore nipples, for at least 30 minutes and maybe have an ounce to show for it. I remember spilling a bit a couple times and it felt like I had lost gold.
That process of feeding would take at least 1.5 hours. I would get a small break and do it all over again. It was miserable.
Then came the guilt because I was never told it might be this challenging. People don’t talk about it. I should just be able to do this! If I can’t provide the best for my baby now, what does that say about me as a mother? Everyone says breastfeeding is the way – the only way to go – and I’m failing at motherhood already. Add all of this on top of the pregnancy hormones swirling throughout the postpartum brain, and it is a recipe for disaster.
I know I’m not alone. I’ve talked with countless women who have experienced the real struggle of breastfeeding. It’s not that we should quit trying. Motherhood is about sacrifice, after all. Breastfeeding is beautiful and good. I’m not proposing that people shouldn’t breastfeed their babies. I just want women to go into motherhood with realistic expectations of possible outcomes. Being aware that breastfeeding might not be smooth sailing and that supplementing might be the best thing you can do for your family is a real conversation that needs to be had.
I pushed to make breastfeeding work, and it did for a time. However, the day I caved and was willing to supplement alongside my breastfeeding routine was the day where there was relief. It wasn’t just relief for me. My baby, who I wanted the best for, was suddenly satisfied and more restful. I was stubborn to the detriment of my child rather than responding to the the cues she was sending – the cues that showed she needed something more than I couldn’t provide with my own body.
Easing the Pressure of Feeding Time
Maybe you can relate to my story. However, there are also those here who have a different story. Breastfeeding does feel natural and easy for both you and your child. It is beautiful, and you will continue to do it as long as you can. I am so glad for that!
Whatever the case, there will be times your child is handed off to a trusted care giver who will feed with a bottle. There will be dates nights, work schedules and healthy stretches away from your baby. Your child will need to eat during those times too.
I want to share with you a product by BlueSmart mia that can help make feeding more straightforward by taking some of the guess work out of the process. If you are supplementing with your own breast milk, a breast milk you have purchased or with formula, this high tech, Wi-Fi enabled smart sleeve for your bottle helps record and analyze your baby’s feeding. I really wish this technology was available when I was trying to navigate feeding my own babies.
This bottle sleeve helps you track the amount your baby consumes – anytime – anywhere – connecting with your smart phone and a mobile app to keep you in the loop. This helps alleviate the anxieties and relieves you of the responsibility of more complicated tracking methods, such as journaling or charting. This technology also provides information about the temperature of your breastmilk or formula as well as optimal feeding angles. An expiration alert tells you when leftover milk should be discarded. It gives daily tracking and alerts, looking for helpful patterns in our child’s eating habits. You can also record milestones and keep a journal that could be helpful for doctors, caregivers, lactation consultations and family.
The BlueSmart mia is a smart-sleeve that fits most bottles and is currently available in pink and blue (yellow and orange coming soon). It is available to order at BlueSmart mia or on Amazon for $149.00 (affiliate link). For a limited time, you can use the exclusive code NEWMIA30 for $30 off through the month of February. You can also follow BlueSmart mia via Facebook and Twitter for more information. Find out more by watching this short informational video:
Whether breastfeeding has been an easy or a more challenging journey, I want to encourage you to embrace what you have been given. Be thankful for that precious baby. Find ways that are right for your family to alleviate some of the stress that can come with caring for a new baby. The BlueSmart mia sleeve can help as can going into parenthood with a willingness to be adaptable to the changing needs of your family.
I hope my story provides some comfort and encouragement to those who are struggling. You are not alone. You do not need to enter into motherhood with a shoulder of guilt. You are strong and can make an educated decision about what is right for your family. Share your story so that others don’t feel alone or discouraged. As moms we need to be willing to contribute to the conversation so we can ease the burdens that we so often carry for our child. I hope you move forward in confidence raise your little ones.