There’s a lot about being a mom that I anticipated, and things I never would of imagined. What I’ve found is there are a lot of things that are typical, but ultimately what it comes down to, each little baby is different and you just kind of learn how they operate as you go. Also, there’s going to be a lot of “Mommy lessons” and I define these as things that you thought you’d do one way or can only be done one way, but find there is an alternative that works better for your baby and/or you and your family. Yes…this is my own phrase and definition but just keep that in mind while reading.
Am I an expert on childrearing? Noooo. But in 7 weeks and some odd days, I can tell you I know my baby pretty darn well already. Her different cries. What position she’ll sleep the best in, roughly what time she’s going to be hungry, so on and so forth.
I know what really made a difference super early on with Kennedy. I wanted to try to breastfeed and I said while pregnant, we will try it and if it works, then great, and if it doesn’t then there are alternatives, our little one will not go hungry.
Well, being an expectant mother I was reading a lot online trying to prepare myself (HA! Here’s my first little nugget of knowledge, you can read for hours and hours about a topic and your child can throw you a curveball). You read everywhere nurse as soon as possible in the hospital, feed them every 2-3 hours, don’t give them a pacifier, don’t use bottles right away, so on and so forth. First curveball…my child has a gnarly tongue tie AND a cheek tie. Two for the price of one. So without you Googling what either one of those are if you don’t know, it’s a teeny tiny piece of skin under her tongue that attaches her tongue to her lower jaw, therefore making sticking out her tongue difficult, causing issues when she tries to latch. The doctors said get it cut, but it may not fix the problem, but it might! But they didn’t do it at the hospital so it would be a week or so before I could even get it done, so that didn’t help me then. Thank goodness for a number of very patient nurses that helped me while in the hospital. I thought we figured it out despite our little set back.
We left the hospital on a Sunday afternoon and our first doctor’s appointment was scheduled for Tuesday. We wanted to see our little lady start to gain weight at this appointment and when they weighed her, she maintained her weight from when she left the hospital. Not terrible but we needed to move in the positive direction, not a standstill. The doctor mentioned supplementing with formula (OH MY THE FORBIDDEN F WORD). I had such a negative view of formula because right now, breastfeeding is all the rage. As it is to be expected, it’s the natural way and it’s created to fit the baby’s exact needs. I had forgotten the whole trying to breastfeed notion and that I ever said I’d do formula if I had to. I did what the doctor said, I tried to feed her more. My little baby was so grumpy! When she’d wake up she would be almost inconsolable and at the time I couldn’t tell that anything was wrong. I just thought this was how she was.
Back we went to the doctor on Friday…she lost 4 ounces. Cue the tears. I was ready to take the worst mother of the year award and I felt like such a failure. My poor husband didn’t know what to do, but I wouldn’t stop crying. It was obvious Kennedy and I weren’t working well in the breastfeeding department. The doctor’s advice was well keep feeding her every 2-3 hours and after you feed, pump and make sure you make an appointment with a lactation consultant. I went home and was on the computer forever researching how to make this work. I did what the doctor said and I still had my little grumpy baby.
I remember that night, she started to cry at 1 AM and I was ready to start crying with her. Anthony said in a half asleep voice, “Erin, give her the formula!” I caved. I grabbed one of the several sample containers we received and chose to use the supplementing formula. This little lady sucked that 2 oz bottle down like it was nothing and proceeded to pass out in my arms all in 2 minutes time. I was stunned. She fell asleep so easily and stayed asleep for so long!
The next morning we decided that I would pump and supplement with formula. Kennedy’s whole demeanor changed and she turned into this sweet loving little baby that was so happy all of the time. I still tried to pump, but my supply wasn’t there. I’m guessing due to the stress and the lack of her demand due to poor latch, it just never came in like it was supposed to. But that’s okay! At the end of the day, you know what’s best? Fed. A fed baby and a happy mommy. This is a joint effort and she can feel my energy and I can feel hers. When feeding time came around and both of us were in distress, it wasn’t going to be good news for either one of us. Through this I’ve still bonded with my little girl. She knows mama is going to feed her and I can tell when she’s hungry. Daddy also get to join in the feeding process which honestly was one part of breastfeeding I wasn’t looking forward too. I felt like I was robbing him of his time too!
Ultimately, so far in this nearly 8 week journey, I know that making sure my baby is happy, is my number one priority. You can read the books, articles and meet with other mommies but ultimately you take bits and pieces from all of those resources and you figure out what makes your family function. I call this Mommy lesson number one and the center for our little family of three.
One thing I will promise to do/be as I continue figuring all of this out is to be open minded and help others who may need encouragement. Being a mom is not easy, and having support is so important. So I support happy babies, happy mommies, and happy families, whatever it takes to have all of those, you do you <3.