Real Talk, Real Moms: Feeding

Real Talk, Real Moms on Feeding
When I was asked to be a part of a group of moms to share our personal experiences of becoming a mother – I waved a huge flag saying “YES!” We’ll be chatting about a few different milestones when it comes to motherhood but I was especially interested in talking about feeding. It’s about to get REAL honest around here about feeding because I’ve had friends reach out to me about my experience. If you have no interest in babies or motherhood I promise more inspiring posts will be up for your to enjoy in a few days.

Before becoming a mom I had gone to the classes, read a few books (not many) and talked to new moms about feeding, but I didn’t know that it would be such an emotional roller coaster. They tell you that your baby will find your breasts on their own and latch. You may have to help them, but then they will get the hang of it. Friends, that was not my case. When Jackson was born I was all about breastfeeding – I was excited for the bond we would have while he fed and the quite moments we would share together. Well, this wasn’t the how it turned out.

Real Talk, Real Moms on Feeding
He had no interest in latching on – they said it was because he was so tiny. We had to syringe feed him. At the hospital we tried over and over again to latch him on. Nothing. We tried it with a nipple shield – something I didn’t even know existed. Nothing. So, the nurses and doctors said I would have to hand express in order to feed him with a syringe. This is not something any mother dreams about. It was exhausting. It lasted a week and a half. After appointments every other day with the lactation consultants, we finally got him to latch but he wasn’t gaining any weight. Something no mother wants to hear. Finally, they told me I would have feed him with a bottle along with breastfeeding. He wasn’t eating enough on the boob.

At that point, you just have to do what’s best for your child to be healthy. Believe me, there were a lot of tears. We introduced the bottle and he took it like a champ. Eating much more, which led to him sleeping a bit more. But he still wasn’t gaining the appropriate weight – we were going to the lactation consultations two times a week. It basically felt like home.

Real Talk, Real Moms on Feeding Real Talk, Real Moms on Feeding
They told me that my milk, because he didn’t latch at the beginning wasn’t producing the fatty milk. It was producing skim milk. It felt as though someone had punched me in the stomach. What did that mean? What could I do to fix it? How could that be when I was producing so much milk with my pump? These were all of the questions I had swirling in my head. It turns out there wasn’t much I could do but he needed certain nutrients that I wasn’t providing. So, we introduced formula mixed with breast milk.

It was probably one of the hardest moments I had after giving birth – it wasn’t the lack of sleep, it wasn’t the change of lifestyle, it was the fact that I couldn’t give him what I thought would be the closest bond we would have together. But, in the end it was the best decision we ever made. About two days into introducing formula to Jackson he was a different baby. He wasn’t fussy, he slept more, he just loved life and that’s the way he has been ever since. We lucked out in the baby department because we have the happiest baby on the block.

Now, we’ve moved onto solids and this little guy loves it all. You name it, he’s had it. Not once has he spit it up. He may make a funny face and look at me saying “what is that mom?” but then he eats it and opens his mouth for more.

The hurdle we faced early on was something that I’ll never forget. Although it wasn’t how I pictured feeding my baby, I wouldn’t have it any other way. He is now the kid that will sit there drinking his own bottle on my lap looking up at me. I cherish those moments of him looking into my eyes.

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Since I’ve talked with other moms about what I went through I’ve had a handful of friends reach out to me asking questions because they find themselves in a similar situation. If you are going through it please don’t hesitate to reach out. Honestly, it’s so important to bond with other moms when you are going through these trying times. If I hadn’t had my mommy and me class at DayOne each week to go to, I’m not sure how I would’ve dealt with the situation. Those moms and I will forever have a bond for what was said behind those doors and this was one topic that struck a chord with me. Just remember, you aren’t alone, this happens to many moms and you should do what’s best for you because that is what matters most!

Real Talk, Real Moms on Feeding
Make sure to check out the other mama’s of the series, talking feeding:

Could I Have That
The Effortless Chic
Ave Styles
The Refined Woman
Parker Etc
A Daily Something
Our Style Stories
Smitten Studio
Apartment 34

Hope you enjoyed this post – next month all of us will be talking about work/life balance!

Photos by Delbarr Moradi (Jackson was 10 days old)

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12 Comments

  1. Jen Pinkston

    Loved reading this Caitlin! Feeding was such a rocky road for us as well. That nipple shield and I were good friends for many, many weeks!

    Reply
    1. Hilary

      Here, here!! I’m just glad you found a system that worked for your little man and some peace of mind to go along with it too.

      Reply
  2. Jill

    I had the exact same experience with my son last November when he was born. We tried everything to get him to latch, we fed him my milk via a feeding tube. After a week, we had to introduce the bottle and I pumped for 4 months straight. We ended up giving him strictly formula after my 4 month stint, as I was back to work and my work schedule wasn’t allowing for the mandatory pump breaks. I still feel good that I went 4 months pumping. He still got the nutrients he needed from mother’s milk. We’re doing the best we can! Congrats again mamma! He’s beautiful!

    Reply
  3. Stephanie

    Such a powerful post. Not enough women talk openly about their experiences and challenges in breast feeding. Before I had my babies, I assumed breast-feeding would be an instantaneous, easy task. The experience is also different with each child. I remember the exhaustion and emotion; sobbing in the shower, after my first baby, feeling like I had failed her. No one ever told me how hard it would be. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  4. Amy Anderson

    So glad you joined us on this series!!! Isn’t it crazy how no one tells you how hard it’s going to be to nurse your baby? I remember in the first months when it was so hard and not working, I was internally cursing all the mamas I had asked advice from who seemed to completely omit the part about breastfeeding being the hardest thing ever! It truly is so helpful to have a support system of other mamas during those first weeks/months. Thanks for sharing your story! xx

    Reply
  5. Rebecca

    Thanks for sharing your story, Caitlin! It’s been SO fun and encouraging reading all the mamas’ stories. Crazy how NO ONE tells us how hard it’s actually going to be to feed our littles 🙂 I love reminding myself that “this too shall pass” every time I reach a difficult time feeding my kiddos!

    Reply
  6. Kasey

    Wow, your experience sounds so much like mine! I also thought I’d obviously breastfeed. This time around, I’m planning to be much more gentle on myself. If it happens, it happens. But I’ve learned that a healthy and happy mama means a healthy and happy baby.

    Reply
  7. Emma

    I had a very similar experience. It’s heartbreaking. My beautiful boy was born in June and spent time in hospital when he lost too much weight after his birth. While I’m still trying to fully come to terms with not being able to properly breastfeed I know I’ve done the very best I could for my little boy.

    Reply
  8. Alex Evjen

    Thank you for sharing! I had no idea that the fat content of your milk mattered so much. I am so glad that everything worked out in the end. You are a great mama!

    Reply
  9. Jill

    You are so awesome for sharing. Bravo for braving the toughest days, and for sharing the challenges with your readers.

    Reply
  10. Oralee Poitra

    I’d forever want to be update on new posts on this web site , saved to my bookmarks ! .

    Reply
  11. lydia @makinglamadre

    yup! pretty much the same story over here! I actually just wrapped up the little nursing I was able to do about 3 weeks ago. I am realizing that like the milestones we are reaching in this first year of parenting, ending breast feeding, whether or not its your decision, is still a milestone and something to be excited about.

    Reply