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Mom of five lovely daughters, wife of one dashing man. Born in Utah, grew up in Oregon, live in Georgia.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Why I bottle feed my babies

My body is awesome at carrying and birthing babies. When I look at Chloe I marvel that she grew inside of me and that my body has the capacity to nourish such a big, healthy baby. And when I reflect on the ease of my deliveries compared to stories I've heard from others I am so grateful that my body was built in such a way to allow babies to come into the world without much trauma. But as good as my body is at sustaining life from within, it is not so good at sustaining it once the babies are outside of me.

I used to view my inability to breastfeed as a failure of motherhood. With my first three babies I tried and tried to nurse them, believing that if I just nursed them more my milk supply would catch up. (Afterall, that is what almost all the experts tell you.) With Lydia I nursed, supplemented, and pumped for three months and did eventually nurse her exclusively, but I remember next to nothing about her infancy except for the anxiety of trying to build up my milk supply. With Emily I did nurse her exclusively from the beginning, but when she was about 4 months old I had to quit because she was not gaining weight. And I felt like a failure. With Summer I recognized my limitations and decided to give her whatever I had and not stress about trying to exclusively breastfeed. I was a little sad when I once again realized that my body was not producing enought to sustain her, but I let that go and just gave her a bottle when she was hungry. And once I did that I enjoyed her so much more!!! I was a happier, more relaxed mother, and she grew and was healthy right from the beginning. So, with Chloe I'm bottle feeding. And it's a good thing because it's been four days and my milk still hasn't really come in. I still look at breastfeeding mothers with a little envy. I would love to be able to continue that physical and emotional bond with my babies once they are born. But when I look at Chloe and recognize the miraculous job my body did at sustaining her in my womb I cannot help but be grateful for the blessings I have been given and not covet the blessings I have not.

13 comments:

stephanie said...

i was able to exclusively nurse my first two babies just fine, but for some reason my milk never really came in with my third. i have supplemented her with formula since she was 2 weeks old. i had a really hard time with it in the beginning and felt like such a failure, but my little sister (who has spent a lot of time in third world countries) pointed out how lucky i was to have so many options available to me to ensure my baby's health. like you, once i stopped stressing about it and gave her a bottle when my milk wasn't enough, we were both so much happier. you have the right attitude about it, jessi!

Diana said...

I was always planning on breastfeeding and when Nate just wouldn't do it I felt like such a bad mom. It was awful to put that on myself when I couldn't change it. For some reason all the girls just knew how to do it and I loved it. But we really can't be so hard on ourselves whatever our circumstances are.

Michelle Pyne said...

I'm thankful for baby bottles and formula, that we can still nourish our babies when breastfeeding isn't an option.

Sally said...

As an adoptive mom, breastfeeding wasn't an option, either, but I quickly found that there were some definite positives to the bottle! The biggest was that Brad and I were able to share the late night feedings! YES!

I know they say that "Breast is Best," but isn't it amazing how much judgement there is out there about the subject? People do the best they can in their own situations. And I have NO doubt that little Chloe is getting all the love and nourishment she needs, and more!

Natalie said...

My mom had the same issues and I know she's always felt a little down on herself about it. We all grew up healthy and happy, though, and we loved being able to help feed the youngest!

Nisa said...

I think you are right on, to consider your own experiences, and stay positive about your personal physical blessings. When I give birth, it about rips me in two each time. I can't walk for MONTHS! But I could be a wet-nurse for half the neighborhood. And though I adore my moments nursing Baby J - even when he is ripping my shirt with his propeller arm like he did during sacrament today, I still struggle with how frustrating it is to have milk coming out my ears. And I have to admit, it sucks to skip on the cake and take an extra helping of green leafy's just cause I'm feeding someone else. Everyone has their challenges, I guess. Of course, if there is ever a shortage of formula, just head my way and we'll trade, hehe! I know, you've got talents that I could use!

Shana said...

That is great Jessi!! When I had Brayden, I had no idea that he wasn't really nursing. (of course, he is my first and I had no idea what it felt like) After a week I found out he was not nursing or getting any milk at all and he had to go back in the hospital for jaundice and stay for a few days. It was HORRIBLE!!! I started immediately giving him a bottle and one day just decided to see if he would nurse again and he latched on!! I was so excited. ALthough, my milk seems to disappear after about 6 months of nursing! With Daxton, he would NOT take a bottle and so I heard of some pills you could take to help your milk supply and they worked wonders for me. Although I had to take them 3 times a day. So I think it is great that you are enjoying this little Chloe and not worrying about trying to nurse. I am sure she will sleep lots better for you and she will grow into a little plump princess. :) I am glad that you recognize that it is better to put those feelings aside so you can enjoy nourishing her through the bottle. :) Love ya!

Kjirsten said...

Grandma H told me that the same thing happened to her, she never had enough milk to nurse, so she bottle fed...and it doesn't seem to have made much of a difference. I am glad you aren't stressing out about it.

Crystal said...

I had the same issue. I remember Dale saying something like, "She will be overweight and not very smart if we don't breast feed." My reply was that I was not breastfeed so was he calling me fat and dumb. I realized soon after that he wasn't either. It did take until my third child to get over the guilt. It is sad the pressures we put on ourselves. Once I realized my bodies limitations and my inablilty to change these limitations it was easier.

Kimberlie said...

I too have had a very similar situation as you. I haven't been able to produce enough so my babies were always still hungry after I nursed them. At the beginning that is what I felt like I was always doing because it was never enough. I have always thought it may have been my lack of calorie intake. (I've never been a big eater) But I could be wrong. If I have another baby I'm going to try one more time and track how much I eat. But if it still doesn't change then oh Well :)! I felt a lot of guilt with my first attempt with Dylan too. (he wouldn't latch on.) A lot of it was from induced from others telling me what I needed to do. Seems kind of silly doesn't it?

MiandMiksmom said...

Jessi, you know my stresses with this and the effort I had to put forth to pump bottles and whatever. Seriously, when it all comes down to it and they are the ages of my girls now, I have a hard time remembering exactly how I fed them because it JUST DOESN'T MATTER. It seems like Amelia would take whatever but I stressed myself out to get her to latch on and then pumped bottles. Mikayla wouldn't take formula so I did what I had to do, but usually that meant being hooked up to a pump and pumping bottles around the clock...not fun and not memorable. I just remember the peace and joy that I felt holding those little ones and how that's all that matters...not what they ate and how they were fed.

Thanks for sharing!

McCluskey Family said...

Hey Jessi,
Congratulations on your new arrival. I also know how you feel. I have 1 son, and he was born 11 weeks premature, and my milk supply never came in. I did pump for 3 to 4 months without Ben being able to breast feed. I pumped 7 to 8 times a day. It was very hard to deal with giving up pumping for him, but I know that I was a better happy mother. I am going to have another baby in April, but I hope that my milk will come in this time. If it doesn't I am greatful to bottles also. You are a great mother, and have a great family.
Nicole McCluskey (WARREN)

Rodney & Family said...

Hey Jessi,

Love your blog - but don't worry about not breastfeeding. At least you can have babies. The fact that I could probably feed triplets is pointless if I don't survive the delivery. Having had two high risk pregnancies, I've been limited on the number of children I've been able to have. I think God blessed me with the ability to breastfeed because that motherhood instinct is not natural for me. It was never love at first sight as you describe. I always felt like I was holding a little stranger. I NEEDED to breastfeed to be able to bond with my babies. I don't think you need that. You're an awesome mom! And I totally admire you!