Breastfeeding and bottle feeding a bit of both.

Oh how I wish the world were divided into black and white. Into clear yesses and clear nos.

Sometimes I fool myself into thinking that it is. That natural birth is good and other kinds are not so good. But then life kicked me in the ass and reminded me that's not the case. I confessed my narrow thinking.

or that sharing feelings and vulnerability is always good and better for people's relationships. But no. Sometimes it give people means to hurt you that they'll use. So no that doesn't work.

or, more recently, that breastfeeding is good and beautiful and perfect and natural and easy. But again lets not fool ourselves. It is grey.

I don't like nursing. I don't mind it. But I don't like it. In fact, if all things were equal. If formula were as cheap and as good as breastmilk I would not be nursing. Except maybe to use it as a tool to get baby to sleep.  But frankly, my body isn't really a superstar at being a lactating woman.  Sure I pass, but I'm no milk producing olympian!
The fact of the matter is that most women's nipples first a lot and then later from time to time.  But as a woman who has now breastfed 2 children for over 13 months of my life I could count on one hand the number of times I leaked. Blessing?  Maybe.

Another fun fact is that no matter what kind of pump I use or time of day. Even if I pump 4 times a day I can barely pump more than 2 ounces. In fact, 2 ounces feels like an accomplishment. 1 is the reality.  And, I'm starting to think that Miriam eats so much and takes so long because she has to to get enough.

So going back to work and going back to a smore scheduled life means that this baby is going to get some formula.   Unless she is with me I just don't have enough milk.  In fact, even when I have her with me I don't have an abundance of milk.  It's just the reality of my body.

So now, I am starting to go back to work and sorting through my feelings about all of this. I love the freedom that bottles afford.  Sure as a nursing woman I can go anywhere, I don't have to pack supplies and so forth. That's pretty convienant I'll give you that.  But then it is just me who can do the feeding.  And yes, me with my boobs out again.  And me who really wants to be with Junia too but who is stuck sitting at the park, or in the car, or at the coffee shop or a myriad of places that I end up nursing at.  And, because I don't have a ton of milk and because Miriam is a putzer I spend A LOT of time with her on my body. 

So we've been giving her a bottle or two of formula a day.  I'll nurse and nurse and nurse and then give her a bottle.  Even after 30 minutes on me she is happy to take two or three or even four ounces.  And, I feel more free.  Because, I don't love nursing.  I am glad that it helps her immunity and brain development and all the benefits of breastfeeding and I'll keep on nursing for a long while.  But not without the freedom of a couple bottles a day. 

So despite the pro-breastfeeding crowd, and the unnecessary guilt that is floating around in my psyche I'm going to let go and stop going for the perfect black and white and keep on living in the grey.


  1. You don't need the guilt, dearest. Believe me... just let it go. There will be plenty of other things to guilt over along the way!

    I'm sure I already told you that I delivered K at THE premiere lactation hospital in the universe... Evergreen (Kirkland). My baby and I were both sick in the beginning. She was in the NICU after 56 hours of labor, hemorrhage in her brain blah blah blah. Anyway, I tried (breastfeeding). I really tried. And those nurses REALLY pushed me. In fact, the NICU doc said "your milk isn't in, your baby needs food, you need to use the bottle." The nurses in the NICU basically said "don't listen to the doc. Your milk isn't in BECAUSE you aren't trying hard enough." Oh and believe me, we tried it all -- the SNS (nightmare) and the whole kit and kaboodle.

    My kid would take 1/2 an ounce, then maybe an ounce half hour later, then another 1/2 an ounce. She was just a grazer. 21 years later, she still is. Just the way she was/is. It would drive me crazy. A friend would look at her watch and say, "Oh, time for Jacob's 8 ounce bottle." I think my kid was SIX before she drank 8 ounces of ANYTHING! haha

    Is breastfeeding better than bottle? For many reasons yes. But does it work for everyone? No... for many reasons. Don't we women have to stand together and support each other? Why pile the guilt on each other? One doesn't know why another is using one method over another. Does that woman know how my kid began life, after 56 hours, ending with a hemorrhage in her brain? Let's stop judging each other and simply support each others own decisions.

    Wow. I usually don't jump on the soap box, but this issue really brought back memories... 21 years later. After my delivery I wrote a 15 page "story" and sent it to the NICU nurses and doc. I don't know if they ever read it, or cared, but it helped me get it all out.

    Rachel, you are doing an awesome job with those girls. Kudos to you!

    (And the house pics look great! Can't wait to come visit.)


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