I Support You: Dana’s story

This series was inspired by the I Support You campaign, which was created by three amazing bloggers: I Am Not the Babysitter, Mama by the Bay and The Fearless Formula Feeder. I want to provide a place where moms can feel free to share their experiences and find encouragement, love and acceptance – regardless of feeding choices. All moms deserve to feel supported. 

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Dana is the mother of a beautiful little girl. Read her story below and give her some love in the comments!

Please share a brief summary of your feeding experience.

I had a great experience with breastfeeding. I had a fairly easy time with it and after the the first 4 or so months I began to really enjoy it myself. I breastfed my daughter until almost 9 months. She stopped showing interest in it so I stopped and started her on formula.

Formula feeding was good too. Although I felt sad to stop and as though she didn’t need me anymore, I also felt a bit of freedom again. Like I had my own body back and I felt as though my schedule wasn’t so restricted. I remember though actually feeling guilty for giving her formula and felt as though I needed to explain as to why with those who I knew breastfed and then I felt a sense of relief not having to breastfeed in front of those who formula fed.

What was your original plan for feeding your child, and how did that compare to what you ultimately ended up doing?

When I first was pregnant, the thought of breastfeeding never even crossed my mind. I never knew anyone who breastfed and I knew nothing about it. It has always been you just formula feed. However, once my friend who was 6 months farther then I had her baby and breastfed, it made me start thinking about breastfeeding. I then decided that this is what was best for me and my baby and I exclusively breastfed for 9 months.

What kind of support did you have for your feeding choice?

I really didn’t have much support. I had my husband, a helpful lactation consultant , and a couple of friends. That was pretty much it. Everyone else just didn’t understand it so therefore they didn’t know how to support.

What was the best part about how you fed your child?

Well, besides the fact that it saved us money, I got to cuddle with her and develop a closeness that I don’t believe I would have other wise.

What was the worst?

The worst part would have to be just feeling as though my body wasn’t MY body. I felt like I was always feeding as well as dealing with my family who didn’t really understand.

What myths about how you fed your child were the most hurtful?

I was called a hippy by my brother and told that I lived in America and not a 3rd world country so I should act like it! That hurt pretty bad!

What would help you (or would have helped you) to feel supported/understood in your choices?

I think it would help everyone if we didn’t put the pressure on each other. Who cares if you breastfeed or formula feed…at least you are FEEDING your baby! I was always feeling self conscious  and worrying what the next person was thinking. I just wanted to be told I was doing a good job because I was caring for my baby…however I may have chose to do that.

Think ten, twenty years into the future. If you could give your grown child(ren) one message about how they choose to feed their child what would it be?

Do what is best for YOU and for your family and for your baby! Don’t worry about ANYONE else and what they THINK is best! They don’t know!!! Because what was best for THEM may not be best for YOU! Trust yourself!

Thank you for sharing your story, Dana! You are a good mama.

Tell us in the comments how support from family helped or hurt your feeding experience!

I Support You: Jade’s story

This series was inspired by the I Support You campaign, which was created by three amazing bloggers: I Am Not the Babysitter, Mama by the Bay and The Fearless Formula Feeder. The questions I used came from Jessica Smock’s interview of her “feeding opposite” at School of Smock. I want to provide a place where moms can feel free to share their experiences and find encouragement, love and acceptance – regardless of feeding choices. All moms deserve to feel supported. 

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Jade is the mother of a beautiful boy. Read her story below and give her some love in the comments!

Please share a brief summary of your feeding experience.

Jade: My mom formula fed both my brother and I. I didn’t have her support when it came to breastfeeding. I was really hesitant and uncomfortable about the whole latching on idea, but I knew it was best for the baby. My husband (who was very supportive and pro-breastfeeding) and I decided that we were going to try to at least pump and possibly try latch.

I went to my very first MOMS appointment at the hospital while I was still pregnant. I told them my plan as well as my medical history. I have PCOS and a small tumor on my pituitary gland. With that information, the nurse told me that I would be very lucky if I can breastfeed.

After my son was born, he was transported to Doernbecher Hospital in Portland for a week. I pumped every chance I got. He was born on a Monday and I didn’t get any milk until the following Sunday. I produced very little and by the next Sunday I was getting nothing.

What was your original plan for feeding your child, and how did that compare to what you ultimately ended up doing?

I was really confused and didn’t really know what to expect. I wish I could have produced milk to meet my son’s needs.

What kind of support did you have for your feeding choice?

People would ask me all the time if I breastfed or formula fed. Nobody really gave me a hard time about formula feeding.

What was the best part about how you fed your child?

I could sleep and daddy could get up and feed baby.

What was the worst?

I felt like I was failing as a mom and not giving my son the nutrients that he needs.

What myths about how you fed your child were the most hurtful?

That formula fed babies are more prone to ear infections, obesity, and overall worse health than breast fed babies.

What is your “truth” that counteracts those myths?

My son is perfectly healthy. Has never been sick other than the common cold, he is very active and I think he is developing fine.

What would help you (or would have helped you) to feel supported/understood in your choices?

I’m not sure; I think more exposure and open-minded family members. I definitely want to try again with my second child.

Think ten, twenty years into the future. If you could give your grown child(ren) one message about how they choose to feed their child what would it be?

I would be supportive of whatever their choices are. My mom wasn’t supportive of me wanting to try to breastfeed.

Please share any additional thoughts you have about infant feeding and how it affects motherhood.

People need to be supportive of new moms. Not everyone can breastfeed and some do not want to. As long as the baby is getting what it needs that’s all that matters.

Thank you for sharing your story, Jade! You are a good mama.

Tell us in the comments how support from family helped or hurt your feeding experience!

I Support You

I’ve been feeling a little lost lately, blog-wise. I know I can write, and I have things I can write about. But when it comes to actually doing it, I freeze. I’ve been frozen for a while.

I can’t put my finger on what’s going on. Depression isn’t really flaring (although this morning’s 0330 wake-up time begs to differ), things are finally settling down here in Texas, I’m working on my Step 8 and I’m enjoying my stay-at-home mom life. But still…it feels like something is missing.

I’m hoping that I’ll get back into the swing of things with a series I’m planning to launch soon. It’s directly inspired by the “I Support You” Campaign launched by three amazing bloggers:

Mama by the Bay

Fearless Formula Feeder

I Am Not the Babysitter

These amazing ladies are trying to truly bring mothers together and help them realize that there is room for everyone at the table. Specifically, the campaign aims to:

  1. Bridge the gap between formula-feeding and breastfeeding parents by fostering friendships and interactions.
  2. Dispel common myths and misperceptions about formula feeding and breastfeeding, by asking parents to share their stories, and by really listening to the truth of their experiences.
  3. Provide information and support to parents as they make decisions about how to feed their children.
  4. Connect parents with local resources, mentors, and friends who are feeding their children in similar ways.

I’ve come a long way in how I view infant feeding. I started at the self-righteous, judgmental end of breastfeeding “support” (All or nothing, and if you don’t breastfeed you’re hurting your child). I cringe just thinking about it. Today, I believe that breastfeeding is the biological norm for our species and that human milk is nutritionally superior to man-made formula. However! I no longer think I have all the answers for every mom. Breastfeeding doesn’t work for everyone. And that’s ok.

One of the calls for action put out by these women was to have bloggers interview their feeding “opposite.” I put out a call on my Facebook page, asking women who used formula if they’d be willing to share their story with me. Within minutes I had several offers, and knew I had to do more. I opened it up to any mama who wanted to share her story – no matter how she fed her baby. I’ve always wanted this blog to be a forum to celebrate all the different ways we are good mamas; here was my chance!

So each week, I will feature a different mother’s infant feeding story. My hope is that we can look beyond infant feeding choice and focus on what’s really important: supporting women as they travel the most rewarding yet challenging path of all, motherhood.

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I can already feel my blog ennui ebbing away. Look for the first post in this series on Friday!

When “You are your mother’s son” is scary

“You are your mother’s son.”

My husband said this affectionately to our son last night as we left the restaurant. Colt had just told him, “I didn’t do it. Mama did it.” He was referring to how I had picked him up and put him in his seat because he was dawdling too much to do it on his own…30 minutes ago. That greatly upset my very independent boy, so he sat and stewed on it for the entire meal.

Yep, he’s my son. When I got butt-hurt about something, I used to hold onto it and roll it over in my mind for ages. I used to let small misunderstandings ruin my entire day, which would frustrate my husband to no end. I didn’t like doing it, but I couldn’t help it. I was upset, you know, so it was important to chew on it because eventually he would see I was right and he was wrong, right? Right??

Luckily, I’ve since learned the value of letting go of small annoyances and working through larger problems so they don’t get blown out of proportion. But the memory of my past behaviors is there when my son shows signs of my less-than-impressive qualities. And that’s what makes the phrase, “You are your mother’s son,” slightly chilling to me.

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What else is he going to inherit from me? Will he be a slave to compulsive behaviors, as I was? Will he feel anxious in social settings because he believes everyone there is better than him? Will he lie and manipulate because he can’t handle the emotions he’s feeling? Will he be an alcoholic or addict?

These fears aren’t new; I’ve had them since before I was pregnant. Of course I only want him to receive my good qualities and I want my bad qualities to be left behind in the gene pool. Truthfully, I want him to be more like my husband. I’d rather Colt had my husband’s cool, calm and collected sunny day rather than my up-and-down emotional thunderstorm. So far, it’s looking like he’s more of the thunderstorm type.

I know it’s not just nature that decides how our life goes. Nurture plays a big role as well. I’m able to calm my fears a little because of the changes I’ve made in my life. I’m no longer the slave to compulsive behaviors, the self-hating girl who lies and manipulates because she can’t handle the emotions of addiction. I can do my best to mitigate the less desirable genes I’ve given him, by nurturing him with love, encouragement, empathy and respect. I am the best person for the job of his mother.

And I’m going to do my best so that when someone tells Colt, “You are your mother’s son,” it’s something to be proud of.

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