When I was younger I always believed when I became a mother I would do all the right things for my baby. I would love him/her, cuddle, play, and make sure he/she is a healthy, strong baby. Like most little girls I had tons of practice with adorable, almost life-like baby dolls. I prided myself on how none of my baby dolls had a missing arm or leg. My beliefs about motherhood were very black and white. If you didn’t dress your baby well then you was a bad mother. If you didn’t give your baby medicine when they got sick then you was a bad mother. If you didn’t feed your baby right then you were a bad mother. If your baby wasn’t happy or smiled a lot then you was a bad mother.
Since then, my views on motherhood have drastically changed. Now that I’m grown and a mother myself, I realize that there are many ways to provide for your child. For one, I didn’t always buy my baby designer clothes like I thought. After the first couple weeks of onesies soaked with throw up, milk stains, and messy diapers I decided to shop frugally. I set out budgets where my baby could have affordable outfits that lasted longer than a month without breaking the bank. I learned that giving baby medicine can actually harm the baby rather than help. As painful as it is, it’s sometimes better to have your child endure that cold or fever so their body can get stronger and fight off more infections. My child-like beliefs were filled with hope but no sense of reality. I remember when our daughter caught her first high-temperature fever all I wanted to do was make her pain go away. But, with regular feeding times, an outfit change and patience, I saw how quickly her body was fighting off the virus all on its own.
One thing I learned from being a wife and mother is to trust my instincts. When I was pregnant those nine months I tried my best to plan, prepare, and equip myself for motherhood. I gained knowledge, facts, and techniques so when my child arrives I will be prepared. I downloaded apps, watched videos, and podcasts to familiarize myself with being a good parent. I wanted to be the type of mother that nurtured every aspect of my child’s life so they can pretty much be perfect. I quickly learned that all the parenting books, pamphlets, and articles can only do so much.
With motherhood comes many struggles. You have to decide what cleaning products to use, what baby formula, and the type of doctor you want your child to have. Being a mom requires a lot of big decision-making. I remember after those hours in labor when they finally handed her to me I was overwhelmed with so much peace. It didn’t really occur to me what being her mother would require. It wasn’t until she got hungry that I realized I had to make a decision.
With all my preparation, I still hesitated. All that prepping went out the hospital window. I was suddenly a blank canvas holding a blank canvas. I felt like an artist with colors of all shades and hues with no clue to do. I honestly thought about feeding my daughter formula from birth to better suit my needs. I didn’t want to be inconvenienced with pumps and engorged breasts but holding her in her fragile state made me realize how I so badly wanted to give her the best.
The nurse smiled and proceeded to help our daughter latch. It was awkward at first, but a couple of tries later she was eating like she was starving. I was amazed that my breast even had milk. It’s a miracle what the body can do. I felt like a mother bird feeding her little birds. I felt so accomplishment and complete. It wasn’t until it was time for me to come home that the feeling of pride slowly washed away.
My biggest struggle with breastfeeding was as she continued to grow so did her appetite and my breast didn’t always accommodate her feeding needs. The first couple of weeks were nice and breezy. She would eat almost 6 to 8 times a day. Her feeding times started off short and sweet. I would usually pump milk in the morning and at night just in case if I had to go somewhere or I was really tired. I would always pump after I feed her too so my milk production could increase. For nearly six months all I did was pump and let her suck.
It didn’t take long before she would drink from both breasts at a time. Her appetite increased and I had to make the hard decision that breastfeeding until she was 10 months wasn’t the life for me. I wasn’t going to give up so easily. I started to stop feeding her from the breast, just pump and put baby cereal in the bottle. It gave her satisfaction until she hit the another growth curve. I eventually decided to start her on baby formula indefinitely. I slowly started to wean her off of breast milk. I would breastfeed at night, pump out the extra milk and give her formula with cereal during the day. I would cry sometimes with frustration when my breasts didn’t give her enough milk. But, I saw how satisfied she was with baby formula and got over my personal feelings.
Breastfeeding can sometimes be tricky. There are thousands of different reasons why your child doesn’t respond positively to your breasts. But be reassured that there are a thousand different solutions. Whether you breastfeed your child or provide them with formula alternatives don’t ever second-guess your instincts. There were so days where I struggled with her latching and other days I couldn’t get her off. But have peace of mind whenever you see your baby happy and laughing that you are doing a great job.
So hesitate to deviate from the plan especially if it could help you and your baby better. Always be willing to ask your doctor for help in any area for your child and take the time to reach out to other mothers for support.
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