Formula First

I’ve been breastfeeding Cleo every day since the day she was born. As I said in the previous post, she took to it rather quickly. We had a small snafu in the first few days at home, when I couldn’t wake up the sleepyhead enough to get her to complete a feeding. A simple call to the advice nurse at our pediatricians office turned into a “we’re going to have to take her to urgent care” panic, saved only by another gracious nurse from the Welcome Every Baby program who was willing to make an impromptu house call. She was amazing. She calmed my nerves and assured us everything was going to be alright. We probably wouldn’t have to go to urgent care. But we did need to make sure le bebe was hydrated and nourished. We needed to give her formula.

“Formula!” I thought, recoiling at the notion. But wanting so badly to make sure Cleo would be ok. Up until this point I was sure– adamant that we would be exclusively breastfeeding like any mother who gives a damn about her child would do. I had hardly entertained the idea, and had been just as judgy about formula as a new mom who has no idea what she is really talking about could be. I’ve looked upon formula as poison. Or maybe junk food. Who would possibly feed that disgusting shit to their baby?

But now, my baby was five days old and had skipped a feeding, and my angel nurse was telling me how I could help her, what we needed to do to make sure she was ok. So with some hesitation and a half heavy heart we gave her 2 oz. of ready-made formula. And all was well. She perked right up, and Angel stayed with us a while to talk about how everything was going, and to make sure she tolerated the formula (She did. Very well).  Angel gave the doctor a call, and he said no trip to the urgent care was needed. My blood pressure relaxed, and I breathed a bit. Angel left us with a few more bottles for baby, just in case, and a breast pump for me, to begin to build my supply.

I cannot find the words to describe the exhaustion taken on when agreeing to feed every two hours, for 15-30 minutes (which usually ended up being 45 for my little bunn) and then manually breast pumping for 10-15 minutes on each side after that. Using a manual breast pump is like a workout for a new mama. It is insane. And it didn’t really work for me. I think I put up with about 2 weeks of that madness and then said no thank you. My supply remained the same, and I was about to rip out my eyeballs from fatigue.

After the home nurse visit, Cleo’s feedings were great. I had no major problems waking her up and she was generally easy to feed from then on. She’s never had any sort of nipple confusion between breast, bottle, or pacifier. We ended up throwing away the rest of the formula Angel gave us as it expired.

After all was said and done, I felt good about giving Cleo the formula, because it was what was best for her at the time. I felt like I was breaking some Mommy Code, and there was that lingering guilt that I’m sure many moms have if things don’t work out and they aren’t able to breastfeed. But in truth, I was really just so grateful and relieved that she was ok, that none of my broken rigidity mattered. Life isn’t perfect, and it doesn’t have to be. What DOES have to be is what’s best for CleoBunn. Having Angel call at just the right time, and her willingness to come help us, and having Cleo be well in such a short time led me and SHOWED me that I made the right choice.

All was well.

If only I could be a stay at home mom. Maybe then, the next chapter of this story would be less frustrating. But that is another tale for another time.

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