The Early Days of Motherhood, part four

Part One
Part Two
Part Three

My Boy was born March, 12, 2001. From the beginning I knew in my heart I was going to bottle-feed.

My Hubby knew it too. He wanted me too. He knew what my past experience had done to me.

I didn't even try to nurse.

I had some very pro-nursing nurses in the hospital that questioned my decision and tried to get me to change. I didn't budge.

After about 3 weeks home with our second child, something new began.

COLIC.

No sleep for baby. No sleep for mom and dad.

Crampy, gassy, fussy, sleep-deprived baby. Crazed mom.

For the love of all that is good in the world, why didn't you nurse? See what YOU've done?!

At this point there was no way I was going to attempt to go backwards and take my son off formula and try and "charge up" my breasts to nurse.

It can happen. It's about supply with demand. Breast economics.

Not going to happen for me.

We tried soy, Nutramigen, Alimentum, lactose-free. Burping over the shoulder, burping across the knee, burping bent at the stomach.

Swirling the bottle vs. shaking it. Burping after 1 oz. Burping after 1/2 oz. I even burped a few times, but it didn't help him.

Gas drops in the bottle. More water. Less milk at a sitting. Sleeping propped up.

Short from standing on my head while feeding him, nothing helped.

Deep within me depression reared it's head. Post-partum or not. Because of the bottle feeding issues or because of the colic, it began...again.

Mother-failure.

Time went by and finally, thanks to Yaya and going against all that was right with child-rearing, we put My Boy to bed on his stomach.

GASP. That's not right, all the books say.... all the experts say..... everyone knows that that is taboo. Well, my mom's view was that I grew up sleeping on my stomach and I'm okay. We tried it.

Just that slight pressure on My Boy's tummy worked wonders. Of course our crib monitor was nearly tucked in his diaper every night to keep tabs on his safety, but he was sleeping. He wasn't as whiny, and less gassy.

So I'm the non-nursing mother who puts her kid to sleep against the rules.

Rebel.

Will all of this continue to affect my life 10 years later. Yes. And no.

Am I different from normal moms? Yes and no.

Am I worse than a normal mom? No.

Did I go against the grain? Yes and no.

Will I always feel judged? Yes.

Do I care anymore? No, not really. I cared enough to write about it. To heal my heart. To possibly connect to someone else who felt the same way. I worried about the comments. But, I shouldn't. This is MY story. It can't be told any other way.

Did I nurse my 3rd child? No. And, finally I don't regret a minute of it. It doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things. My love for them always has been the truest of feelings that cannot be affected by something so trivial.

50 supporters in group:

  1. Swirl Girl said...

    You do what you can when you need to and to the 'experts'? Be damned...

  2. Martha said...

    Thanks for sharing your story. I think motherhood and guilt go together, we want so badly to be PERFECT, and there is no way we can. I feel guilt about not fighting harder in a marriage that clearly was not working so my child could grow up in a two parent family, but in reality he was not present, he had addictions, which was the better choice?

  3. Brittany said...

    Ok, so why is the second child ALWAYS the one with COLIC! How are we brave enough for #3!?!? I am scared to death!

    Also, those nursing nazis in the hospital, way to make someone feel like a failure from the start. I dread them.

    You know, with my second, I planned on bf'ing for a month or two, but always suppliment with formula. I told my night nurse this so I could get some sleep before going home to two small kids and NEVER sleeping. She refused to suppliment, and brought me the baby houjrly. I hated her.

    Can't wait to go do this again! YAY!

  4. Carrie said...

    Hi, visiting from Mimi's blog, and I like the way you can be so candid about your experiences! I nursed both my kids, but I am NOT one of those who thinks it's the only way! I was even a little hesitant, but it worked for me and stuck with it :) Thanks for sharing, you are a great mom!

    I also read the post about chocolate milk! I don't know how many times a sippy cup of milk got left under a seat on a hot summer day! And, from experience, coke doesn't smell as bad, but sure makes a sticky mess :) LOL!

  5. Michelle said...

    Amen!

  6. wife.mom.nurse said...

    You are a woman of courage ")

    These are mommy-hot-topics! But, good for you!

    You, as a mother, knew what was best for YOU and your child.

    As a woman who had breast feeding nightmares myself, I know the havoc it can do on your emotional state! It was counterproductive to be devastated about my BF traumas.

    Thanks for sharing your story.

  7. Matilde said...

    Oh what a relief I am not the only one who went against the law: no matter what happens, never let a baby sleep on his stomach. My first child could only sleep that way and also tight wrapped in a wollen blanket.Last week I said, that beeing alone is often a problem for a mother, but also listening to too many people can be one. A mother should first of all listen to her instinct (and her mother too)

  8. Krystyn said...

    Thank you so much for sharing this!

    I think we are all rebels in our own little ways...and we have to do what works for us and for our kiddos!

    I'm glad you've found solutions that work for you all!

  9. Write From Karen said...

    Thank you for writing this. I too bottle fed my children. And I too, allowed them to sleep on their stomachs and I too went against the grain - especially when it felt right and worked for my family.

    It takes courage to step out of mainstream thought and practices. And sometimes, I think it's better.

  10. because I said so said...

    OH Jen! My story is very very eerily similar to yours and I know exactly how you feel. I did decide after Carson that I was not going to let anyone make me feel guilty about how I feed MY baby. You worry about you and I'll worry about me.....mkay? Reese has been worse since being a preemie and reflux and the whole nine....I've done a lot of 'taboo' no no's and I hate to say it but they worked and both kids are alive and kickin (and if you look at Reese, obviously thriving!!....put the cookie down little girl....I kid, I kid...sort of)

    Good god don't tell the Babycenter Breastfeeding Nazi's that you're bottle feeding......forget about it!

    BTW, I think your beautiful children have turned out just as wonderful as thier mommy!

  11. Anonymous said...

    I was right there with you..breastfeeding didn't work first time why try the second...then a colic baby...who also had G.E. Refux...so you weren't alone...I was there too...thankx for sharing our..i mean your story

  12. April said...

    I nursed and had no colic.....my best bud nursed and had colic.....I really don't think it matters!

    I wish that moms would stop judging and just learn from eachother!

  13. Heather said...

    I loved reading about your experience. I think that too many woman out there judge other woman for not nursing. I tried to nurse Connor and he just wouldn't have it. So he was bottle fed. I felt guilty for a while but not anymore. He is just fine and super smart. I did nurse Kendall for about 6 months but I was SO over nursing & pumping by 6 months. She was just as happy with the bottle.

    Everyone does what is best for them and you are right you love the no matter now they were fed as infants. As for the sleeping, my kids both slept best on their belly. I broke that rule too and now they both STILL sleep on their belly!

    No Regrets!

  14. Sarah said...

    My daughter wouldn't sleep on her back at all. As soon as she could roll she did whether I liked it or not. I don't think I ever told anyone but my family because I was not in the mood to deal with the judgement. To this day, they all sleep on their tummies or their side.

  15. MamaJoss said...

    That's a tough one to admit in this blog-mmunity. Props to you. You did express every single emotion and thought that I also went through. I flat-out told my nurses with my second baby - PLEASE BRING ME A BOTTLE....and it was like pulling teeth...I hated that feeling. Both children have had their share of boogies and sleepless nights...don't think a boob would have helped with that. I feel pretty confident they will attend college despite.

  16. Donatelli98 said...

    Thanks for saying what a lot of us wished we could say. I tried with my first but was too flustered and she didn't take to it real well either. I was like you with my second and didn't even try. Both my girls have had ear issues, but part of that is genetic (my husband and I did as children too). But like you I felt that guilt. Thanks for showing us we are still great moms even if we use a bottle. One good thing - both my girls slept through the night at an early age and are great sleepers!

  17. Lindsay said...

    ooo the Colic.. I had an acid reflux baby and dealt with the he wouldnt have it if he was breast fed issue as well.

  18. Dejoni said...

    Finally a mom who tells it "how it really is" and doesn't sugarcoat" it and tells all the wonderfullness of mommyhood.
    I'm so sick of mothers judging other mothers. Do what works for you. I felt like such a failure with my first. With the second, I was like...who cares! If you don't like the way I parent, I could care less.
    I make a point not to give advice to new mothers but to tell them "you are their mother and you'll figure out what works for you and your baby."
    Kudo's to you for all of us societal "less than perfect" non-breast feeding, tummy sleeping moms. AMEN!!!

  19. Merrie said...

    It's funny how the generations change, too. Wasn't there a time a while back when nursing was taboo? It was all about the bottle for a while, and I can't help but wonder if we'll go back that way again. (After all, bell bottoms and platforms came back!) I just wish people could do what's best for them and not have anyone (especially a hospital employee!) tell them their way is wrong.

    I was glad for you when K was born and you were comfortable with your decision. That was great to see. :)

  20. Wendy said...

    I believe that we(moms) are given an instinct to do what is best for our children whether it's nursing or not, tummy sleeping, co-sleeping, licking the floors, or whatever. I believe that we should support each other just for making it through each day and keeping the kiddo alive! Good for you for being confident in your decisions!

    Plus I too let my little one sleep on her side and tummy. She was always like a turtle on it's back when I put her on her back. Arms and legs just flying away until I flipped her over. Quite a funny site!

  21. Native American Momma said...

    I fought with my baby for almost 4 months there was no bonding. In fact after feeding her I had to give her to my husband and go have a good cry. Not healthy for either of us.
    Going with what you know is right for you child is the most important thing.

  22. Amy Amy Bo Bamey said...

    GASP

    You put him on his stomach..SHOCK...The Horror!

    I did it too! :)

    I felt like a rebel too but it really was better for everyone! He slept so much better and I swear it was the pressure on the belly!

  23. Poetry Sue said...

    I was nearly brought to tears by your story. I have only one child. My pregnancy was filled with pain and my labor was three days long. I figured the mothering part would be easier. But I too never produced enough brestmilk to breast feed my son. I was looked at funny when I bottle fed him. Even people in my family would make comments like "What? your boobs not good enough for the kid" I felt horrible about it. I beat my self up over it.. I had never, never heard of a mother whose body couldn't provide for her child. Every mother I knew would say things like "WOW really? I produced so much I ruined every shirt I wore". Finally I just stopped listening to them.. I am so relieved to finally hear that I am not the only one... thank you for sharing your story

  24. michelle and jason said...

    I am right there with you; I felt ALL of these emotions, and it has help me SO MUCH to know that I am not the only one. So, thank you for sharing your story - it has helped me begin the path towards healing that wound.

  25. He And Me + 3 said...

    Those emotions were felt by me too when I didn't nurse my first born and she had colic. Oh my...what a time we had. Yep...tried everything you tried too. just had to run its course.
    Thank you for posting these stories it is nice to relate to someone:)

  26. Keyona said...

    You do what you have to. The experts...guess what, they don't know YOUR child, you do.

  27. Anonymous said...

    As a daycare mommy I know all the "rules" all too weel. I have county and state employees popping in my home unannounced to check and see if I'm following all the "rules" with my daycare children. And I do. I also break almost EVERY SINGLE ONE with my own children. Sleeping on tummies, sleeping with a blankie by thier face for comfort, eating solids before they're supposed to... the list could go on and on! I have 3 healthy girls and a 4th on the way. Like yours they are perfect!

    Thanks for Sharing!

  28. Minxy Mimi said...

    Ahh, my fellow rule breaker. I know how you feel. I never breast fed, never wanted too... and I was judged. Made to feel I didnt have the same bond, was a failure. They were wrong then, they are wrong now and good for you for doing what was right for you!

  29. Jenera said...

    If my baby didn't spit up all the time, I'd put him on his belly. When I lay on the couch with him, he lays on my chest and sleeps way better that way.

    I tend to not do anything by the book. Ever. And boy do I get flack for it. There are so many people abusing their children that it seems ridiculous to judge a mom that simply feeds their kid different or lays them down differently.

    I just take joy when my kids are happy, healthy, and well adjusted.

  30. Busy-Budget Moms said...

    We let both our girls sleep on there tummys!

  31. Annie said...

    I'm so glad you shared this. It may help some other poor, young mummy, who is being guilted into something she doesn't want to do.

  32. Susan said...

    Good for you, for putting it all in writing to heal yourself.
    I think as mothers we put SO much pressure on ourselves to do everything right. It is an impossible goal that beats us down.
    I am fortunate to be a part of a group of friends where we strive to support each other as mothers without judgment on how we do things. We have breast and bottle feeders, tummy sleepers, sling carriers and non-sling carriers, time out givers and spankers.
    When it comes down to it, our job as a mom is hard enough without being criticized about things that really don't make much difference in the grand scheme of things.

  33. Liz said...

    Girl, I continue to find more things about your story that are sooooo similar to mine! And just for what it's worth...my last kiddo was born 2/15/01. I swear, we have SO much in common!

  34. Nicole said...

    Yea for yaya!!! you do what you have to do plain and simple. If people dont like it they can kiss off!

  35. Jen said...

    I really wish that I had read these posts when I was pregnant. Maybe I wouldn't have had such a hard time with my son. Thanks for sharing and being so honest.

  36. Elaine A. said...

    Both of my boys slept on their tummies by 4 weeks and beyond. I had to sleep and so did they. Shhh, don't tell anyone... ; )

  37. Shannon said...

    The beginning of this post was the same for me...

    Pregnant with child #2... knew I would bottle-feed.

    Very pro-breast nurses in the hospital wanted me to try... I told them no way... been there, tried that. It didn't work with child #1 and she turned out just fine! I wasn't going to get myself all worked up again... just bring on the formula :)

    And I have to say, child #2 has turned out just fine, as well.

  38. ciara said...

    as for that question you answered: am i worse than normal moms? just because you didn't succeed w breast feeding and had a colic baby (which mini me was, too...it was a trying time for us) doesn't mean you are not a normal mom. no one mom has all the answers, no one mom has done it 'just right'. as far as i'm concerned, you are very normal. don't ever forget that. btw i do believe i put my first child on his stomach, the other two were put on their backs/sides. thanks for telling your story, jen. i hope it helps others who feel the way you do, and i hope that it has gotten you to the place you wanted to be. xo

  39. Shawn said...

    Don't sweat it a minute longer. I've been a baby nurse for more than 20 years, didn't nurse any of my 3 kids, they all slept on their tummies and guess what? They all make A's and B's and not one of them are showing any homicidal maniac tendencies!

    Take that La Leche!

  40. Marla said...

    my boobs were off limits for both my boys... and i went against almost all the grains... let's hope it doesn't bite me in the ass

  41. Kelly said...

    you're my hero! i'm a bottle feeding, belly sleeping mom, too!

  42. Piece o' Coconut Cake said...

    Oh, please. I used to put Peanut on her tummy ALL THE TIME.

  43. Jill said...

    My mom and mother in law had no clue about all the "changes" that had come about in the past 30 years since they had kids - and used to question me all the time about my decisions with my 1st.... about swaddling, bottle feeding, sleeping on the back, etc.

    With my last one arriving in the next 6 weeks I feel very comfortable doing just about anything that makes it easier for me - whether it's bottle feeding or dare I say, letting the baby sleep on its stomach - if that's what helps.

  44. Messy Mommy said...

    Good for you! These stories need to be told! Hop over to my blog to see my news!!!!!!!!!!!

  45. Mariah said...

    I let mine sleep on their stomach too. I'm rebellious like that...
    As far as breast feeding goes, I think everyone is entitled to their own opinion about it. They're your boobs!

  46. Managed Chaos said...

    Why or why did I feel so guilty when I put my little girlie on her stomach to sleep. My mom did it for all four of her kids and we all turned out fine. I wish I would have seen this post 7 yrs ago ;o) Thanks for sharing!

  47. HappyHourSue said...

    OMG breastfeeding sucks - did it both times, hated it both times. 2nd child I was all: 'you're done" at 3 months.

    Also: belly-sleepin' babies. Right on.

  48. Anonymous said...

    Sounds all too familiar to me. I just found out that I'm pregnant with my 3rd child. I attempted to breastfeed my first with no luck. I attempted to pump with my second thinking it would help because I have inverted nipples. Reading your story really helped to bring things into perspective. I'm not a bad mom, and I know that, and if my junk don't work the way it should, it's not my fault, at least I tried. PPD set in after the second baby, and the anxiety of not producing enough milk was driving me insane! We stopped trying after 3 months. We gave her what I could produce and supplemented the rest. We've already decided, that we're not going to try this time to breastfeed or pump. There's too much anxiety behind it to even think about it. Reading your story, helped me to realize that I'm not alone, and that no matter what anyone else says or thinks, that I'm doing the best that I can do. Both of my children slept on their bellies as well. Yes, it's taboo, but they were comfortable that way and refused to sleep on their backs. The way I looked at it, was that if God wanted them, he was going to take them no matter which way the slept. Thank you for sharing your struggles, we are all only human.

  49. butterfly11780 said...

    It helps to see there are mothers who did the same as you. I tried with my first, but it didn't work. I did feel like a failure because everyone I knew did it for a year+. I did try again, but that was just as disastrous and I ended up with 2 breast infections. There is more to being a parent than just the choice of breast milk and formula.

  50. Rachel said...

    good for you! Neither of my children have had formula but I don't judge Moms who go that route. Both of them had horrible gas and my first had colic. Both slept on their bellies (the first b/c it helped his colic and the 2nd b/c he spit up... A LOT and sleeping on his back, he started choking at a very young age, on his spit-up in his sleep. It was terrifying.).

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