I’ve shared quite a bit about my motherhood experience both here on my blog and over in my instagram feed. I try to be pretty honest without constantly over sharing. I try to be encouraging. I try to be real. It isn’t always easy. On some days (the ones that I don’t have to leave the house) the real me doesn’t get dressed until the afternoon. On some days the real me has a hard time. On some days the real me feels really good about myself. On some days I think I’m doing a pretty good job. But there was a time when I struggled as a mom, and occasionally I still do. One thing I struggled hard with my first time around was nursing. Nursing is probably the hardest thing that people make look easy. Nursing is the thing you’ll beat yourself up the most about as a mom. Nursing is the thing other people will judge you about the most: “you aren’t nursing!? don’t you know breast is best?” “Can’t you cover yourself up? We’re in public.” “How long are you going to let that baby do THAT? Just give a bottle already.” Do any of these things sound familiar?
When the opportunity came to partner with The Honest Company, I jumped at the chance. Not only because I love many of their products but also because I’m a fan of how Honest supports all moms. I appreciate that they take a “best for baby” approach and support all types of feeding choices and solutions.
I nursed both of my babies. I tried really hard to nurse the first one and didn’t have to try very hard to nurse the second one. But with both I learned something about my nursing self: I can only get them so far and then I need the assistance of formula. I don’t produce much. And no amount of pumping, teas, supplements, water, etc. can help me. Once my baby needs more than 4 oz a feeding, I’m pretty much tapped out. And they will need more than 4 oz per feeding sooner than you think. With Calvin, I had to start supplementing around 5 months old. He dropped off his weight curve suddenly and I realized that my old supply issue from the first time around still existed. That it was just the way I nurse. I was disappointed, of course, because nursing had been going so well the second time around. I had gotten all of these big ideas about nursing Calvin longer (my goal was 12 months – with Charlie I barely sustained any milk until 6 months).
When I had my first baby I had to supplement with formula much earlier. At around one month we realized my supply was low, but I didn’t know why. I saw a lactation consultant who told me to pump pump pump. She told me to try a drug (that wasn’t FDA approved and had some nasty side effects and didn’t help what I was already experiencing). She told me that every mom can breastfeed, you just have to work at it. So when I couldn’t, I pretty much felt like a failure.
Once Charlie was older and I was doing better I realized some things. I realized that not every mom can breastfeed. I realized that lactation consultants don’t know everything and some have an agenda that isn’t supportive of all mothers or babies. I realized that my formula-fed baby was strong, healthy, smart, and happy. And I realized that good moms feed their babies however they can. I was a good mother. I am a good mother.
Flash forward to when Calvin was five months old and stopped gaining weight. My pediatrician advised me to start offering a bottle of formula after every feeding to get his weight back up. After two weeks of supplementing he did gain weight and was back on track. He started napping well. He was much happier. But he also started preferring the bottle to the breast. So I decided to follow his lead and fed him bottles of formula after every nursing session, which eventually turned to only nursing in the morning and at bedtime, and offering formula bottles for his other meals. For a while I pumped when I could so some of those bottles had some breast milk too, but I didn’t get much when I pumped and I finally stopped. We still nurse first thing in the morning and the last thing at night, and I hope to keep doing that for a while. But I don’t feel guilty about giving formula this time. I don’t feel like a bad mom. I know it is the right thing, because he is fed and he is a chubby-happy-strong little love.
Another thing that is making formula feeding easier this time is feeling good about the formula I’m feeding him. Knowing that I can nourish him with both my breast milk and a formula that is organic, naturally derived, and made from safe, high-quality ingredients puts my mind at ease. I had to give Calvin another brand of formula for a month or so before The Honest Company released their feeding line and the difference is amazing to me. You can see it by reading the ingredients, but I can also tell a difference in Calvin’s digestion and in the look and consistency of prepared bottles. I’ll never go back to the old formula. The Honest formula is very comparable in price to the old formula as well, and if you sign up for the organic formula + DHA supplement bundle you save $20, making it even more affordable than many of the other formula options. Plus you get a better quality formula and a DHA supplement too. You can even sign up for a trial and get a full size tub of the organic formula for $12.95.
I am also a fan of Honest’s new silicone bottles. I love that they are made of silicone rather than plastic. While most plastic bottles are BPA free, there are always new revelations about other harmful chemicals found in plastic, so I prefer silicone to be safe when we’re talking about something I’m using to feed him multiple times a day. And the silicone gives the bottle a more breast-like feel and mimics the motion of breastfeeding, which helps keep feeding consistent if you are feeding with both breast and bottle. And if you are breastfeeding, they have a lactation boost supplement now as well.
Whether you are a mother who chooses to breastfeed, who chooses to formula feed, or whether you have no choice at all for whatever reason, just know that it’s the feeding of your baby that makes you a good mother, not how you feed. And before you judge another mother’s method of feeding, remember that we’re all doing what’s best for our babies the best way we can. Breast milk is the ideal nutrition for your baby, but you can feel confident giving formula from The Honest Company as a way to nourish your baby if and when chosen or necessary. Good moms feed their babies however they can. I am a good mom. You are a good mom.
Image credits: Top: Jennifer Roper Photography, property of Oh Lovely Day / Middle: Oh Lovely Day / Bottom: Oh Lovely Day
*This post is sponsored by The Honest Company, but the opinions are mine. Sponsored posts enable me to create more quality content for you and I never endorse or support a company or product I don’t truly believe in. Thanks for supporting Oh Lovely Day and it’s sponsors.