Let’s be upfront, I’m not here to promise you how to up your supply. To write a grocery list of all the things you should be eating that will double or triple your supply overnight. I’ve read enough of those articles and eaten the cookies, the muffins, made smoothies with flax and oatmeal and you know what? Sometimes it works and sometimes it just doesn’t.
There are certain truths that need to be shared. The invisible pressure that exists in our world today around how we should be feeding our children needs to dismissed. I’ve felt it pressing down on me in a state of desperation and I’ve felt it lifted by someone wiser.
There is a reality that biologically some women and babies just aren’t able to follow the breast is best philosophy – or for that matter, don’t want to for all kinds of reasons. No matter, that doesn’t make those women bad moms that just ‘aren’t trying hard enough’ or ‘are giving up’ or ‘not realizing the benefits and beauty of breastfeeding.’
I am fortunate enough to have two littles that gave me relatively uncomplicated pregnancies and a somewhat easy time when it came to nursing. That said, there were nights with J, I’d be up feeding him tears streaming from the pain, exhaustion and pressure of knowing that even after 9 months on the inside, his life was still dependent on my body. With baby T, I don’t know if I was just over prepared for the trauma or if he just got it, but things have been going much smoother.
Both boys were/are combo babies. All the smoothies, muffins and fenugreek in the world would not biologically allow me to exclusively nurse. They ached for more food, and instead of trying to just make it happen and risk them going hungry, I reached out to that life raft called Enfamil and it kept their tummies full. No confusion, no guilt.
The breast is best philosophy is crushing. If you are struggling it can diminish your spirit in your most fragile times. Fed is best, for moms and littles and that should be all that matters. Lets realign our expectations for the world we live in today. As mothers we are fierce. We have a responsibility to ensure our children are fed and cared for and we should not be judged for how we make that happen.
The mothers in my life are usually the first to stand up and prove that motherhood has not diminished their ability to rise. We all belong to the same squad and we need to support one another. Do me (and all of us) a favor and the next time you ask a new mom in your life how its been going, lift them up. If they sheepishly say, ‘we had to start on formula’ don’t sigh and give them reasons to try again. Give them a squeeze and reassure them that they are making the right choices for their baby.