It’s as I’m laying here at midnight, with my boob flopped out on the bed, listening to my husband softly snore on one side of me & my baby breathing heavier on the other as he slowly drifts off, that I feel compelled to start this week’s post. Because even though we’re on vacation, I know I’ll still be up at 5-6am when Kai is ready to be up, & my sound asleep husband will have gotten at least an extra hour of sleep than me. Breastfeeding. One of the most rewarding yet literally life sucking acts, that a mom can experience.
Now I want to start off by saying that I feel incredibly blessed that I’ve been able to breastfed my baby. Kai’s latch wasn’t perfect for quite awhile & it wasn’t until we discovered he had a lip & tongue tie & started working with a Speech Pathologist that we saw some improvement. Shoutout to Beyond Boundaries Therapy Services – if it weren’t for my incredible coworkers, I likely never would have sought out help & known the things going on. We had his tongue & lip released & again, thanks to my incredible coworkers, exercises both in & outside of the mouth, helped our recovery period. But again, I still feel INCREDIBLY blessed, because in the end I was able to figure it out… I mean, I’m nursing on the bathroom floor before bathtime as we speak. But do not get me wrong. I know that this isn’t an option for all moms, whether it be due to low supply, medical reasons or other barriers. I absolutely love the bond that it has given me with my baby boy. But it truly is like having a part-time job & in certain moments like this one, I absolutely hate it. If you haven’t read previous posts, please refer back to my first post about the “postpartum body” & how you can love & hate something at the same time.
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Why not hit it hard & start out as real as it gets – The postpartum body. I feel like it’s something that sure is talked about, but not talked about in a real enough light. When does our body become our body again? I chose the route of breastfeeding, for the obvious reasons -…
Now secondly, I want to express how much I truly do love my husband & all of the things he does for our family. He is an absolutely incredible father & we honestly couldn’t get through our days without him. But. He doesn’t get it. See as we’re on vacation, Kai is sleeping in our room in a pack n play. Nevermind the fact that he dealt with his first little virus this week on vacation so he’s been extra needy & therefore loved on, but this all has created some bad bad habits. When Kai cries at home, he’s in his room; I can ignore him (to a degree) as he self soothes back to sleep. On vacation we’re not only sharing a room but we have family in the room next door & we have other families above our cabin, alllllll given the same blessing of listening to him cry. Little humans are not given nearly the credit they should be given. Kai has learned we’re in the same room & that if he cries long & hard enough, mom will in fact pick him up, nurse him, & likely let him sleep in bed the rest of the night.
Now again, he was sick … poor pumpkin woke up with a 103° fever & you could tell he felt miserable … of course we snuggled the shit out of him & you’re damn right I just left my boob out for him to suck on all night if he so chose.
But we’ve past the sickness, & yet when he wakes & cries, the only thing that is going to get him to stop (in less than an hour+ anyways) is by nursing him. My husband says, “are you really going to feed him? You know you’re just making worse habits” … okay, hold the phone, let me just stop right there. Who wants to listen to a baby, cry in the same room as you, for god knows how long, while you’re trying to fall asleep? Last time I checked, no sane fucking person does. So tell me, if you were the ONLY person who held the ONE TOOL that would STOP that piercing scream all together, wouldn’t you use it? It’s like when the Paw Patrol needs to save the kitten from the tree & Skye is the only one who can fly up & get her down … or when Mickey Mouse needs something to row his boat out to catch fish & Toodles is the only one who has oars for him to use … I’m the ONLY one in this room that has things connected to them that will make this baby guaranteed to go to sleep … so why wouldn’t I use them?
The pressures that society puts on woman to breastfeed is absolutely insane. One of my top five fears as I neared the end of my pregnancy was if I would be able to breastfeed my baby. The two most recent pregnant women I’ve known/been close to, have/had expressed concerns of not being able to breastfeed. Add in the fact that there’s a serious formula shortage in the States currently only increases that already very real fear that many woman have. In a roundabout way, society says if you don’t breastfeed your baby, you’re a failure as a mom… society says if you supplement with formula, you’re a failure as a mom… society says even if you do breastfeed your baby but for less than the “recommended time”, you’re a failure as a mom. So basically, by societies standards, we are failures as moms no matter what we do. Damned if we do, damned if we don’t. & just to add to things & make them even more complexly fucked up, there’s a group of peeps (okay, pediatricians who do research) that come along & think they can just set all guidelines for mothers… ever wonder how many of these people are women/mothers? Anyways! The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends all mothers exclusively breastfeed for baby’s first 6 months of life. Doing so provides so many benefits for both baby & mother. Facts. Not something new. But the previous “recommended goal” set by the AAP was breastfeeding for baby’s first year – this led to the most “ideal” nutritional state your baby could be in. In June 2022, the AAP upped their ante & said why not fork over your entire body to this child for TWO years. Um excuse me, but what?!
The Stats – Breastfeeding/Pumping
- Before I returned from maternity leave, I was nursing Kai 10x/day, averaging approximately 96mins/day or 672mins a week. That was 11hrs a week spent with a tiny human connected to my body, unable to really move or function as a normal adult.
- Now that I’m back to work, during the week, I am nursing Kai typically 3 or 4 times a day (approx. 10min at a time, so 30-40mins a day or 150-200mins a week) & he’s getting 3-4 bottles at daycare. Add in the 2 weekend days where I breastfeed all day, 6-8x/day, so 160-180mins/weekend, that totals somewhere between 310-380mins of nursing a week.
- But to get those bottles, requires me to pump while I’m away from Kai or when he’s sleeping. On a typical day I will pump 3-4x/day to get enough milk for the next day. I thankfully have a work place that makes it easy & accessible to pump at any time of the day that I need, but there’s always a fear deep down that I won’t produce the amount of milk that my baby will need while I’m away from him the next day. That stress really eats at a person & in turn, seems to alter the amount of milk I produce (though some will say that is a myth.) Ultimately, I spend approx. 50-70mins/day pumping, or 250-350mins a week.
- Now math isn’t my strength AT ALL so bear with me & my calculator here but that’s a ballpark of 560-730mins/week (9-12hrs/week) & then add in the approx. 10 weeks I spent on maternity leave exclusively breastfeeding & you’re at somewhere in the 488-614hrs range, spent in a year feeding your tiny human.
- Now these numbers alone blow my mind but I’m not even the “average mom” – the “average breastfeeding mom” will spend 1,800hrs in a year, nursing/pumping to keep their little thriving. The average work year, with some vacation time taken out, is in the 1,900-2,000hr range. For the “average mom” that’s a second fricken FULL-TIME JOB!!
Formula – LET’S GO THERE!
This is no easy fricken task either! There’s heating the water, testing to water to make sure it’s not too hot, measuring the formula, assembling the bottle, pouring the water & formula in, & then mixing them together. I’m sure an experienced mom can do this in 2mins flat, but as a new sleep deprived mom, you’re just in survival mood with everything. I spoke with a couple Moms who bottle fed & from their answers, pulled some stats.
- The average formula bottle assembly time is 5mins
- The average bottle can take anywhere from 10 to 40 minutes, regardless if it’s breast or formula milk
- So looking at a timeframe when baby is home with mom before she returns from maternity leave: a 1 month old baby drinking formula is likely to drink every 2-3hrs. That means you’re making & feeding probably 4 bottles a day, totaling anywhere from 60-180mins. In a week, that’s ballpark 7-21hrs spent just nourishing your child.
Wow! I actually think a round of applause is well overdue for moms who bottle feed!
So at the end of the day, let’s just drop the “formula-fed baby” or “supplemented-fed baby” or the “breast-fed baby” bull shit … let’s just say your baby was fed! Because I really don’t care how you choose to feed your babe & either do they! I’m sorry but it’s true! If you’re able to breastfeed & want to, good for you! If you’re able to but you don’t want to commit to the life sucking time it takes, so you supplement with formula or fully formula feed, also GOOD FOR YOU! Because at the end of the day, it’s growing your sweet hunnie & what more could you really ask for? Hear me out Moms… However you choose to feed your child, you’re still their Mama & you’re still a god damn fuckin rockstar for balancing everything that you do on a daily basis… okay? Do NOT let society tell you any differently!
As many of my posts will end up being, this has definitely been a full on rant, but I hope it was somewhat eye opening or entertaining at the least. I only encourage you now to share this post with someone who could use it – someone who’s pregnant & worrying about breastfeeding, someone who just had their baby & is in the early days of the breastfeeding struggle bus, or someone who has grown children & maybe just needs a reminder that you’re incredible! At the end of the day, YOU played the biggest role in getting that tiny human to where they are today … WAY TO FRICKEN GO MAMA!!
Until next rant!