baby, faith, Family, LDS, ldsmom, mother, motherhood

How to Feed a Baby

As I was preparing for the arrival of my SIXTH child, I wasn’t worried about how to take care of a baby.  I was practically a pro by now right?  Well, just when you think you have life under control, that’s when it’s time to learn a new lesson.

When Lillian was born, I knew right away her reflux was going to be bad- just like I did with Taylor ( see Feeling Alone and Little did I know).  Except this time it was even worse.  Because every time I would tip her down to nurse, she would just scream and cry.  I just couldn’t get her to latch on, she would just scream, choke, fuss.  She just had so much acid coming back up.  It made me wonder if she had a sphincter at all on the top of her stomach!  And any time I could get any amount of liquid down, she would just reflux it back up, and scream some more.  She was so hungry, she couldn’t sleep.  You know how newborns just sleep all the time.  Not her.  Thank heavens that our friend let me borrow her Moby Wrap!  It saved my life!  I’d just keep her in there- she needed to be upright after eating and this way I could still be a mom to my other kids.  And eventually she’d cry to sleep.  I wore this all day long.

I tried pumping and just feeding it to her in a bottle so she could be more upright.  I couldn’t lay her down at all in the beginning.  She would instantly start choking and refluxing.  Changing her diaper was a nightmare.  I would have to wait at least 30 minutes after a feeding so that her whole bottle wouldn’t come up when I would lie her down.  Feeding her took 2 1/2 hours.  I would try to nurse first, then pump, then feed her a bottle, and pray that she kept enough down to sleep for 30 minutes, then do it all over again.  And mind you, I still have a houseful of 5 kids to take care of, run places, etc.

After a nice visit with a lactation specialist one day, it was nice to know that I did have milk, that wasn’t the problem.  She was in so much discomfort, and I couldn’t ever pump unless someone was here to hold her because she would just reflux, choke and scream.  Well, most of the day I was alone, so I would have to stop pumping several times in a session, just to clean her up if I put her in a bouncer.  Not the most pleasant nursing environment when you want to get you milk to let down.  The lactation specialist told me I needed to be able to relax- and she also said with me suspecting my husband would lose his job soon(which he did when Lillian was 6 weeks old), I REALLY needed to find a way to de-stress.  Well, we were both exhausted.  No one wanted to hold her for very long because she would spit up so much all over, and she was just so fussy.  She wasn’t gaining weight either.  I was a basket case.

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I remember praying and asking why couldn’t this be easier?  I waited so long for this baby, and she has such severe reflux that it’s just exhausting.  It took every second of my time to take care of her and my other kids.  I was hardly eating, drinking, or sleeping.  A choice needed to be made.

I chose to stop nursing.  I know the nutritional and health benefits of nursing.  I studied dietetics in college.  But I was CHOOSING sanity.  I was CHOOSING happiness for us both.  Was this hard?  Yes!  Ask my neighbor who is a doctor how many times I called him late at night in those first three and a half weeks totally in tears.  You know what he said?  She just needs food.  Whether it comes from you or a bottle, she just needs food.  She’ll be alright.  And he jokingly said she’d forgive me in the end if I chose a bottle.

I don’t love my sixth child any less than I love my other five that I nursed.  My bond with her is just as strong, if not stronger because of what we’ve been through together.  I’m glad that I stopped nursing in this case.  My sanity was worth it.  But finding the right formula was a challenge.  She was so dehydrated that when we went to formula for everything, she was then constipated.  But after a few weeks, we finally found the right one.  {see below}

Sometimes life is just hard.  But it’s still good too.

When Lillian reached her 100 day mark, she FINALLY stopped crying all day and night!  I think they know something in Chinese Culture!

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I have loved this miracle baby in our family.  I would take this small challenge any day because this little lady completes our family.  She makes us all smile.  She gives us a reason to find joy in the small, simple things of life.

So, the reason for writing this post is NOT to convince anyone that one way to feed a baby is better than the other.  Babies need food.  You work with God to see what’s best for you and your baby.  Don’t look to anyone else.  And please, please don’t teach your children that women who choose to feed their babies formula are somehow a bad mom.  Because you never know what future challenge your children will have.  And we don’t want our kids to feel like they are a “bad mom” if they choose formula or are for some reason unable to nurse.  I love nursing.  I would always choose first to nurse.  But sometimes choices are complicated.

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INSTEAD, lets focus on celebrating the fact that that women want to be a mom.  Let’s focus on the miracle that mom is holding in her arms.  Let’s spend our energy seeking the Good- “Look at that healthy baby!  That mom must love her baby!  Look how she loves her baby.”  How we feed our baby should not be the issue.  We all love our babies.  There is a small percentage of people, who maybe don’t love their babies-but I would venture to say that mental illness or addiction is what is driving that.

I hope that some of you might be able to relate to my story.  I know that we all have challenges, this was one that was hard for me.  I really wanted to nurse one more time.  I loved nursing my babies.  It was never super easy for me to nurse my reflux babies.  They were always fussy.  Then I had my fifth child and he didn’t reflux.  And I said- Wow!  This is what a happy baby is like!  I was flabbergasted!  I was praying for that to happen again.  But that wasn’t to be.

And so now, as I snuggle my nine month old baby, I just think, man I am so lucky to be her mom.  Look at those awesome fat rolls!  And that is all we need to worry about.  Just loving our kids and being grateful when we are lucky to have a healthy baby.

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Life is Good.  Share the Good.

PS This is my favorite formula Enfamil Reguline  Seriously it is awesome!

PSS  My baby just out-grew her reflux.  Look no bib!  I’m feeling super happy!  And so is she-since she also started sleeping through the night at the same time the reflux stopped!  Now if I could just get my teenagers to go to sleep as early as the baby!

PSS And if you need a great lactation specialist in the Salt Lake Area, check out my post about my friend Christy How Mother’s Day Changed

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