Yes, I'm a Lactation Counselor, but I support the feeding journey and choices of all mothers, whether they're feeding from the breast or not.
A few years ago there was a big campaign that simply stated "Breast is best." The long and short of that is that it's true: breastmilk is typically what's best for a newborn baby and on into the first several months of life. The benefits of choosing to breastfeed or to pump breastmilk carry over for the mother as well as her child and its a win-win situation for everyone. A no brainer, right?
Well, not always.
For some women, breastfeeding comes with a lot of baggage whether its due to Baby not getting an efficient latch from the start which leads to nipple damage, plugged ducts or worse or if a women's milk supply doesn't come in enough to meet the demands of her growing baby. There's women who have flat or inverted nipples who might have difficulty with nursing or there are women who have been sexually assaulted in their past who have serious issue with their breasts being touched in any way. The list goes on an on for why breastfeeding simply doesn't work for some women or why they choose not to ever breastfeed in the first place. Its not my job to come in and pass judgement on a woman because of how she chooses to feed her child. It is my job however, to support her, educate her and get her connected with local resources that help her meet the needs of her baby, her family and herself in whatever way makes sense for her.
So ya know what I've started saying (and its not a saying that I originated)? Fed. Fed is what's best! Feed your baby a bottle of store brand formula every feeding of their infant life? Fine. Feed your baby a mixture of formula and exclusively pumped breastmilk? Okay. Feed your baby directly from your breast until they self-wean at the age of four. Sure. It doesn't matter to me, mamas. You feed your babe in the way that feels best for you and if you need support, I'll do my best to come alongside you and cheer you on.
Oh! And the "fed is best" idea isn't just for how babies get their nourishment. The mamas need to be fed too! Its so important to get caught up in the day to day demands of life with a newborn amidst other daily tasks, that mothers often forget to feed themselves. Some women unintentionally make a habit of jumping right into their day without taking time to eat and before they know it, its 2:00 in the afternoon, they're hangry and they gorge themselves on whatever quick, usually not-so-healthy foods they can get their hands on. Mamas, you can do better! Take the mornings a little slower and make yourself a simple, but nutritious and energy-boosting breakfast. Set aside a little time the night before to prepare healthy snacks for the next day so you don't get to the point where you're hangry and you know you've got some tasty, easy options on hand. What you put inside your body as far as food and drinks are concerned is just as important as what you're feeding your little one. So be good to yourself too, it really does matter.
Stay tuned for future blog posts with healthy snack ideas, recipes and more ways a Postpartum and Infant Care Doula would help make SURE you're fed!