It’s hard to believe it’s only been two weeks since Emerson arrived into this world. I don’t even know how I functioned in life prior to her, which is kind of funny to say since obviously I did. Saying she has been a blessing to us is an understatement, truly.
Although with any new venture, such as this, it hasn’t all been easy as much as I’d like to tell you otherwise. It’s been quite the roller coaster each day learning her while she learns us. Adjusting to life with a baby is, for lack of a better word, just hard. And that’s the honest truth.
The first week, for me, was by far the most difficult. More specifically, breastfeeding was both emotionally and physically challenging. Deciding to breastfeed was a choice I made based solely upon being able to provide the most for my baby. It was a way to not only physically provide but also to bond. I went into it thinking, no knowing, I would be able to do this and it would be “piece of cake”.
I was so, so wrong.
Just days after Emerson was born I found myself dreading the two hour mark when it would be time for her to eat again. Even with the help of several lactation specialists I would exhaustedly hold her to my chest and she would immediately fight against me knowing how difficult latching would be. Right from the start it was a struggle and as the days progressed so did her willingness to try. It got to a point when I would just hold her against me listening to her cries of frustration blend with my own. We would sit there for what felt like an eternity both emotionally drained. I felt in those moments as though I was unable to provide for my daughter. How could this be possible? How could I not breastfeed? Does this make me a failure? Am I bad mother?
Those thoughts engulfed me.
So I began to research possible solutions and other options. At that point I started to realize that I wasn’t alone in this feeling of defeat. More importantly, that I wasn’t a bad mom for not being able to breastfeed. What mattered most in all of this was that Emerson was happy and well cared for. How could I properly provide for my newborn if I too wasn’t happy or in the right mindset? Being able to be a good mom meant doing what was best for both her and I and setting aside my thoughts of how I wanted it to be.
Luckily for the both of us I am able to produce enough to continue to feed her even without nursing. So as a best possible solution this meant I would pump exclusively and bottle feed. Though this method does create more work than choosing one or the other (I suggest doing your research prior) I’m satisfied knowing that she and I can still reap most of the benefits of breastfeeding. The bonus to this method is that it also allows for more father-daughter bonding time as he can now be a part of the feedings, too. It also gives mommy a little time for some R&R (which is greatly appreciated!).
As any first time parent knows, it’s not always easy but it’s a challenge you’d never trade for anything. I am learning day by day to not be so hard on myself (even with the crazy hormones) if I can’t quite be super-mom on a daily basis. Everyday is a learning experience and with it comes a whole new set of unknowns. But as I’m coming to understand that that’s the simple beauty of being a parent, you’re always reminded that even when you feel less than able there’s someone out there who loves you no matter what.
And always will.
Banana Almond Lactation Smoothie
Serves: 1/ Time: 5 minutes
- 1 1/2 large bananas, frozen
- 1/2 c almond milk
- 1/4 c gluten-free oats
- 1 scoop plant-based vanilla protein
- 2 tbsp brewer’s yeast
- 1 tbsp almond butter
- 1 tbsp ground flaxseed
- Combine all ingredients in a high speed blender and pulse until smooth. Serve immediately. Top with your favorite extras if desired. (Pictured are my No Bake Brownie Bites.)