Monday, March 20, 2017

My Honest Feeding Story

Once a beautiful new baby is placed in your arms, life as a mom has arrived! Whether this new little bundle of joy is your 1st child or your 5th; the journey of loving a new little human, taking hundreds of baby photos, non-stop feedings, countless diapers, and sleepless nights has arrived!

Along with all of the love and excitement comes a new season of fears and doubts.

Am I doing this right?
Do I breastfeed or bottle feed?
Why is he crying?
I'm so tired, can I do this?

As a mom of 4 children who all survived the newborn months, let me just assure you...

You can do this!
You'll get sleep again one day!
You're not a failure!

The topic of how and what to feed your precious baby can be such a controversial one. Mothers can be found deep in debates about whether breast or formula is best and many aren't afraid to boldly share their opinion and choice.

When The Honest Company asked me to share my feeding story, I didn't quite know what I would say. With my first 3 children, I nursed for the first several months and then supplemented the final couple of months before they turned a year old with formula. Feeding each of my babies felt very typical and normal, and they grew as the doctor's growth charts said they should.

When our 4th kiddo burst into this world, nothing was typical or normal. Zachary's birth was the  start of a completely new journey. Our sweet Zachary is now a busy special needs 5 year old with quite a long list of doctors appointments to stay on track with his medically complex syndrome, Lowe Syndrome.

During the early newborn months, we had no idea about the complexity of Zachary's needs but we did know things weren't quite right. Zachary had 2 separate eye surgeries during his 2nd month of life. He was extremely small and struggled to grow.

I distinctly remember trying to nurse Zachary in the dark and quite hospital room following one of his eye surgeries. I was tired, lonely, and frustrated that Zachary seemed to not be able to eat as much as I would like and that he seemed to just not be growing. His body was so frail and small. The decision was made a week or so later that for whatever reason my breast milk was not enough and we started him on formula. I'd never had one of my babies started on formula so early on and I felt like a failure. Looking back, I wish I could tell my younger self that it was not at all my fault. Symptoms of Zachary's syndrome is just that - weight gain is and will always be a constant struggle.

When Zachary was 4 years old I felt those failure feelings surface all over again as I sat in the surgery waiting room while my son had a G-tube placed. From breast milk not being enough, to formula loaded with added calories not enough, to table food also not being enough to make my child grow, new extreme measures had to be taken. I felt like I hadn't tried hard enough.

Now 5 years old, Zachary's lifeline to nutrition and weight gain is formula fed through a G-tube going straight into his stomach. Sometimes breast isn't best, formula isn't best, and sometimes crazy surgical forms of feeding are best. And it's okay!

Remember those fears we feel with our newborns and the assurances I shared? Guess what! They still hold true!

Whether you breast feed your little one, mix and shake bottles of formula multiple times a day, or find yourself using tubes, syringes, and a pump to feed your little one. It's ALL okay!

You're not messing your little one up!
You're not a failure!
You can do this!

It's not about our preferences or personal opinions all the time.
Obviously more important is the health and safety of our precious little ones, who we wouldn't trade for anything in the world.

Be sure to visit The Honest Company for safe, eco-friendly, and affordable feeding options for your baby.

Follow our family's journey with Zachary on YouTube HERE.



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