Breastfeeding, Donor Milk and Me

22-IMG_0244Since having twins last year, I have been committed to breastfeeding them.  I NEVER judge others for their choice, or their decision to formula feed.  It is, however, my personal choice, and I’m wicked stubborn.

Since June, I cannot tell you how many times I have been pushed to try formula.  I have been criticized for my choice and encouraged by many family, friends and providers to switch.  I have been called selfish, I have been criticized and I have left conversations doubting my ability to provide adequate calories.

Add that to clogged ducts, lip ties, tongue ties and overall terrible latches, and it’s been pretty shitty.  I love nursing and I love that the boys have had only breastmilk and nutritious foods, but the actual process has been hard.

And then I accepted my first bags of donor milk.

I had bronchitis and I was in the ER.  My cousin over-nighted it (yes, that’s a thing).  17 ounces.  It got me through a day of dehydration, fever, and overall feeling lousy.  She has twins too, so she didn’t hesitate.  She just called FedEx.

Then

A high school friend walked up to me at a community event and offered it. I wanted to say no, because I don’t need anyone’s help.  *lie*

But I said yes.  Tears flooded my eyes and I couldn’t make any more words.  This amazing human being delivered it to my house in 3-4 oz bags and helped me get through a huge growth spurt.  I don’t know how I would have survived that week without that milk.

Then

Dunkin Donuts and Lansinoh
Drinks all around!

My best friend had her baby.  She would drop off bags every once in a while, sometimes with a coffee….(I have amazing friends)  Her baby was 6 weeks old when this started.

Now, if I need a few ounces she comes over and pumps to put it in the fridge.  That is love.  That is support.

Then

A random person on Facebook reached out to me.  She had found me through Human Milk 4 Human Babies and she wanted to help.  I picked up a huge bag of pumped, creamy, fatty, amazing milk for the boys.  I cried as I accepted it.  I cried because this amazing gift nourishes my boys, and therefore nourishes me.

I know that not everyone can donate, and not everyone feels comfortable sharing milk, or accepting shared milk.  For me, it’s like holding my hand.  This is fucking hardMotherhood is hardNursing is hard.  So to you, women in my life who have given me this gift…

Thank you — Because I don’t think you really knew…

You didn’t know that I have often felt like I’m *not enough*; that there is not enough of me to go around.  Between two babies, my beautiful daughter and my amazing husband, I’m spread thin.

You didn’t know that I have been accused of being *not enough* by others, judged for not using formula, for not feeding cereal (it constipates them) or for not choosing the same route that others have chosen for their children.

You didn’t know that the day they were born, a nurse told me that I shouldn’t be upset if they need formula, and I wasn’t even off the surgical table.

You didn’t know that there are people who have broadly challenged my parenting choices, and brought me to question myself.

You didn’t know that I celebrate when my sons maintain their weight curve above the 5th percentile

You didn’t know that I have cried over this, A LOT.  I have sat with my crying babies, rocking them, nursing them, drinking quarts of water at a time, feeling like I’m failing.

You didn’t know that I sighed a huge relief when I opened my freezer and had those medela, lansinoh, nuk bags waiting for us.

You didn’t know; now you do.

Thank you

Scary Mommy

Dear Rosemary’s Mom

Dear New Mom,

Congratulations.  You are an amazing human being.  You have given the past 10 months of your body, your intention and your spirit to grow this little being.  And you just met her.
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You may have changed everything.  You stopped drinking coffee, you ate better, you stopped going out, you saved your pennies so you could have the birth you wanted, the crib you wanted, the perfect baby carrier.  You made changes, whether small or big, to give your baby the start she deserves.  You are the best.

We may have never met, but you are so loved.  You are now in a community of women (and men) who appreciate what it takes to get here.  Far from a finish line, this is the beginning of motherhood, the most fabulous journey.

The next few weeks/months can be hard.  Breastfeeding can be rough, the nights can be long.  The next few weeks can be messy, and you can feel a million combinations of emotions.  But the stress that you are enduring is all because you want to do it right.  You want to be the best.  You want the best for your baby.  Let me tell you, you’re already there.  Your intentions, your love, your touch…she feels it all and she’s soaking it in.

Reach out to me, to your friends, your cousins, your sisters, other parents.  Tell us when it’s hard, and when you need help.  This is not easy for everyone, and the ones who make it look easy are typically louder than the rest of us.  These next few weeks can challenge you.

super-951190_1920This is a beautiful time; it has a romantic chaos about it.  You will look back on it so fondly, yet it may seem so anxious.  Embrace your comfort person, perhaps your partner, who loves you so much and looks at you as the strongest, most impressive person in the world.

To every new mother, you are amazing.  Take it easy on your self.  Take a breath, hold your baby, enjoy your new family.  Take pride in the changes you have made to create this little beauty.

You are the strongest woman.

Dear Rosemary’s Mom, and every new mother, nice job.  Congratulations, now go rest.

XO

Love, Molly