Why I Still Feel Breastfeeding Guilt

Life is full of things we don’t expect; things we weren’t prepared for; things that are the opposite way than what we planned. I wasn’t expecting a 26 hour labour, I wasn’t expecting my OB to have to use forceps, and I definitely wasn’t expecting an episiotomy, but those are the cards I was dealt. I was able to accept those curve balls, so why after 8 months do I still feel guilty about not being able to breastfeed?

I remember when I was pregnant, I received coupons and samples for formula in the mail and I stashed them away in a drawer because I didn’t need them, I was planning on breastfeeding exclusively.And I tried. And tried. And when I was about to give up, I kept trying. Through tears and frustration and confusion, I was so determined.

Because of Lincoln’s low weight gain during the first few weeks, I had to supplement. For 3 months I was breastfeeding, pumping, and supplementing. Then he started to refuse breastfeeding in the afternoon and evenings, and what I was pumping was not enough. And I tried everything. I saw lactation consultants, I tried fenugreek, mother’s milk tea, and lactation cookies, I tried “power pumping”, I even got a different pump hoping that would make a difference. Finally, after 5 months of trying to make breastfeeding work, I decided, with a heavy heart, to feed him formula during the day and breastfeed during any night feedings. By 6 months, the night feeds had stopped and he was exclusively on formula and starting solid foods.

Yes, he’s where he should be on the weight chart. And yes, he’s thriving and hitting all his milestones. And yes, there is a tiny sense of liberation that I can wear what I want without thinking if it’s breastfeeding-friendly, or that I can drink coffee or wine without worrying about passing it onto Lincoln through my milk. But I still feel so sad and defeated that I wasn’t able to do the one thing that I thought would be the most natural and easiest part of motherhood.

And telling me “you tried as long as you could” or “some women don’t produce milk at all, at least you were able to give him some breastmilk” or “there’s nothing wrong with formula” does not help. It’s even worse when it comes from someone without children, or someone who’s never struggled with breastfeeding. I know these things. I still feel like shit, I still feel guilty, and I still wish I was able to breastfeed exclusively.

You know why? Because everywhere you look, it’s all about breastfeeding. #NormalizeBreastfeeding. #BreastIsBest. #BreastfeedWithoutFear. There’s lactation consultants, there’s breastfeeding support groups. There’s a million and one awesome breastfeeding accessories. I see mamas breastfeeding everywhere, and all the power to you! It’s just that every time I see a mother breastfeeding, I feel a sense of sadness and failure and I think “why not me?”

I’m not bashing breastfeeding mamas by any means. Please do not mistaken my personal guilt for resentment.

But I do think breastfeeding mothers, and people in general, could be a little more sensitive and respectful to mothers who formula-feed their babies.

Don’t ask a mom “is that breastmilk or formula in the bottle?” As long as it’s not kahlua, you shouldn’t be concerned. Don’t ask a mom “are you nursing?” In my opinion, that question is just as inappropriate as “did you get your period yet?”

I feel the sting of guilt when I’m asked these questions. It’s bad enough feeling like shit in the nursing room at the mall getting looks from breastfeeding moms while I warm up my bottle of formula.

Some mothers I know who formula-feed their babies don’t give a shit what others think. It’s inspiring, actually. Unfortunately, that’s not me. I hope I can one day get over this feeling of guilt and reach their level of zero shits given. 

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Hiatus.

Unfortunately, or fortunately, I will be stepping back from my blog for the moment. I know it seems ridiculous to take a hiatus before anything has really even begun but after some thinking, I decided this is for the best at this moment if my life. 

To be honest, I didn’t receive the support I was anticipating, which has left me feeling disappointed and discouraged. It’s upsetting to pour my heart out and put in so much effort to build something without any response.

I’m also going through some things and I have some personal issues I am trying to work through.

But most importantly, and always most importantly, I want to spend as much time with Lincoln as I possibly can. Time is flying by and I don’t want to miss a single thing. So if that means not blogging so that I can hold him a little longer, or read him another story, or sing him “On Top of Spaghetti” for the 20th time today, then so be it. I might try blogging at another point in my life, but now is not the time.
Thank you to those few people who did show me some support & love, and a big thank you to my brother Michael for setting it up for me. I’m sorry it didn’t work out as I wanted it to and I hope I didn’t waste too much of your time.

My Top Pregnancy Essentials

I can’t believe Lincoln turned 5 months old this week! It made me think back to when I was pregnant with him and I wanted to do a post about things that helped me get through the seemingly never-ending 9 months of pregnancy. So here’s a list of my top pregnancy essentials.

 


 

Pregnancy Apps

Even though we had been trying to get pregnant, I hadn’t really thought about what the next step was once we actually saw those 2 pink lines. Do I call my doctor? Do I research OB’s? Am I supposed to see a doctor right away or do I wait a little bit? So the first thing I did after showing Pedro the positive pregnancy test (and, of course, doing a little happy dance together) was I signed up to “What To Expect” and “BabyCenter” and downloaded a few pregnancy apps. The apps I used were Ovia and Sprout. Ovia is the typical “your baby is the size of a…” app and Sprout showed the actual development of the baby which was really cool.


Saltine Crackers

I was sick pretty much the entire first 3 months of my pregnancy. It started around 6 weeks and lasted about 3 weeks into my second trimester. I only threw up a few times, but I always had a constant nauseous feeling. The only thing I could eat that didn’t make my nausea worse were saltine crackers (real original, I know). I would keep these crackers in all accessible places! I had them beside my bed, in my purse, in my desk at work, in the car…I could’ve been the poster girl for saltine crackers!


Leggings

If you know me personally then you know leggings have always been a big staple in my wardrobe, I’ve worn them for years. I’m not one of those “leggings are pants” activists, but I’m more like “if your shirt is long enough, leggings can be pants”. So when I got pregnant with Lincoln, and my jeans and pants were getting snug (which seemed to have happened quite quickly) I pretty much lived in leggings, especially during the spring. I remember going to a maternity store and buying a pair of maternity jeans for like 60 bucks and thinking uh I’m not spending hundreds of dollars on pairs of jeans that I’ll only wear for a few more months. I bought a few pairs of leggings in a bigger size from Garage, Old Navy, and Ardene. Super cheap and super comfy.


Bra Extenders

I remember hearing people say how big their boobs got when they were pregnant, but I didn’t really notice my boobs getting bigger (after my milk came in is a whole other story) but I did notice my bras were getting uncomfortably tight. I bought 3 bra extenders (black, white and beige) and attached them to the bras I already had so I didn’t have to keep buying new bras.


Maxi Dresses

I consider myself lucky that I was pregnant during the summer months for this reason and this reason alone. I swear to you, during the summer, if I wasn’t in pajamas, I was in a maxi dress. They’re so simple and comfortable but they were somewhat dressy-ish enough for work. They deceived people into thinking I spent much more time getting ready than I actually did.


Pregnancy Pillow

I loved my Pregnancy Pillow. Seriously. Loved. It. I remember reading one of these “pregnancy essentials list” and thinking pfffft what a money grab…but I saw one on sale while I was at Babies R Us when I was around 5 months pregnant and thought oh what the hell…I tried it out when I got home and I was like why didn’t I have one of these my whole life?! That being said, I lent it to my sister-in-law on my side and then my sister-in-law on my husband’s side and both Mamas said they didn’t like it. It’s not for everyone, but it was definitely for me. I found it helped with any hip pain I was experiencing and I actually had better sleep after using it.


Maternity Support Belt

I bought one of these after getting round ligament pain (around 4 months pregnant) but it didn’t really help until I was about 7 months pregnant. I used to walk to and from the bus stop to get to work each morning, so this belt helped alleviate the weight and pressure from my belly. The only problem I found was I couldn’t sit with it on, and since I was sitting at a desk at work, I only used it when I was going to work or any other time I knew I’d be walking a lot.


Men’s Boxers

Before I got pregnant, I used to think I would be one of those petite pregnant women that were solely only belly and I’d continue wearing my clothes but have my cute little bare belly showing, or I’d buy a couple cute maternity tank tops. Let me tell you that by 7 and a half months, nothing I owned fit me. I’m not exaggerating. Nothing fit me (hence the maxi dresses). All of my pajamas were way too small, I couldn’t even get them on. So I went to Walmart and bought a package of 4 pairs of size large men’s boxers and wore them to lounge/sleep in for the last months of my pregnancy.


Tums & Zantac

So you know how there’s always one thing you will NEVER forget about your pregnancy? Mine is the killer heartburn. Holy. Shit. It started about halfway through my second trimester and at that time it was only if I ate or drank specific things. Then at the beginning of my third trimester it was every couple of days. Towards the middle to end of my third trimester it was everyday. The last 2 weeks of my pregnancy it was constant. I literally had to sleep sitting up and it seemed that even drinking water gave me heart burn. I would alternate between taking a Zantac and popping a couple Tums. There were a handful of times it didn’t work (the last 2 weeks nothing worked, I just had to sleep sitting up and try not to cry) but for the most part, this Zantac-Tums combo saved my sanity.


Netflix

I love my Netflix. I feel it would be on any of my lists of essentials, but during my pregnancy it saved me from total boredom (especially towards the end). I remember not wanting to do anything when I was pregnant, especially from the time I got round ligament pain onwards, so my life seemed to be sleep, work, eat, Netflix, repeat. Then I ended up taking my maternity leave about a month before my due date so I had all this extra time. I think I got through 4 multiple-season series and a shitload of movies in that month. It was also a staple during the first few weeks of nightly breastfeeding after Lincoln was born but that’s a whole other list altogether.

 

So that’s my Top Pregnancy Essentials list. What were some of your pregnancy essentials? Comment below!

Mommy & Baby Tag

Hi guys! Thanks for coming back to check out my latest post. Like I said before, this post will be a “mommy & baby tag” to get to know us better. I didn’t get around to taking a recent photo of Lincoln and I, so here’s a photo of him from around Valentine’s Day:


Photo Credit: Pictonat Photography

So I’m just going to jump right in with the questions & answers. There’s a couple of links but I am in no way affiliated with any of them, I just put them there so you guys can get visuals, etc.

Lisa & Lincoln Questions & Answers

1. How many kids do you have and what age?

I have one son named Lincoln and he’s 4 and a half months old.

2. Your baby’s weight and length at birth?

Lincoln weighed 7lbs 3oz and was 20 inches long.

3. How long was your baby in newborn clothes?

Lincoln lost some weight the first few days and then took a while to gain weight so he was in newborn clothes for longer than I expected, probably about a month or so.

4. What size diaper and what brand is your baby currently in?

Size 2, and we prefer Huggies.

5. Have you always wanted kids?

Growing up, I always wanted to be a mom one day, then I went through a phase where I didn’t want any, and then I got over that and went back to wanting to be a mom again.

6. How many more kids do you want?

We haven’t decided yet. Before Link was born, I used to want 3 kids, but after the pregnancy and delivery that I experienced, I would be okay if Lincoln was an only child haha but we’d like to cherish every moment with Lincoln for the time being, and we may add to our family in a few years.

7. Your/your partner’s/your baby’s hair and eye colour?

Mommy: green/blue eyes, light brown hair

Daddy: dark brown eyes, dark brown hair

Link: hazel eyes, light brown hair

8. Do you co-sleep?

We had Lincoln sleeping in a bassinet beside our bed for the first 3 months and then we moved him into his crib in his own room.

9. What is one must-have baby item?

For the first 4 months, we LOVED swaddles! I would put Link in a swaddle and he would fall asleep instantly. Now that he’s learning how to roll over, I’m not able to swaddle him anymore (in case he rolls over onto his face and is unable to push himself back up due to his arms being restricted). So I’d say our current must-have item is the Infantino Squeeze and Teeth Cow that Lincoln’s Titi Sue got him for Valentine’s Day.

10. What item did you buy before baby was born that you don’t use?

So I bought a bumbo seat and have tried putting Link in it a few times and so far he hates it every single time.

11. Diaper bag essentials?

Diapers & wipes (obviously) and I always pack an extra sleeper, an extra onesie, and an extra shirt for me (hello spit up). I also pack little bags to put dirty diapers in, just in case I’m in a place with no garbage can, or at someone’s house (so I’m not putting a diaper directly in their kitchen garbage and smelling up the place haha).

12. Would you recommend buying a play mat?

I’ve heard other people who bought play mats and then never used them, but for us, we have 2. We got this one from Uncle Mike which Lincoln loves especially because of the piano, and I also got this one recently (second hand) that we haven’t used yet. 

13. Would you recommend buying a bouncy seat?

This is something else I received second hand, and I use it from time to time when I’m folding laundry, etc.

14. Would you recommend buying a bassinet or pack & play?

We borrowed a bassinet from my brother & sister-in-law and bought a pack & play (similar to this) off Kijiji recently. In my opinion, I would say a bassinet is useful for the first few months and the pack & play is useful for after that. We have our pack & play set up in the basement where we have our TV, so we’ll put Lincoln in there to sleep when we’re watching a movie, and the attached change pad is handy too.

15. Did your child use a soother and what brand?

I remember reading not to give a soother until after breastfeeding is well established but I think I lasted 4 days before giving Lincoln a soother haha he’s super particular about what kind and will only take these.

16. Any advice for breastfeeding/ bottle feeding?

Honestly, my breastfeeding/bottle feeding journey is a blog all on its own lol my “advice”? Feed your baby however you can. Don’t feel pressured to exclusively breastfeed if you’re not able to or choose not to. As long as the baby is fed, healthy and happy, that’s all that matters. Seriously.

17. What works to calm your baby down?

One thing I learned pretty quickly is babies are not consistent lol what worked last week, the other day, 5 minutes ago, might not work at that moment. Things that work most of the time are either putting on music or singing to him, walking around with him, or taking him for a walk for him to fall asleep.

18. What is your bed time routine?

I’m just starting to set a bed time routine, so I’ll feed him around 8pm, give him a bath, read him a story (sometimes 2) and then put him to sleep. Then I’ll give him a bottle around 11pm or so with hopes that he will sleep through the night. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Remember what I said about babies being inconsistent?

19. Do you feel you have it all together most days? (Cleaning/laundry/beauty etc.)

I would say I feel like I have my shit together 1 day out of the week, and it’s usually when I have something planned in advance. Other days I’m in pajamas, trying to clean my room, and taking the entire day to do one load of laundry.

20. When do you make time for a shower?

I usually take a shower in the evening when Pedro is home, or in the morning if my mom is free to watch Lincoln. I think I showered one time while he was napping and I was super paranoid the entire time lol as in shower-with-the-door-open-pop-my-head-out-because-I-thought-I-heard-something-I’ll-just-skip-the-conditioner paranoid.

21. Do you wear makeup everyday?

No and kudos to those Mamas that have their hair & makeup done. Seriously. I hope I can one day master how to do it. I try to at least fill in my brows and apply some mascara, but some days it just doesn’t happen.

22. Do you style your hair everyday or just ponytail it?

Mom bun in full effect! I’d say my hair is in a bun 85% of the time, air-dried in a clip 10% of the time, and on those lucky rare 5% of the time occasions, I have time to blow dry it, or I let my hair air dry and then pass a flat iron through it.

23. Do you workout and when?

I’m hoping to start an actual work out routine/schedule soon, so as of right now I do what I can when I can. I try to go for a walk with Lincoln everyday, and (if I can get in) I’m hoping to join a couple of fitness classes at a local recreation centre.

24. How often do you get some alone/me time and what do you do do relax?

My me time is kind of when I’m getting ready for bed. Now that I’m starting a bedtime routine for Lincoln, I should have a bit more time as his bed time will (hopefully) become earlier a bit at a time.

25. Proudest/most frustrating moment as a mom?

Most frustrating? When Link is so tired and he’s fighting it, so he cries and fusses. If the fussiness gets really bad, I usually end up bundling him up in the stroller and taking him for a walk outside until he (inevitably) falls asleep.

Proudest? When people tell me how sweet/good/well-behaved/etc he is. Or that he looks exactly like me (what mama doesn’t want to hear that?)


So that’s my Mommy & Baby tag! If there’s something I didn’t mention that you wanted to know, or if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me.
Thanks for stopping by!

iTunes Card Giveaway Extended

So I really thought the whole giveaway thing was going to pan out differently haha not as popular as I planned it to be. I’m not sure if people are skeptical or maybe they just don’t want an iTunes card? Either way, I originally made the cut off deadline for today but as I write this post I only see 5 entries…that makes a pretty boring draw, in my opinion.

If you’re reading this post and aren’t one of the 5 (awesome and supportive!) people who have already entered the giveaway, what are you waiting for?? All you have to do is follow me on Instagram, like the original photo of the iTunes card and comment ‘done’. That’s it! I am giving this card away to someone and the way things currently stand, your chances of winning are pretty high haha

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Introductions & $25 iTunes Card Giveaway!

Hello and welcome to my new mama blog, Life with Link! Thank you for stopping by, even if it was just out of curiosity 🙂 This is my first post! No pressure, right? There’s also a little giveaway at the end of this post so don’t forget to check that out!

I’ll start with introductions, then go over a little “housekeeping” as to why I’m starting a blog, what I hope to achieve, etc., ending with the giveaway details for your chance to win a $25 iTunes card.

For those who don’t know me, my name is Lisa and I’m from Toronto. I’m a first time mama to a sweet and happy little boy named Lincoln (Link for short) who is just over 4 months. Some things I love: baking, coffee (!), shopping, movies, animals, hair/make up, and of course my family. I’ve been married to my best friend for just over a year and 8 months. We have a Calico cat who we call Kitten, though she is far from the size of a kitten.

Our little Lincoln was born on October 14th, 2016 and our lives have been blissfully changed ever since. It’s amazing watching him grow and learn new things on a daily basis. He loves to smile, especially at girls, and he is currently learning how to laugh. He loves music and listening to people sing. He is not loving tummy time but we’re working on it.

I wanted to post a photo here of Lincoln, or a photo of the 2 of us, but I didn’t get around to taking a recent professional-ish photo yet. I’ll be doing a Mommy/Baby tag soon so you can get to know Link and I better, so I’ll probably post a photo there.

So why did I decide to create a blog? Partly for myself, to keep track of milestones, for some cathartic relief, etc. but mainly for any new mama out there looking for an experience, opinion, sense of being able to relate, whatever you want to call it. I remember while I was pregnant, and those first few weeks of being a new mom, I was googling every little thing. I came across a few blogs that really helped me, whether it was validation that it’s ok to do “this” or I don’t have to do “that”, or some ideas, or information. My hope is to help even just one mama with my blog, to “pay it forward” from the blogs I would (and still do) read for help.

I would love to network with other new moms, to create a sense of community. I remember feeling like I was just winging everything, like I was the only mom who didn’t have her shit together. It seemed every other mom I knew or saw or read about had this whole mama thing down. It wasn’t until I started going to a Mommy & Baby class when Link was 3 months old that I realized I wasn’t alone. There were other moms that had the same issues I had, or some moms that had other problems that I had never experienced. It really put everything into perspective for me, so I’m hoping to create that type of connection here.

I would also love to feature small (preferably local) businesses, so if you would like to team up, please contact me! I have a few products in mind that I’d like to review based on my personal experience as well.

Some topics I’m planning on writing about are:

  • Stories/personal experiences
  • Product/business reviews
  • My upcoming fitness journey to get my pre-Lincoln body back
  • Any recipes I’d like to share

If you have any suggestions for a topic, please contact me and let me know!

Check back for my next post which will be a question/answer type. Until then, let’s get social! Connect with me via social media:


Now…..GIVEAWAY TIME!


WIN A $25 ITUNES CARD!

To enter:

  • Follow me on Instagram  (@LifewithLink.ca)
  • Like the photo of the iTunes card
  • Comment “done” so I know to include you in the draw
  • That’s it! That’s your entry!

Giveaway will close on Saturday March 4th at 11:59pm EST, and a winner will be announced on my Instagram page within 24 hours.

GOOD LUCK!!