An Uncomplicated Life Blog: Happy Baby, Happy Mama: My Formula for Happiness™

Monday, July 27, 2015

Happy Baby, Happy Mama: My Formula for Happiness™

I've mentioned before that I found breast feeding extremely challenging, and that it also made bonding with my baby exceptionally more difficult.

But I want to share a bit more of the story with you. My story is not like that of other moms; I had no latch or supply issues. I CHOSE to formula feed Henry, weaning him off breast milk, when he was three months old. Why? Because I wasn't happy. Because I was struggling. Frankly, I was miserable. Allow me to explain my Formula for Happiness™:

Tips for happy babies and happy moms! #formulaforhappiness


Henry was born a month early via emergency c section because he was in the breech position. While the birth wasn't what I had imagined, I was so lucky that my preterm baby figured out a successful latch almost immediately, and my milk supply came right in! I was in a dreamland of new-mommydom, so thankful to no longer have the aches and pains of pregnancy. I wasn't tired yet. The all night nursing sessions hadn't caught up to me. I thought parenthood and breast feeding was amazing.

Until it did catch up with me. At three weeks old, Henry would SCREAM with gas pains. I contacted a certified lactation consultant who suggested I stop eating dairy. Most babies have trouble digesting the lactose produced in their mother's milk in the newborn phase, especially preterm babies with immature digestive systems. So I did. Henry seemed happier. But me? I was miserable. I'm mostly vegetarian, and dairy was a main source of calories for me. Everything from my morning coffee (with cream in it) to my lunch (avocado and cheese sandwich) to my dinner (lasagne) had to change. I felt like I couldn't eat anything.

Tips for happy babies and moms! #formulaforhappiness
I exclusively breast fed Henry for three months before switching to fomula

About three weeks after we got home from the hospital, the all-night nursing sessions started to catch up with me. The good news was that I had a big eater on my hands who was rapidly putting on weight! I didn't need to consult a nutritionist about baby's weight gain like so many mothers do. But that also meant that I was up every two hours, nursing Henry for a half hour at a time. Right as we'd get him back in his bassinet, turned off the lights and got re-settled in for more sleep, he'd be up again wanting to nurse an hour later. I have distinct memories of hating watching the sun go down, because nighttime meant that we'd be up all night nursing and changing Henry.

I wish I'd have known that Gerber Good Start offers moms - all parents in fact! - free access to sleep consultants! I'd have been on that website scheduling a consultation SO fast. I was exhausted. I hadn't slept more than four hours a night in weeks, and those four hours were not consecutive.

Tips for happy babies and moms! #formulaforhappiness
Don't let this angel fool you: We had been up all night. I wish I had known about sleep consultants with Henry!

When Henry was six weeks old, I caved and started to introduce formula, such as Gerber® Good Start® Gentle. I wanted to see how he would take to bottle feeding. Wouldn't you know, my excellent little nurser was also an excellent bottle-eater. He took whatever he was given! We fluctuated easily between bottle feeding and nursing for another month or so. During the day I would nurse him; at night we would formula feed him. Bonus: Daddy got to help with the nighttime feedings that way!

When Henry was three months old, I decided to exclusively formula feed him. The day I made that decision, I became a happier mom! I was able to eat dairy again. I didn't need to wear nursing tanks nonstop, and could wear normal bras too. I simply started to feel like my old self again.

The choice to breast or formula feed (or both, like I did!) is a personal matter. Sometimes medical conditions force that choice on you; sometimes you have to make the best call for everyone's sanity. Formula feeding is not evil nor does it make you a bad mom! Gerber® knows this, and provides FREE access to certified lactation consultants for the mamas who want to nurse and Gerber® Good Start® Gentle to the mamas who either have to or want to formula feed.

At the end of the day, we all just want to have happy babies and be happy mamas (or daddies), right?! I'll be sharing more of my Formula for Happiness™ on Instagram and I'd love for you to show me your happy parenting moments too! Follow along with the hashtag #formulaforhappiness.

Gerber® Good Start® Gentle believes that the Formula for Happiness™ can be a lot of things, and moms have different ways of enjoying the journey through motherhood.



13 comments:

  1. It's so so so important to learn what works for you and your baby.
    I'm so tired of all the mom-hate these days. I wish women could support the choices other women make. What is right for one mom and baby isn't right for another. I'm so glad you found what was right for you and Henry. A lot of mom would have tried to "stick it out" needlessly and would have had a lot of heartache and disappointment, all the while not having a happy baby.

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  2. Well this was very helpful for me because while I'm not a mom yet, it is great to know they offer that service!! Thanks for sharing your story girl! xo, Biana -BlovedBoston

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  3. So glad you figured out what works best for you!!!! Glad you are sharing for other moms too!

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  4. What a neat service that Gerber provides! I also formula fed our daughter for slightly different reasons but you have to do what's best for you and baby.

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  5. I wish I had thought of giving up lactose. We didn't discover that my daughter was lactose intolerant until she was already 2 years old, after an entire four months of screaming every single moment her eyes were open!

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  6. I have heard from many of my friends that the first 2-3 months are the hardest, so coupling that with a lack of sleep and a big diet change. Whew! I don't blame you. I would have been a mess. So great that you're prepared this time around and you have an awesome resource if you need it.

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  7. he is adorable! you do you is best for you. I was a formula fed baby and i think i turned out just fine;)
    elle
    Southern Elle Style

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  8. I have a feeling if I have to make a huge change like giving up dairy, I'd give up as well. Your life is already changing so much! I think making yourself happy is just as important as making the baby happy, because without you.. baby is kinda screwed, you know? Happy mom, happy baby lol. and preach - formula feeding does not make you a bad mom. that's ridiculous!

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  9. I love that commercial you share a little while ago about all the different moms and how they group together and one thinks that they are better than the others.....the yoga moms, the breastfeeding moms, the I went back to work immediately moms etc etc but then in the end it was all about being a mom and helping each other out. Nobody has a right to judge someone because they aren't living in your shoes and life. I always thought I would breastfeed for as long as I can but who knows what life circumstances I will be in and not being able to have cheese......especially if it was your main protein source would be so hard! Being sleep deprived is no joke! I am glad you were able to find the balance that made everyone happy in your family!

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  10. The sleep deprivation parents, mothers in particular, endure sounds excruciating. I'm glad you found what worked best for you BOTH. ;)

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  11. It's about you and your baby, no one else, that's how I see it. That's so great that Gerber offers the free consultations!

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  12. It's so much better for mom and baby when we just let go and do what works best for US and not what others think we should do!

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  13. Love this! Just literally wrote this last night: http://www.simplycomplexmom.com/standing-tall/ Thank you!! xo

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