With Honest Feeding Stories, you’ll hear from parents like you about one of the most intimate and important experiences of family life. Happiness and heartbreak, serenity and struggle, joy and tears — it’s all here in their own words. Presented with our support and without judgment, these stories remind us that the choices we make to nourish our children are truly unique.
When I was pregnant with my first child, I was a young 27 years old. It wasn’t necessarily planned and therefore I knew nothing about pregnancy or babies or labor. Absolutely nothing.
It was a pretty scary first few months being extremely nauseous and tired and trying to run a small business all at the same time. I remember not being able to even look at a baby book without running straight to the bathroom. Even in the airports or books stores, I had to close my eyes when walking past the baby book sections or I would be sick on the spot. (Oh the joys of first trimesters!)
By my second trimester I finally was able to digest the fact that I was growing a baby, and that I was going to be responsible for a new little human being. At that point, I was energized and excited. But there were so many things I had to research and read about — birth stories, sleeping, parenting, toys and gadgets, baby food, diapers, doctors, midwives, and of course nursing! I would stay up at night reading book after book and all the personal stories I could find online.
I wasn’t confident in every decision by the third trimester but one thing I knew for sure is that I wanted to breastfeed. It was something I felt really passionate about. Seeing as that I’m a believer in the human body and its natural ability to heal, create, and thrive when treated right – it just made sense to me. I was also the owner of a health food company at this time, which shared a belief that food in its natural state is the most healthy for you. So, I didn’t fully trust baby formula as being my first choice of food. I wasn’t coming from a judgmental place, but more of a personal belief kinda place.
Once my son was born, I was nervous about everything — it was exciting but also stressful. I just wanted nothing more than to be in a chair with my baby on cloud 9. And thankfully, breastfeeding went well and things were going pretty easily. (Yay!)
It wasn’t until about four months into this new mom thing, when we were on vacation in Hawaii, that I noticed my son seemed to be losing a little weight. He was fussier than normal and that made me question my milk supply. But everything seemed to be going so well — what could be the problem?
Well, it turned out that I was a month pregnant! When you’re pregnant, your milk supply slows down because of all of the hormonal shifts taking place inside your body. Even the composition of the breastmilk changes. I wanted so badly to continue breastfeeding, but — as hard as it was — I had to accept that it was out of my control.
Chris Nelson Photography
Three children later, I have discovered that control (over anything) is something I don’t always have anymore. There will always be obstacles in this unpredictable journey of parenthood, but we have to learn to accept them and keep going. Being a perfect parent isn’t realistic and will never happen. We must embrace the imperfections and the balancing of life’s obstacles. Even more important is the realization that we are going to make mistakes many, many times. Letting things go and not holding onto guilt is crucial to balancing life as a parent. What seemed like such a huge deal to me seven years ago is really just one of many forks in the road. And a bottle instead of a boob is a minor dilemma compared to those I have faced as this road has progressed.
My method for sanity is to be flexible and open minded, do lots of research, weigh the pros and cons, then make a decision and never look back!
-Juli, Encinitas, California