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Fed Is Best

As if we don’t already have enough to worry about while raising our children, we also have to deal with mom-shaming. I know you have heard the term and I am sure there has been a time when all of us have felt it—through words or eyes.

Formula feeding, breastfeeding in public, breastfeeding longer than the average parent, feeding packaged baby food… the list could go on and on. It is so hard to parent in a world which is so focused on what is “right” or what is “better.”

It is easy to judge when another parent is parenting differently than we are, but the truth: Just because something is different doesn’t mean it’s wrong.

Years ago, I about drove myself insane trying to breastfeed my first baby. Why? Because I felt like I had to. They say “breastfed is best.” I even heard, “Formula— just the name of it sounds awful.” “They” made me feel like I would be failing if I couldn’t make it work.

I wish I had known supplementing with formula was—not just okay—but necessary for my first baby. In the first several days of her life, I didn’t even realize that she was screaming because she was starving. It broke my heart when the lactation consultant helped me figure this out. When I couldn’t produce enough milk, I felt like something was wrong with me. So, I pushed through. I supplemented. I pumped. I lost sleep. I did everything I could to breastfeed.

Fast forward to my third and last baby. If you have read Elizabeth’s Birth Story, then you know we struggled at first… a lot. We were in and out of the hospital several times. When Elizabeth had Jaundice, I had to give her bottles of formula because I couldn’t pump enough. Nursing took her away from her “light” too long.

When I was hospitalized for post-clampsia, I couldn’t nurse her either. I had to pump and send milk home. It wasn’t enough, so she had to be formula fed. I remember being so worried over my milk supply going down, when I should have been worrying about healing.

My nurse was my saving grace. She told me, “You need to get rest and take care of yourself.” On the second night in the hospital, she said, “I’m not waking you. The only thing that should wake you is your boobs. Then, you can pump.” By the way, there is a special place in my heart for nurses. They have helped me through so much. It’s like they know what you need exactly when you need it—physically, but even emotionally. They are angels.

Then again when Elizabeth was hospitalized for RSV, she needed bottles of formula to keep her well-fed.

In addition to all of this, we found she had a milk and soy intolerance. She was choking on the breastmilk so bad, even while sleeping. It was scary. We saw a feeding specialist who told us she simply couldn’t handle the thinness of the breastmilk.

She ended up on Elecare formula at 6 weeks old. We even needed to thicken it for her. You know what? It worked. She was now healthy. She was happy. She was growing. But, when I had to stop breastfeeding, I felt so emotional. It was my last baby and I enjoyed the closeness of it. Weaning always makes me so hormonal. On top of this, I found myself worrying over what “they” would say… worrying if I wasn’t doing a good enough job.

This makes me sad. It makes me sad that we would feel bad for feeding our children, no matter the way it is done. It makes me sad that at first, I felt the need to explain myself each time I answered that my daughter was formula fed. Why? Because I was doing something wrong? Absolutely NOT. It makes me feel sad that we would question ourselves when we are making sure our babies are healthy, happy, and safe. It makes me sad that moms are shamed for doing what they feel is best for their children and families. Because the truth is: FED is best. LOVE is best. Parents know best. If we are feeding our babies, giving them what they need and showing them love then that is what matters.

Elizabeth has been fed formula almost her entire life. I feed her packaged baby food. I do these things because they work for us. And she is the happiest, healthiest little girl. This is what matters.

I’m telling you this today because I truly mean it:
If you are breastfeeding…
If you’re formula feeding…
If you are supplementing…
If you’re breast-feeding longer or shorter than average…
If you feed your kids packaged baby food…
If you feed them homemade food…

YOU ARE A GREAT PARENT!

In the end, if you are loving and caring for your kids, then you are the BEST kind of parent.

So let’s support each other. Let’s build each other up, no matter what. We need to encourage each other because let’s face it, this parenting gig is not easy. We are all doing our best, and our best IS good enough.

Tell me in the comments, have you ever been mom shamed? What happened and how did it make you feel?

 

If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy: Sometimes Strength Requires a Break

To learn more about me and my blog, check out: About Lauren

 

Photo credit: Lindsey Martin Photography

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Sometimes Strength Requires a Break

“They” have a lot to say about moms being strong:

“A Real Mom:
Emotional, yet the rock.
Tired, but keeps going.
Worried, but full of hope.
Impatient, yet patient.
Overwhelmed, but never quits.
Amazing, even though doubted.
Wonderful, even in the chaos.
Life changer, every single day.”
-Rachel Martin

“Here’s to strong women.
May we know them
May we be them.
May we raise them.”
-Unknown

“Even when a Mother’s soul is tired, she finds strength for her family.”
-Life Quote Journal

“Being a mother means being strong, even though you know you’re weak. Giving them love, even when you want to be comforted. Most of all placing their needs before your wants.” – The Mom Life Uncensored

“Sometimes the strength of motherhood is greater than natural laws.”
-Barbara Kingsolver

“A mother is not a person to lean on, but a person to make leaning unnecessary.”
-Dorothy Canfield Fisher

Sometimes what “they say” makes me feel like I have to be strong ALL the time or that I have to be perfect… and when I’m not it makes me feel bad, or like I’m not enough. I feel like I need to push through the pain, the tiredness, the emotion.

This week has been hard. All three of my children are sick. I am also sick and I have vertigo. The vertigo has caused horrible dizziness and nausea to the point where I could hardly move. It was so severe I realized I couldn’t take care of my children. I needed to ask for help. And I did. And you know what? I found myself feeling BAD about it. I found myself feeling like I was failing.

But, here is the truth: We don’t have to be strong all the time. We don’t have to be perfect. We teach even in the moments when we lack strength. We show our children that even we have moments of weakness. Even we get tired. Even we get sick. Even we make mistakes. We teach that these moments are to be expected and that it is okay. We teach in the way we handle these moments, in the ways we take care of ourselves.

The truth: It’s okay to ask for help. Sometimes you have to listen to your body. As parents, it is typical for us to try to push through mentally or physically exhausting times. Even though we want to push through, it is so important to listen to our bodies and take some time for ourselves.

The truth: It’s okay to “take five.” In fact, taking time to care for ourselves only makes us better and stronger in the end. Just like you must first put on your oxygen mask before you can help someone else, you have to take care of yourself to be effective.

I have to remind myself, “mind over matter” as I’m running through the day completing each task, all the while forgetting to take care of myself.

So, if you have the opportunity to take time for yourself, always do it. Ask for help. Take turns with your spouse or partner, or a friend so that you are able to have a little me-time… even if it is simply a short trip to Target. And, never feel bad when you need a break, when you are struggling.

Well, that’s my rant for the day. Be healthy! And you know what? If we are even half—a quarter even—of what the above quotes state, then we are nothing short of amazing!

 

To learn more about me and my blog check out: About Lauren

You may also enjoy: How Becoming a Mom of Three Has Changed Me

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How Becoming a Mom of Three Has Changed Me

1

I have become a daily coffee drinker. I know… I am sure you are wondering, What took you so long? But, it took having three kids. Now, I MUST have a cup of coffee to get through the day.

2

I have learned that being “stress paralyzed” is in fact a real thing. When you have three children with a need at the same time, but you don’t have three arms—I freeze and wonder, How will I get this done? It is impossible. But—this is key—I have also learned, it ALWAYS comes together in the end.

3

I hate the acne! I can’t believe how much your skin and body changes—even my foot size changed. My wardrobe, even if it’s the right size, doesn’t look or fit right anymore. At least this one gives me an excuse to do some shopping!

4

I can do some really cool things: I can paint my toe nails in the car… after looking down and realizing these toes cannot go out in public…

5

I have learned how to multi-task—and I mean really multi-task. I can make dinner, make a grocery list, change a diaper, sing a song to my toddler, clean the kitchen, make a bottle, sanitize said bottles, and entertain the baby all at the same time. This is true talent!

6

I have had to accept that nothing will ever be done on time, and that this is OK! I bought supplies to make “Big Bro” and “Big Sis” shirts for the hospital. Yup, they are still sitting in the bag. I’ll blame it on the baby coming three weeks early…

7

I’ve learned third child problems aren’t really big problems. My third child stays in her onsies and sleepers most days. I was excited when I had a girl and I could get more use out of my first child’s dresses…nope. I think she has maybe worn three. We are already moving into twelve months size! I’m pretty sure my first daughter lived in dresses. And, tummy time— What’s that? Our third child has reflux. When she goes on her tummy, she spits up like crazy, but also, finding time for tummy time when constantly running after two other children is hard! So far, she has had no issues with her development even so. I have learned doing the best I can IS enough.

8

I’m becoming more and more like MacGyver, learning to improvise to make my kids happy in any given situation. And, a great problem solver too! One time when going out with the baby in tow I ended up in the bathroom covered in spit up. They had the air-blades hand dryer which you push your hands in. I stuck my dress in there to dry. Someone walking in at that moment may have questioned my sanity, but I was proud of myself!

9

I have learned the importance of having a chore chart, because I cannot do it all and every little bit helps.

10

I have learned I have to remind myself to lock—or even to close—the bathroom door when I am using it with guests over… because I am so used to no privacy.

11

I now accept that I can, AND WILL, make mistakes. It is impossible not to make mistakes when you have so much going on at once, but this doesn’t make me a bad parent… not even on my worst days.

12

But the most important one… They say the heart doesn’t divide as you have more children, that it just grows with each one. I think this is quite true. My heart didn’t divvy up its love between my three children. It grew so that each child has an equal HUGE amount of love. When I had three, I found the amount of love you can feel in your heart at one time is life changing. It’s a feeling one can never forget. And I will take all these changes again and again to feel it.

To learn more about me and my blog, check out: About Lauren

You may also enjoy: Baby Elizabeth’s Birth Story

Photo credit: Lindsey Martin Photography

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Or What?

I’m putting the baby to sleep and she’s finally down. I go to put her in the crib and I awkwardly try to figure out how to lay her down—how to slide my arm out without waking her. I think, Maybe if I just slide it out ever so carefully, she will stay asleep and it will be okay? Have you guys been here before?

This maneuver makes me think of parenting in general. How often are we doing something ever so carefully to prevent something “big” or “bad” from happening?

Maybe if I just cajole her in this gentle way she won’t cry or start a tantrum? Maybe if I avoid? Maybe if I just give in? Maybe if I just skip the play date so we can stay on schedule?… and so on.

I have a big question. Or what? Or what…. even in the worst case, we and our kids are likely going to be okay. We CAN do this. I have learned I need to try not to worry so much about what I may be doing right or wrong, about what “they say” is right, or about what may happen. Instead, I need to just do what I feel is best and let it go—use my mommy intuition.

So in these cases, choose something and go with it. We can take the anxiety out of the situation a bit by taking the pressure off of ourselves from time to time as we just do what works… and by realizing a perfect result isn’t a requirement. I’ve found accepting that we aren’t perfect and that we don’t need to be can go a long way.

There are going to be a lot of moments as parents where we feel we have dodged the bullet. Whew… I moved my arm and she’s still asleep! Thank goodness! But there will also be times where it doesn’t work. Ohhh, he woke up! Or, Oh dear! She had a tantrum in the middle of the store… and you know what? That is okay too! So, hang in there mom, dad, parents! You are doing a great job… no matter the outcome!

 

To learn more about my blog, check out: About Lauren

If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy: Moments

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Moments

“They say” live in the moment. Well… this can be hard when that moment is challenging… when that moment is difficult. 

My day is made up of moments—a bunch of moments pieced together. Some moments are so happy that I may burst. In other moments, I have so much anger—even rage—that I don’t know how to hold it together… and sometimes I don’t.

There are times I find myself in a fit because my toddler woke up the sleeping infant. I was finally having somewhat of a break as the baby was peacefully sleeping, until my toddler poked her in the nose.

Then there are the times when they test my limits beyond belief and do something like draw a mural on the wall or hurt their sibling. Maybe they look us right in the eye, and talk back with a serious attitude when we ask them to complete a simple task. The fury that rises up inside of me in moments like these is like a volcano ready to explode.

Then there are those times which I want to keep in my heart forever, like when my son snuggles up to me and puts his little hand gently on my neck.

There are times when my heart is so full of love it may explode, like when we watch them share a toy with another child for the first time.

Or, when they say something which surprises us. I recall there was a time when I was crying because I had reached my wit’s end… yet again. My toddler looked at me and said, “Don’t cry Mommy. It will be okay.”

Or, the times when our children repeat something we have been trying to teach them, but weren’t sure until that moment that they took it to heart. Maybe they do something to demonstrate a particular value which is very important to us, like when we watch them reach out to another child who is playing alone.

Sometimes these extremes—the happy and angry moments—are immediately following each other. Some days I wonder, Is this what it means to have multiple personalities?

For instance, one moment my oldest is crying out from her room as soon as I had fallen asleep myself. I jolt out of bed angry because of my lack of sleep. The next moment, I tell her to think of something that makes her happy. She tells me she is happy when she plays with her brother. Then, my heart melts.

In the end, we have to remember all of these times are just… moments. They will pass. The bad moments will soon be gone. The good moments are fleeting too.

So for now, I will try to wait for the bad moments to pass and hold onto the good ones for as long as I can. Because—as I keep being told—soon these babies will grow up and all the good, amazing, and bad moments will be a thing of the past. Then, I bet I will miss them all.

 

You may also enjoy Moms Have Tantrums Too! or What Does It Mean to Be a Parent?

To learn more check out: About Lauren

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Moms Have Tantrums Too!

“They say” tantrums are for toddlers… but I may have to disagree…

Being a mom of toddlers and an infant is hard. After having a baby, my hormones are seriously all out of whack. There have been times I have gone from being the happiest mama on the planet to downright hysterical in the matter of minutes, and there are times when I find myself honestly losing my mind. This blog is all about honesty. My goal is to be real, so let me tell you about one such day…

I had to go across town to pick up a prescription for my infant. I fed the toddlers and the baby but I hadn’t had time to feed myself. I was exhausted and I was starving. I decided to make the trip out a little more pleasant I would go out of the way a little bit and run through the Chick-fil-A drive-thru. You guys, those Chick-fil-A mini chicken biscuits are amazing, and when I get it in my head that I want them, I MUST get them. I had plenty of time to make it there before the breakfast cut-off at 10:30… or so I thought.

I got all the kids ready, had the kids go potty, put shoes on the toddlers, and put the baby into her car seat. I had given my son a cup of goldfish because he had already thrown a fit over wanting a snack and it wasn’t even 10:00 a.m. As we walk out the door, of course he spills his gold fish all over the garage floor. I didn’t want to attract ants so I picked them all up as quickly as I could as he continuously cried, “I really wanted those goldfish!” I rushed the kids into the car, hooked everyone into their car seats and we were off! We still had plenty of time to make it there by 10:30! Whew!

I spoke too soon. Shortly after we left, we hit road work. We make it through and were still on track! Yes! Then, we hit more road work! How is this even possible? I live in the country! I am sitting in the construction zone for an eternity and we still aren’t moving, so I decide to turn around completely and take another route.

I keep checking the clock and we are somehow still on schedule. We make it into the drive thru just in the nick of time! We even had a few minutes to spare. I excitedly tell the attendant my order, “I’ll have the Chick-n-Minis, please!”

She responds, “I’m sorry, we are now serving lunch. What is your lunch order?”

I say, “Wait. It is not yet 10:30. It is still breakfast.”

“I am so sorry, we actually ran out of breakfast a few minutes early today,” she says.

In disbelief I reply, “Excuse me, did you just say you ran outof breakfast?”

“Yes”

“Listen, I made it here in time. My cell phone clock even says it is not 10:30. I don’t understand how you run out of breakfast. All I want are Chick-n-minis,” I reply.

“I am so sorry, ma’am. We are out. There is nothing I can do.”

I say, “Okay, I am going to need to speak to a manager about this.”

“No problem. Proceed to the window, and you can ask to speak with a manager.”

Now I am feeling pretty stupid to be honest, because I pull up to the window in tears. I blubber to the manager and the other six drive through attendants—who are all staring at me and think I’ve gone mad for sure—, “I drove for 40 minutes with two toddlers and an infant to get here all because I wanted breakfast. I arrived in time for breakfast and I am told you are completely out.”

He tells me there is no excused for this, that I am correct, they should be serving breakfast until 10:30. He asks me what I want.

I say, “All I want are Chick-n-Minis and a Coke. That is all.”

The manager finds some in the back, apologizes, and gives them to me free of charge.

As I start to pull off, my daughter says, “Mama. You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit!”

Ha! Good point, sweetheart!

So, there you have it! Even mamas have tantrums! Anyone else had a tantrum lately?

 

You may also enjoy: Moments

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